Category Archives: Paintings

Borbay Merges Abstraction with Aristotle

Borbay. "Go Out and Get It For Yourself," ~ Portrait of Don Draper. Collage

Borbay. “Go Out and Get It For Yourself,” ~ Portrait of Don Draper. Collage.

It boils down to what makes an artist tick. Recently I shared an image of Borbay’s portrait of the actor Jon Hamm as Don Draper with a friend. Fascinated by the artist’s collage technique, she wondered why Borbay chose that creative path.

Aristotle said it best,” Borbay answered. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

For Borbay, known outside the art world as Jason Borbet, collage elements embedded within a portrait are a reflection of the subject, their era, issues and, “of course, autobiographical elements of yours truly.” Each piece is a multi-tiered time capsule.

Borbay’s Jackson Hole opening show reception takes place at the Art Association on Thursday, July 7th, 6-8:00pm. Entitled “Painting Light,” the show remains up through July 30th, 2016. The show includes examples of Borbay’s collage works, acrylic and “neon” canvases. To preview the full show, click here

"Painting Light's" signature work: Borbay's "Neon Cowboy.

“Painting Light’s” signature work: Borbay’s “Neon Cowboy. Acrylic, 24×24”

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A Closer Look at Plein Air

Bill Sawczuk, from "A Closer Look."

Bill Sawczuk, from “A Closer Look.”

Why take “a closer look?” What does it mean, relative to plein air painting, to examine the world more closely?

Summer is the season, and Jackson Hole is the place to find out. The summer brings a multitude of artists into the open, where they mingle with wilderness, wildlife and, this year, a blockbuster number of tourists. Like the good people working for the postal service, neither sleet nor snow nor bears eating easels can keep plein air painters from delivering the plein air “mail.”

Plein air painter and partner at Jackson gallery Trio Fine Art, Bill Sawczuk is set to host his summer solo exhibition “A Closer Look.”  The show, says the artist, will explore the [myriad talents] of an experienced eye. In partnership with a well-weilded paintbrush, an artist’s eye may take very close examination at its surrounding beauty.

Sawczuk’s work has been largely traditional, primarily broad landscapes, directly translated. “A Closer Look” searches out what doesn’t immediately catch the eye. Seemingly static scenes change, and Sawczuk wants to see what’s new.

“Old cabins in Grand Teton National Park are picturesque to be sure, but there is more to be seen and felt. [I have] tried to express the loneliness and melancholy [I] feel when describing these cabins in a painting. It can take very little to say a lot, to explore the material, and to convey [my] feelings to the viewer.” says the artist.

Bill Sawczuk at work.

Bill Sawczuk at work.

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The Red Road: Valkyries and Medicine Men at Altamira Fine Art

R. Tom Gilleon, Valkyrie. Oil, 32 x 24 inches

R. Tom Gilleon, Valkyrie. Oil, 32 x 24″. At Altamira Fine Art.

Valkyries. Often portrayed as beneficent creatures, their role as the God Odin’s daughters (or female assistants) in Norse mythology is deciding which warriors die and which survive great battles. Those who perish are flown to Odin’s Valhalla by the valkyries, so that he may watch over them.

“Whether in their loving or bloodthirsty modalities, the valkyries are best understood as part of the extensive and dynamic complex of shamanism that permeates pre-Christian Germanic religion,” notes the web page Norse Mythology for Smart People.

R. Tom Gilleon’s “Valkyrie” elicits a tumbling mass of confliciting emotion. Is this a wise and beneficent angel of Odin or a bloodthirsty footman? Is she grounded or hovering? Is she watching over a particualar soldier or pensive? And how does this mythological Norse shaman legend translate to Native American symbols and culture?

How many battles were waged as white men overtook Indian lands, livelihood and very soul? Too many to count. Gilleon uses an ancient character to make a statement about today’s world crises, too many to count. But I choose to believe Gilleon’s valkyrie is a compassionate, helping spirit, ready to protect. Ready to carry our souls to safety.

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Jackson Hole Art Auction: The Menu

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926) Menu (Cafe Noir) (ca. 1896) watercolor and pencil on paper 6 x 4 (sight) in  Estimate: $40,000–$60,000

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
Menu (Cafe Noir) (ca. 1896) watercolor and pencil on paper 6 x 4 (sight) in
Estimate: $40,000–$60,000

This year’s Jackson Hole Art Auction is two months away; time flies. After all, it’s summer and high art season in Jackson, Wyoming. Stay on your toes, keep a daily eye out for new auction lots! Get your consignments in on time~~2015’s deadline opportunity has likely evaporated. So many impressive consignments arrive at auction headquarters, upstairs at Trailside Gallery, that some must be put forward for your consideration.

Whether it’s market confidence or simply a new method of expanding their buying audience, the auction spreads itself over two days this year, with two separate buying events. The auction, a premier venue for Western masterworks, begins September 18th, 2015.

“The ninth annual Jackson Hole Art Auction will begin with Session I held on Friday, September 18th at Trailside Galleries in Jackson, WY. Session I will be a small well-curated sale of lots by highly desirable contemporary and deceased artists. Session II will be held on Saturday, September 19th at the Center for the Arts,” notes the auction. Both events include free, open-to-the-public preview opportunities.

E. Martin Hennings, Untitled. 18.5 x 15 1/4".  Oil $40,000 -$60,000

E. Martin Hennings, Untitled. 18.5 x 15 1/4″. Oil $40,000 -$60,000

So, what’s on the auction menu? It’s impossible to provide a full list in this space, but highlights include historic and contemporary works by Bierstadt, C.M. Russell, Bob Kuhn, Carl Rungius, Howard Terpning, Z.S. Liang, Remington, E. Martin Hennings, Clyde Aspevig, Richard Schmid, Harry JacksonEanger Irving Couse, T. Allen LawsonStanley Meltzoff and William Acheff.

Bob Kuhn (1920–2007) Winter Browse - Mule Deer (1995)

Bob Kuhn (1920–2007) Winter Browse – Mule Deer (1995) Acrylic on Board  14×18″ Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000

Lot estimates range anywhere from four digits to seven.

Though not an official part of Jackson Hole’s famed Fall Arts Festival, the auction is a heady and highly anticipated conclusion to Jackson’s official arts season. Live Western auctions cause attendees and staff to break out in goosebumps. This thing is full of adrenaline~~the auction has become one of the country’s top Western art auctions, each year offering up exquisite paintings, sculptures and artifacts. A co-production of Jackson’s Trailside Galleries and Santa Fe’s Gerald Peters Gallery, the auction is an upscale, professionally organized and thrilling event.

Visit www.jacksonholeartauction.com for information, or phone Auction Coordinator Jill Callahan at (866)-549-9276.

Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902) Wind River Country Wyoming (ca. 1860) oil on canvas 28 1/4 x 39 1/2 in Estimate: $1,000,000–$2,000,000

Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902)
Wind River Country Wyoming (ca. 1860)
oil on canvas
28 1/4 x 39 1/2 in
Estimate: $1,000,000–$2,000,000

 

 

 

Tale of Bert and Two Tammies

Tammy Callens, "Bert."  Oil, 20" x 18"

Tammy Callens, “Bert.” Oil, 20″ x 18″

Last summer artist Tammy Callens and I went to visit Bert Raynes. I’d posted an image of Bert on Facebook. Bert, a distinctive bird, caught Callens’ eye. Callens paints portraits, and minutes after spying Bert on my Facebook page she contacted me to find out who this extraordinary man might be.

Callens wanted to paint Bert’s portrait.

“Brilliant,” I thought. Why hadn’t I come up with this? Callens and Bert had never met, but as soon as she expressed interest, my mind leapt at the possibilities. Of all Jackson’s special citizens, who was more deserving of a Callens portrait? Nobody. A “Bert” portrait might raise excellent funds for his beloved non-profit, The Meg and Bert Raynes Foundation.

A year later Callens’ portrait is complete. It’s a stunner. And it’s up for sale as of Friday, June 26th, at Mountain Trails Gallery in Jackson. An opening reception takes place Saturday, June 27th, 4-6:00 pm at the gallery. Callens is donating a significant portion of “Bert” sales proceeds to his foundation. The exhibition, entitled “Soliloquy,” remains on display through July 2nd. 

“The sad thing is, it looks like me,” says Raynes.

Boy, does it. Witty self-deprecation is pure Bert. In fact, he couldn’t be more thrilled. Callens’ spot-on portrait captures Bert as he was the day they met~~handsome in his signature red sweater and suspenders, Bert posed for Callens. Within minutes she’d sketched a lively impression and began playing with color.

“I love painting Bert as he was exactly on the day we met,” Callens recalls. “His life, compassion, knowledge and contributions extend far beyond those of most folks; most of us can’t imagine doing a fraction of his work. I felt his energy immediately and fell completely in love.”

Tammy Callens. "Foghorn Leghorn," Oil.  8 "X 14" Oil

Tammy Callens. “Foghorn Leghorn,” Oil.
8 “X 14”
Oil

Callens’ portrait depicts Bert surrounded with jars, bowls and bottles; symbols of a wellness campaign. Birds, Bert’s life’s work and extended family, are present too. Most importantly, the painting IS Bert. Any “F.O.B.,” (Friend of Bert) sees this immediately. When we’re with Bert, intelligence and sparky conversation are impressed upon us. We learn. He listens. We have a democratic, lifetime experience.

Want to be an F.O.B.? Make a beeline for Mountain Trails Gallery. Get there first. Be the “Bert” buyer. Be the first Jackson Hole “nature mapping” citizen to contribute to Bert’s foundation. Be the first person, as far as I know, to support a worthy cause by bringing home a portrait of a most distinguished bird. www.tammycallens.com , www.mtntrails.net  https://www.facebook.com/JacksonHoleActivities