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Posts from ‘wildlife’

James Castle, CAS11-0171 Untitled (black form), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.

James Castle, Untitled (black form), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.

In the new double show at Jackson’s Tayloe Piggott Gallery, there’s a complementary and slightly chilling collection of works by James Castle and Nicola Hicks. Castle was a profoundly deaf, self-taught artist. His mother was a midwife and his father ran the Garden Valley, Idaho post office.

James Castle, CAS09-0324 Untitled (flamingo) n.d., Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string. James Castle, CAS09-0324 Untitled (flamingo), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 28 3/4 x 10 in.

James Castle, Untitled (flamingo)
n.d., Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 28 3/4 x 10 in.

Always poor, often on subsistence, Castle came to know a little sign language and developed a love for lettering. He “…is known for the skill of his draftsmanship,…subject matter and for his use of found and homemade materials. His recurrent and diverse themes tell an intimate story of a life lived in rural Idaho during the 20th century.”

Looking at Castle’s work I experience guilt as if I’ve broken into a child’s secret diary. It’s slightly agonizing, albeit fascinating, to study a Castle work; they’re heartrending. Eternally enigmatic, but with glimpses of a compromised soul’s joy in creating art. Displaying a man-child’s heart, Castle’s works seem stuffed in tiny boxes. Imagine, too, the drawings of an unborn child tucked in a dark, warm space, sensing fuzzy edges of the outside world.


Nicola Hicks’ electric, recumbent bear prompted an email to friends much more familiar with bears’ private behavior. “Would a bear lie in this position on its own accord,” I asked. “Or would it only roll over on its back, belly exposed, if it was coerced by humans?”

Nicola Hicks, Untitled (Bear laying down), 2010 Charcoal and chalk on brown paper, 66 x 82 in.

Nicola Hicks, Untitled (Bear laying down), 2010 Charcoal and chalk on brown paper, 66 x 82 in.

Bears do lie around tummy up. “They’re like dogs,” one of my experts explained. “They can be spotted rolling around in dense forest glens or by a body of water, cooling off.”

Nicola Hicks, Owl, ed. 1/1, 2014. Monoprint, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 in. (75.6 x 56.2 cm)

Nicola Hicks, Owl, ed. 1/1, 2014. Monoprint, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 in. (75.6 x 56.2 cm)

All this goes along with what seems to be Hicks’ core artist statement: Creatures of the earth are “…animalistic in form and body, yet uncannily human.” She’s on the anthropomorphism train.

Hicks’ show includes plaster casts (ultimately brass sculptures) of animals—seemingly locked in suffocating, snare-like dried mud pierced by sharp objects—and works on paper. It’s tempting to grab a sledgehammer and free these entombed creatures. Something new, an exercise in “different.” Hicks’ chalk, charcoal and monoprints depict wild and domestic animals, extended and sinewy. A portrait of a big sleeping dog has real heft. You feel the weight of the animal’s massive head.

The bear wins!

The exhibition remains on display through August 16th, 2015.


Katy Ann Fox, "On the Way to Breakfast." 12x12" Oil on Panel

Katy Ann Fox, “On the Way to Breakfast.” 12×12″ Oil on Panel

Together or Separate: New Works by Eleanor Anderson and Katy Ann Fox, opens at the Daly Gallery-Daly Project on Thursday, July 9, with a reception from 5-7:00pm. Anderson’s bright, whimsical ceramics and Fox’s airy, well-composed canvases are on view through July 24th.

We strive to be open Tuesday through Saturday, 1o AM to 6 PM. Or by appointment, 307-699-7933,” notes the gallery.


And don’t forget: Catch up with more Jackson Hole art scene goings-on by logging on to This week: “Plein Air for the Park!”  

Erin C. O'Connor. On Evening's Edge. Oil on Linen.

Erin C. O’Connor. On Evening’s Edge. Oil on Linen.


In a few months I will be moving back to the east coast. Family calls. The length of time I’ll be away is temporary and open-ended. I’m grateful, more than I can express, for the loving, caring and supportive messages I’ve received from so many of you. I carry you all in my heart. Posts may “spread out” for a while as I manage logistics, and the Blog may change its focus or form ~~~ but it’s not disappearing. We’re joined, and we’ll remain joined!  Okay, I might write a poem if I keep on. It wouldn’t be a good poem, so time to write about what’s happening in Jackson!

Clymer, John, (1907-1989), Buffalo Chase, oil on canvas, 10 x 20 inches

Clymer, John, (1907-1989), Buffalo Chase, oil on canvas, 10 x 20 inches

The Jackson Hole Art Auction is rapidly receiving an inventory of fine masterworks to  be auctioned off Saturday, September 14, 2014.  This John Clymer is remarkable! Something about it quickens my pulse. Important artists already represented in this year’s auction: Oscar Berninghaus, John Clymer, Bob Kuhn, Ken Riley and Richard Schmid. Schmid’s diminutive painting of carnations was the surprise star of last year’s auction, selling many times over its estimate. Kuhn’s “Resting Cat”, a 22 x 42 acrylic on board, is estimated at $250,000-$300,000.

“The painting was the last Prix de West entry the artist completed in his lifetime, and was awarded the Major General and Mrs. Don Pittman Wildlife Award,” notes the auction.

Kuhn, Bob, (1920-2007), Resting Cat, acrylic on board, 22 x 42"

Kuhn, Bob, (1920-2007), Resting Cat, acrylic on board, 22 x 42″

Auction Coordinator Jill Callahan emphasizes that the public is welcome to stop by the auction offices to learn more about this year’s event. As always, the auction is seeking fine art consignments; I expect offerings to be welcomed into the summer season. For a complimentary, confidential evaluation please call 866-549-9278, visit or stop by the offices in Trailside Galleries at 130 East Broadway, Jackson, WY — or 7330 Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ.

Book cover art by Jane Lavino

Book cover art by Jane Lavino

“The Straw That Broke” is an “environmental thriller” written by Jackson’s Gregory Zeigler; the same author who brought us his recreated tale of Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie.” It’s Steinbeck’s 112th birthday as I write this. The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s own Jane Lavino created the cover art, and it’s awesome! What up, girl?  We need a Lavino exhibition! Promotional copy for Zeigler’s book sums up the plot: “A young scientist and free spirit, Lyn Burke, gets caught up in a battle between ecoterrorists and corrupt public officials over water in the drought-stricken desert Southwest. Lyn’s disappearance causes police officer Susan Brand and private investigator Jake Goddard to rush to her aid. Abduction, deceit, and murder threaten a cataclysm that places the entire region in jeopardy.” 

Wow, I’m thinking “Longmire!” If the book is as good as that TV series, it’s going to have you on the edge of your seat. Congrats to Greg and Jane! Check it out:

Tammy Callens - Through the Aspen Grove - 36x18" Oil

Tammy Callens – Through the Aspen Grove – 36×18″ Oil

Plein air painter and portraitist Tammy Callens has a show of new works at Mountain Trails Gallery, in Jackson. Callens feels these paintings break new ground for her as an artist. I’ve always been a fan. Her work is romantic, impressionistic, marked by realism and personal. Callens has another quality: she’s humble about her work. I feel her intimate landscapes are some of the most captivating in town.

Callens sparked the idea of  pro-actively inviting children to participate in plein air painting demonstrations. She did this unwittingly, two summers ago during one of our “Artists in the Environment” events in Grand Teton National Park. Callens painted a difficult scene with great skill, and her most ardent admirers were young people visiting the Park, making their own memories by painting the wilderness explored on their summer vacations. It doesn’t get better than that! 


musical_notesAn opening note: Many visual arts events are posted on Facebook; I love seeing those, but if you would like to submit your project or event to the Jackson Hole Art Blog, emailing me directly works MUCH better. I’ll definitely see your announcement, and it won’t get lost in the Facebook shuffle. I’ll remember it. Don’t be shy, email me at: Include all relevant details. I’m a one-person gig, and can’t get every event listed—but I want everyone to have the best chance possible. And don’t forget to send those nice, big images too. Superb.

197If you receive the Community Foundation’s emails via their Listserve, you may have noticed an individual misusing that venue to comment on J.H. Public Art projects. Whatever that person’s goal, he was going at it inappropriately, and that pretty much nulls and voids his input.

There is quite a bit going on in the world of public art here in Jackson. The 5-way project is on, and there are other new projects: the South Cache Street Custom Pavers and Street Painting Project, and another bike-related job.

South Cache first: The project’s total budget is $18,000, to be divided between pavers and painters; $15K for the former, $3,000 for the latter. There are more than a couple of definitions of “paver.” One is a paving vehicle, another is actual concrete used alongside highways and streets. Pavers can also be decorative brick drive and street surfaces. That’s what we’re talkin’ about!

J.H. Public Art writes that “selected artists will fabricate custom pavers designed to integrate into the overall paving pattern. The artist will replicate the theme and key imagery used in the pavers into two, one-color street paintings designed to highlight new crosswalks along the corridor. The budget supports design and fabrication of custom pavers and the street painting.”

Artists will work with Public Works, and Public Works will install what the artist creates. There are several ways it can work, but to make sure you’ve got the drill right, contact J.H. Public Art, or visit their website, where specs are provided.

The “Town Bike Network Education Icons Project” is essentially sign design. Budget: $4,500.

Design an “iconic” sign design series for Jackson’s signposts marking the town’s bike network. Graphics, says J.H. Public Art, “will be designed to print on 12 x 18” standard street signs using 2-4 color process. Final artwork should be submitted as vector files. The artist will design a series of 5-7 bold images that are easy to read from a distance or [while the viewer is] in motion. Graphics should identify safe practices, particular bike routes, unique features of the routes and promote educational messages sponsored by the Pathways department. School children, visitors and residents of all ages use the bike network and imagery should be easy to understand, family-friendly and promote community values.”

In other words, these signs need to be understood immediately by anyone; sign language must be universal.

Applications are due by February 3, 2014.  The web sign-in spot is  Learn more here:


ELEPHANT WITH EXPLODING DUST © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

ELEPHANT WITH EXPLODING DUST © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

“Nick’s exquisite photographs arouse deep emotions. They inspire a sense of awe at the beauty of creation and the sacredness of life. It is almost impossible to look through his work without sensing the personalities of the beings whom he has photographed.” ~ Jane Goodall

Just when you think wildlife photography can’t get any more powerful, along comes an exhibition like “Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt, 2001-2008.” Opening at the National Museum of Wildlife Art January 18th, it remains on display through August 10, 2014.

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Eye, yai yai~~~Happy New Year, Jackson!  It’s nice to see you again. Been visiting family and taking in the views offered up by rosy winter lake sunsets, frozen, wind-whipped pines, friends, the Yale Art Museum (try closing your eyes in there!), tasting good soul food—and now it’s time to catch up around here.

Today’s post is a warm-up, so I’ll list items from my “in box” that many of you may already know about. Or maybe, like me, you’ve been away. Here goes:

Altamira Fine Art is headed to the L.A. Art Show, 2014, January 15-19, 2014 Booth 240. Altamira artists “Billy” Schenck, Ed Mell (they got him!), R. Tom Gilleon, Glenn Dean, Rocky Hawkins and selected paintings from Fritz Scholder (1937-2005). Opening night party: 1/15/14, 8-11:00 pm.


David Swift is artfully photographing high-octane performers swinging through the theater doors at the J.H.Center for the Arts. He is clearly enjoying himself! “Giddy” is the word I’d use. BTW, the New York Times recently ran a travel article on Jackson’s ski scene.  Paper edition photo captions were way off~~the scenes did not depict what the captions described, and the captions were out of order. Still, great coverage for J.H. A source tells me that story was in the NYT hopper last summer, and one special gallery they mentioned was Cayuse Western Americana. Good get. 

The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s next “Mix’d Media – Darwin’s Legacy” takes place at the museum on Thursday, January 9th, 6-9 pm. Additionally, Director of Education Jane Lavino has posted a new NMWA job opening — Part-Time Assistant Curator of Education. Check it out at


Jackson artist Todd Kosharek opens a show of new works — the first to be hosted by the Center for the Arts — at the Center Theater Gallery. An Exhibit Opening takes place on Friday, January 17th, 5:30-7:30pm. “Interiors/Exteriors” explores the artist’s two painting styles, both highly developed. The show remains up January 13-29th, 2013. Love the promotional image, it’s like a 60’s record cover –twist and shout! More on Kosharek’s show in our next post.


Direct from Wyoming Arts (verbatim):  The Visual Arts Fellowship application is now open! Deadline: March 10. Applications will be accepted on CaFE only ( Visual artists of all kinds, including film and video, are invited to apply. More information available in the call on CaFE or at Juror information in included on the webpage. Additionally, CLICK! is coming together! Save the date for April 4-5 in Fort Washakie/Lander. Information and registration will be available mid-January. Want to know more about Wyoming Visual Arts happenings? Sign up for their list serve:


Some dude is publicly persistent in his queries about  J.H. Public Art  project press releases on our community list serve. Anyone know this guy? Whatever is going on there, I’ll include that arts non-profit’s new “call for entries” information in my next post, too.

For you at this New Year, Jackson, a tiny excerpt from “All the Hemispheres,” by Sufi Poet Hafiz: Leave the familiar for a while/Let your senses and bodies stretch out/Like a welcomed season/Onto the meadows and shores and hills./Open up the roof.






Some press materials are simply so perfect and complete, it’s hard to up their message. That’s the case today! Here’s some information on the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s new exhibition, “Conservation Gallery,” which explores conservation themes by comparing and contrasting those themes as explored through artwork created from the 1800’s to today. The show opened November 16th, and will remain on display through April 13, 2014.

“American wildlife artists have helped to capture the positive and negative results of humanity’s interactions with wildlife still found today, as well as those that are simply a memory. In some instances, paintings and illustrations are the only record of certain species that we have,” says the museum’s Petersen Curator of Art and Research Adam Duncan Harris. Harris notes that artists’ interpretations of wildlife run the gamut from that of early American artist William Jacob Hays, who, says Harris, depicted the animals he saw on exploratory expeditions to the American West, visually preserving them for future generations—-to more conscious conservation messages, such as Steve Kestrel’s “Silent Messenger” (2005), that, in the artist’s own words, “mourn[s] the destruction and degradation of ecosystems worldwide and the tragic loss of unique animal species.”

Steve Kestrel - Silent Messenger - 2005. Courtesy

Steve Kestrel – Silent Messenger – 2005. Courtesy

Natural histories such as the rebound of bison populations lead to “tales of wildlife across the globe.” The tiger is well represented, and displays engage viewers with information that’s often revelatory. For instance, did you know that in the U.S. more tigers are currently owned by private individuals, not zoos, than exist in the wild? Approximately 5,000 tigers are in the U.S., according to the World Wildlife Foundation. 

“Artworks depicting endangered species, whether historical or contemporary, raise pointed questions about humanity’s role in species survival or extinction. We hope that Conservation Gallery will help spark some of those discussions with our visitors,” says Harris.

Images, top of page:  From “Conservation Gallery”: Wilhelm Kuhnert, Resting Tiger, 1912. JKM Collection©, National Museum of Wildlife Art (left), and Gwynn Murrill (United States, b. 1942), Tiger 2, 2012 -2013. Bronze. 42 x 62 x 31 inches. Dr. Lee W. Lenz, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Gwynn Murrill (right)

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