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Jul
06
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.

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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. www.tayloepiggottgallery.com

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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. http://www.dalyartistrep.com

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And don’t forget: Catch up with more Jackson Hole art scene goings-on by logging on to https://funthingstodoinjacksonhole.wordpress.com. 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.

Jun
23
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

 

 

Jun
03

THIS. BLOWS. MY. MIND.

Enlightened, ©Jennifer L. Hoffman, 2015, oil and cold wax on linen, 24x18 in.

Enlightened, ©Jennifer L. Hoffman, 2015, oil and cold wax on linen, 24×18 in.

Trio Fine Art’s partners Kathryn Mapes Turner, Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuk have taken to sending out what amount to personal diaries that reveal their feelings and processes. I’m lucky to have been physically present when all three artists create work, and we always enjoy conversations that certainly help form my own soul’s perspective.

Jennifer Hoffman at work. Photo by Tammy Christel

Jennifer Hoffman at work. Photo by Tammy Christel

But there’s nothing like reading these “diaries.” Hoffman is a dear friend. When I first arrived in Jackson her work stood out. She’s climbed a lot of ladders, and her work is highly praised. It’s thrilling to see her venture into the abstract. Her work is cliché-free. Each stroke of her brush or pastel is laden with emotion. With memory. Hoffman’s thickly layered canvases are what plein air should be: our eyes roam each surface, seeking out details. We marvel at layered textures, a dream-like, hauntingly soft view of the world. She approaches nature as the mystery it is.

Jennifer Hoffman - "Winding Through."

Jennifer Hoffman – “Winding Through.”

A year ago I had the honor of standing in for Hoffman at New York’s Salmagundi Club. Her work received a prestigious award, one of many. It was a proud day for the artist, and a heady, exciting day for me.

Here’s an excerpt from Hoffman’s blog. In it, she describes a “Eureka!” moment shared with the late, great plein air painter Greg McHuron. That day, Hoffman was frustrated with her artistic efforts, and McHuron solved the dilemma:

“…So I drew a thumbnail of what I remembered as the composition.  “Look!” [Greg] said, pointing at the saguaro in front of the mountains that I’d sketched on the napkin. “You’ve already improved on your idea!” He was right: I had subtly shifted the main elements of my design into a better version of my original composition.  Without the distraction of a million compelling details in front of my eyes, that idea became my whole focus.”

Click here to read more about Jennifer Hoffman’s work. And click here to visit her gallery, Trio Fine Art.

Bert Raynes and Friend. Courtesy JenTen Productions.

Bert Raynes and Friend. Courtesy JenTen Productions.

TONIGHT, June 3rd, 6-7:30 pm, PLEASE join the JenTen film production team at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Help crowd fund “Far Afield,” a documentary about one of this valley’s most beloved conservationists, Bert Raynes. I’ve contributed!

“Donate and Celebrate,” as the group says. You may also visit http://igg.me/at/BertFilmJH to contribute. Contact Jennifer Tennican at 307.690.2258 or jentennican@gmail.com for more info.  

May
29

Howdy! I’m back. The Jackson Hole Art Blog is up again! We’ll be writing brief (up to 500 words) weekly posts about Jackson Hole Arts. Summer traffic is turning up early this year, so let’s get going! Send me your news! Email me at tammy@jacksonholearttours.com OR tammychristel@gmail.com.  

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One of Jackson’s most eclectic, sophisticated galleries, Heather James Fine Art, has two locations. Their home gallery is in Palm Springs, California, and its second gallery is here in Jackson. Currently featured is “Arts of Asia,” a stunning artifacts collection.

“Antiquities loaded with historical, ritual, and cultural richness weave an intricate story of centuries of dynasties and eras in Arts of Asia,” says the gallery. “Spanning 2,000 years, the objects in the show are organized by geography: China, Japan, and India & Southeast Asia.”

Heather James’ new series of online catalogs are beautifully composed. View catalogs of this and other Heather James collections at www.heatherjames.com 

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Brent Cotton VALLEY EVENING oil on linen 20 x 24 in

Brent Cotton
VALLEY EVENING
oil on linen
20 x 24 in

Jackson’s Trailside Galleries presents “Fleeting Effects of Light,” a show of new works by Brent Cotton. Light is the thing in our valley. Our light wears infinite guises, an artist’s eternal muse.

“Raised on his family’s cattle ranch in Idaho, Brent’s first lessons in art were taught by his grandmother, a talented watercolorist. He grew up sketching the cowboys and horses he observed every day. In high school an influential instructor encouraged him to pursue a career in art,” says Trailside. “Cotton attended workshops and studied with some of the best known names in wildlife and Western art, including world-renowned Western artist Howard Terpning.”

“Fleeting Effects of Light” runs June 1 – June 30, 2015 at Trailside. An Open House and ArtWalk (which includes many galleries around town) takes place June 18, 5-7 pm.  www.trailsidegalleries.com 

Apr
23

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, give my heart to all of you. That’s one thing, and after a while I’ll be doing it again. In less than a month I depart Jackson Hole for an extended stay in my New England home. I’ve been reading your emails and resisting my own default button: write a blog post! Surrounded by brown boxes, packing tape, piles and piles of stuff I didn’t know I had, and an ever-shifting list of moving chores, I’ve had to curtail writing about art. 

"Passage #39" - Dan Namhinga. Acrylic on canvas, 84 x72"

I miss it so. I will miss you deeply. You artists, you galleries, you museums and auctions, you wild and crazy fun events, salons, exhibits, Fall Arts Festivals~~~and most of all, the blissful, heavenly days spent out in Grand Teton National Park watching painters capture this beauty~~~feeling so proud to be present. To get to tell the world about your adventures, even as I’m on my own adventure. There’s so much more to learn. This website, together with soaking in the West’s stupendous art histories, has changed my life.

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Thank you for your trust and respect. Thank you for allowing me to share with the world (and the world does see!) the power of Jackson Hole art. Once I’ve settled some, I’ll be back to thinking and writing about you.

I’m proud of the Jackson Hole Art Blogsix years old, plus. This is post #541.

971071_575727195817073_81363745_nI know the Blog’s mission is appreciated. It’s the first blog of its kind in Jackson. Most importantly, I love you all and am blessed by your friendship, your support and the countless projects we’ve shared. We started something! I’m grateful for my experiences and affiliations with the Grand Teton Association and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, Artists in the Environment, Greg McHuron, Bert Raynes, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Altamira Fine Art, the Brookover Gallery, Trio Fine Art, Homestead Magazine, our newspapers, Jackson’s Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Hole Art Auction, Wyoming ArtsWyoming Public Media and all Blog sponsors. Each and every artist!

With any luck I’ll pull my head out of the basement and see you in the coming weeks. If we miss one another, you know where to reach me, and I know where to reach you.

Look outside your immediate selves and your generation; rescue whenever possible and appropriate. Volunteer in places and for causes that aren’t “sexy.” Stay honest.

Keep sending your news. Though I can’t write about them for a while, I always want to hear what you’re doing with your wild and precious lives.

Namasté!   ~~~~ Tammy

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