Tag Archives: Altamira Fine Art

Todd Kosharek’s Utopia

Todd Kosharek Utopian Vision - The Peach Blossom Spring Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 inches

Todd Kosharek, Utopian Vision – The Peach Blossom Spring – Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 inches

“As I get older, I see looking to the future, both as a society and as individuals, as an act of seeking the Utopians that exist in our romanticized memories of the past. Memory is both the greatest blessing and the greatest curse. The line between the difference is what I am so drawn to explore, to understand.”- Todd Kosharek

“Utopian Vision – The Peach Blossom Spring,” encapsulates artist Todd Kosharek’s view of the world. Utopia was an island said to be an intentional place of community, an ideal society. Kosharek’s painting “Peach Blossom” depicts what is thought to be the first sighting of Utopia.

The painting’s story concerns a fisherman who comes upon a society living in perfect harmony. The fisherman stays for one week, then departs to his former life. When he tries to return to Utopia, he perishes.

Todd Kosharek Neautrality Acrylic on Canvas 16 x 24 inches

Todd Kosharek, Neautrality, Acrylic on Canvas, 16 x 24 inches

TODD KOSHAREK | UTOPIAN VISION: THE HISTORY PROJECT, opens at Altamira Fine Art on October 3rd, runs through October 15th, and hosts an artist’s reception at Altamira on October 6, 5-8:00 pm in Jackson, Wyoming. A dance, themed to the exhibit, will be performed by Kosharek’s wife, Kate Kosharek.

Now a father of two, Kosharek’s growth as an artist is evident. That happens with parenthood, but in Kosharek’s case it’s really not a surprise; he began his own life journey~~or at least his visible Jackson Hole life journey~~on a higher plane. His perceptions of people, the way we live, his committment to truth and clear, balanced vision seem far above average.

Saturated in art history, Kosharek’s contemporary paintings have developed a highly focused and meditative style. He’s as meticulous and balanced in his artwork as poets are when  constructing great poetry.

Todd Kosharek Love Letter - Peace Within Acrylic on Canvas 12 x 20 inches

Todd Kosharek, Love Letter – Peace Within, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 20 inches

“I went seeking poetic verses on peace through (sic) and acceptance of love. I looked at Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Cummings….Then I re-read letters from my wife. “Love Letter” is the first one I ever received, 13 years ago. She wrote about a great peace within [regarding our] whole situation, the admitting of vulnerability toward another person. I thought this was a perfect summary of love: having a sense of peace to the unknown,” writes Kosharek.

This exhibition focuses on Kosharek’s ongoing Crane Series, and a sample of his landscape painting occupies the top of this page. With this new exhibit, Kosharek merges interior and exterior worlds.

Sebastian Junger’s book, “Tribe,” concludes society has grossly inverted our own utopia; from our earliest days on this continent, reports Junger, our industrial society “waged an ongoing campaign against a native population that had barely changed, technologically, in 15,000 years.”

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Our Majestic Parks: Ziemienski at Altamira Fine Art

Dennis Ziemienski, Stone Bridge Over the Merced, Yosemite National Park. Oil on Canvas 40 x 30 "

Dennis Ziemienski, Stone Bridge Over the Merced, Yosemite National Park. Oil on Canvas. 40×30″

In Dennis Ziemienski’s new show “Celebrating Our National Parks” at Altamira Fine Art, our parks are monumental. Man’s presence, for the most part, is small and humbling. In every image, you’ll find homage and acknowledgement that they, the parks, were here before us; and they, not us, are Earth’s great achievements.

DENNIS ZIEMIENSKI: CELEBRATING OUR NATIONAL PARKS, is on exhibit at Altamira Fine Art in Jackson, Wyoming, August 15-27, with an opening reception on Thursday, August 18, 5-8:00 pm. 

Dennis Ziemienski Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park Oil on Canvas 48 x 30 inches

Dennis Ziemienski
Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
Oil on Canvas
48 x 30 “

As I write, 11 works from the show are posted on Altamira’s website; two have already sold. Ziemienski’s painting has always been marked by an appreciation of all things vintage. At times I’ve felt his work can be a little too obvious, but in this show, being obvious about color, scale and our precious parks is the point. These are spectacular tributes to some of America’s greatest treasures: Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, Arches National Park, Glacier , Yosemite and Devil’s Tower National Monument. This year is the National Park Centennial, and if you are one of the millions whose lives are deeply affected by personal park experience; if these wild and gorgeous places have made their mark on your soul, then you are bound to be transported by this tremendous exhibit.

Works reflect National Parks grandeur and scale. Ziemienski’s smallest painting measures 18 x 24″, and the largest canvas is 36 x 48″.

“The stunning beauty, history and wildlife provides an unlimited source of inspiration and subject matter for my paintings.” ~ Dennis Ziemienski

Growing up near Yosemite, I spent many summers there. Two decades ago I moved to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park; stepping off the plane here for the first time my pulse quickened, stunned by the Tetons’ visual impact. Those halcyon summer months spent at Yosemite’s lakes, beneath the waterfalls, hiking valleys, camping in the pines~~I can smell it. I thought I’d lost that sense memory forever. Thank goodness, I was wrong.

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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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Woodard and Schenck Win the West at Altamira Fine Art

Greg Woodard Indian Head Penny, Edition of 17 Bronze 36 x 30 x 16 inches

Greg Woodard
Indian Head Penny, Edition of 17
36 x 30 x 16 inches

At Altamira Fine Art, September 1-10th are exhibition days devoted to artists exploring Native American (or “Indian,” as John Byrne Cooke insists we should be writing), culture and themes. Sculptor Greg Woodard has been subtly, and not so subtly creating visions of myths and symbols of a West that flourished before white men destroyed almost every vestige of the Indian nations. His newest show, Breakthrough, gives us more of Woodard’s emotional, heroic sculptures erupting from the earth, and writhing, proud and primal portrayals of Native Americans and Western wildlife.

Woodard, a master falconer, says he allows his sculptures to develop naturally—there are no preconceptions. Each edition reveals its own hue and texture.

“I try to achieve a unique gesture, and use the process that a piece goes through getting cast to my advantage. I’m very involved at the foundry,” says Woodard. “I chase the waxes and do every patina by hand.”

Woodard's Bison Coin sculpture at NMWA. Photo by Tammy Christel

Woodard’s Bison Coin sculpture at NMWA. Photo by Tammy Christel

Woodard was on hand this summer at the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Annual Plein Air Festival. The event highlights true plein air artists, but sculptors and non-traditional artists also take part. Woodard’s open, friendly ways stand in contrast to the intensity of his work. That day, Woodard was shaping a piece for a bronze sculpture depicting a buffalo’s profile turned on its axis within a weathered coin’s diameter. Below Woodard and his sculpture, pacing the sage-covered incline, was sculptor Richard Loffler’s buffalo installation. Two “presents” looking back, foretelling America’s future.

An artist’s reception will be held at Altamira on Friday, September 11, 5-8:00 pm, during the Fall Arts Festival’s “Palettes and Palates”ArtWalk. www.altamiraart.com.

Billy Schenck: Three Minutes from Eternity. Enquire!

Billy Schenck: Three Minutes from Eternity. Enquire!

Congratulations to Billy Schenck and Altamira Fine Art for Schenck’s encore performance as 2015’s Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Poster Artist. This is his second trip down the Featured Poster Artist aisle, and he’s having a blast. Altamira’s website does not post a price for the original~~that’s because it will be auctioned off at the Fall Arts Annual Quick Draw on the Town Square. Bring the big bucks! The Quick Draw is truly Jackson’s favorite Festival happening~~~I believe it’s outpaced Palates and Palettes. Two completely different events, but there’s purity in the Quick Draw. Family Fun. Sparkling fall mornings. Artists on hand in one place, quick on the painting and sculpting draw.

This Schenck is on Altamira’s site. I have to post it. If this doesn’t leave you smiling….I give up!

Billy Schenck - Columbus Discovered the Tetons. Oil on Canvas 35 x 45 inches.

Billy Schenck. Columbus Discovered the Tetons. Oil on Canvas. 35 x 45″



Visions of the New Old West at Altamira

Dennis Ziemienski-Wyoming Cowgirl. Oil on Canvas  60x40"

Dennis Ziemienski-Wyoming Cowgirl. Oil on Canvas 60×40″

Join painter Dennis Ziemienski at Altamira Fine Art for an opening reception and artist’s talk on on Ziemienski’s new show, “Visions of the New Old West,” on July 30th, 5:30-7:30 pm. The show remains on exhibit July 27-August 8.

As time passes, disputes over what is considered true Western art have volubly (in the sense of expanding lung capacity) lessened. We are, as this show’s title suggests, evolving yet again. Recently I attended a Yale University Art Gallery talk on Whistler’s etchings and their influence over artists of his age; conversely, Whistler was influenced by his peers. Put all these artists’ works together, and the effects are clear as day.

“Nothing is really ever new,” remarked the university’s etchings curator. “Everything springs from another era some way, somehow.”

Dennis Ziemienski, Wig Wam Nocturne Oil on Canvas 36 x 36 inches

Dennis Ziemienski,
Wig Wam Nocturne Oil on Canvas 36 x 36 inches

The West—our region, at any rate—was first discovered in part because of posters commissioned by railroad lines. These travel posters promoted new regions opening up to tourism and Ziemenski, a native San Franciscan, puts together idealistic images of cowboy life with a feel for sharp, witty modernism. His work melds love of traditional Western aesthetic and everything new the West has absorbed for decades.

How unlikely to think of Whistler’s work while considering Ziemenski’s; the former show included a nocturne, and Altamira’s includes Ziemienski’s “Wig Wam Nocturne,” shown above. It’s one of my favorites. See how the artist lines up his composition, playing the tipi’s inverted “V” against a parked car’s tailwing rear lights? Perfectly placed zig-zags (symbolizing mountains?) echo a line of violet sunset clouds. A lighted door beckons.  www.altamiraart.com.