Tag Archives: American Art

Turner Lightens Up at Trio Fine Art; Trailside’s Western Spirit

2016 Light on the Land

Kathryn Mapes Turner, "Grace," 40 x 30" oil on linen.

Kathryn Mapes Turner, “Grace,” 40 x 30″ oil on linen.

“I believe that humans can learn from the example set by animals to live sustainably on the planet. In this way, they live life ‘light on the land.’” ~ Kathryn M. Turner 

Transluscent light plays a big role in the artist’s upcoming exhibition “Light on the Land,” going on exhibit August 17th at Trio Fine Art, in Jackson, Wyoming. An opening reception will be be held August 18th, 5-8:00 pm at the gallery.

Plein air painter Kathryn Mapes Turner’s work has taken on a sheer, misty quality. Subject matter is not quite attached to this earth. It floats. Turner wields her brush to create an airy, misty atmosphere, quite in contrast to this region’s massive solidity and sheer tonnage.

It’s a style of painting the artist has embraced for some time. Often, Turner’s brushstrokes are diluted, and canvas texture becomes part of a painting; oils are so sparingly used they can be mistaken for watercolors.

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Is This Thing On?

Wendell Field. North of Static. Wood Print.

Wendell Field, North of Static. Wood Print.

It is on! Fancy that.

Hello, and welcome back to the Jackson Hole Art Blog, where, this summer, I’ll be working to keep you updated on the arts scene in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Plein air events will be prominent, particularly in July, when the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters return to Grand Teton National Park to paint for two weeks, interact with wildlife, the visiting public and demonstrate their legendary talents.

Jackson’s new artist community continues to grow despite a raging, excruciating housing shortage. The muse is the message, and extracting yourself from your muse is painful. Jackson arts are exploding, and for the most part have beautified and enhanced the area. Creativity includes murals, installations, public art, and the Western art scene continuing to diversify its genres.

The Greg McHuron Memorial Book Project is complete! Contact the Grand Teton Association to order your copy today!

The Greg McHuron Memorial Book Project is complete! Contact the Grand Teton Association to order your copy today!

There is a “creative conundrum’ in play. To my knowledge the most recent, all-inclusive write-up on issues affecting our artists belongs to Planet Jackson Hole, and you can read it here. I posted a response to the article:

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Wonder Cabinets; Montana Artist David W. Wharton’s West


In what seems like a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Jackson artist Jenny Dowd opened her first show here,“Teeth.”  Inspiration for Dowd’s works were Renaissance curiosity cabinets, also known as “Cabinets of Wonder,” or as the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) notes, “Wunderkammer.”

“Teeth,” we wrote of Dowd’s exhibit, “suggests the De Stijl movement’s purity and pared down universality – as well as its spirituality – imposed upon …curiosity cabinets, likely the original ‘found object’ art form. Those cabinets were small, framed stages filled with collected objects, their maker’s assembly of natural and unnatural articles. Often displaying botanical specimens, curiosity cabinets were attempts to understand and control the world while providing a way to marvel at its mysteries.”

wondercabinet1_sm7f494fThe cabinets were also precursors to museums, says NMWA. Their new exhibition, “Wonder Cabinet,” conceived by Assistant Museum Curator Bronwyn Minton, invites us to look in on these mysterious marvels, which were “a way for each individual to display his wealth and knowledge of the world.” The show is Minton’s third community-focused exhibit~~plaster insects, butterfly shadow boxes, NMWA artworks and commissioned works are all part of the show.

“Wonder Cabinet” opens Thursday, November 14th, 6:00-9:00 pm, at this month’s NMWA “Mix’d Media.” The fun happens in Johnson Hall, and all comers have the chance to create and take home their own “wonder objects.” All are welcome, and donations are encouraged!  www.wildlifeart.org

David W. Wharton - "The West, A & B"

David W. Wharton – “The West, A & B”

“My contemporary work attempts to revive the color, spirit and spiritual designs of the American Plains Indians.” ~ David W. Wharton 

In his seminal history of the arts and Yellowstone, “Drawn to Yellowstone: Artists in America’s First National Park,” Peter H. Hassrick cites Livingston, Montana artist David W. Wharton’s work as emblematic of a contemporary, dramatic thematic shift artists made when capturing Yellowstone.

It’s my feeling the author admired Wharton’s brave stepping away from simply glorifying the Park; you are no arts chump if your work is included in Hassrick’s remarkable book. Wharton, an avid fly fisherman, instead chose to comment on our invasion and misuse of Yellowstone’s great natural resources, Native Americans and wildlife.

David W. Wharton - Yellowstone

David W. Wharton – Yellowstone

“My thoughts and work have always been about the Yellowstone country and that of the Native Americans. We live where they died, we exist today because we stole their land,” states Wharton. “As long as I live in this proximity of Yellowstone, I will always pray to the spirit of this amazing place and the culture of what must have been [imbued with] innocence, freedom and the will to survive.”

Wharton’s arresting, colorful graphic designs appear in his watercolors, lithographs, monoprints and digital imagery. His work is as intricate as a quilt, boldly bright and so intriguing. The longer we look, the more wildlife symbols, basketry, morning star patterns and magic phenomena appear. If these twirling, interlocked symbols are morning stars, Wharton could be depicting his reverence for spirits and ancestors, as well as praying for the plentiful return of a culture and respect for nature’s bounty. Plains Indians communicated with symbols; one source says that the morning star represents a bright and twinkling Venus.

In fact, says Wharton, many of the patterns are based on ancient Islamic tiles and designs dating back to the Byzantine era. Wharton combines and rotates ancient and contemporary motifs for each work.

Wharton’s arts and non-profit leadership experience is extensive. Founding Director of Fine Arts at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, he’s served as Assistant Professor of arts at Whitman and Colorado Colleges. From one edge of this country to the other, Wharton has directed the Florida Keys Council for the Arts and served as Executive Director of Alaska Transportation & Industry, in Wasilla. He’s currently represented by Sun Valley’s prestigious Gail Severn Gallery.

“I believe that we as a culture have “nickeled and dimed” the Native American Indian culture,” says Wharton. “We have reduced that freedom of the Plains Indians to mere remembrance of what was once a mighty nation. And we pay in beaded and feathered souvenirs. Alvin Josephy researched this culture extensively, as did Grinnell, Curtis and Catlin.”  www.davidwwharton.com



Robert Bateman on Plein Air; An Artist’s Work; Walker Joins Altamira

Robert Bateman & "Chief"

Robert Bateman & “Chief”

A recent Plein Air Magazine newsletter highlighted the presence of world-renowned artist Robert Bateman at the Susan K. Black Foundation’s Dubois, Wyoming workshop, where Bateman spoke at length on the subject of plein air painting. And, to quote the OutdoorPainter.com on-line article, Bateman is “at the point where his level of success and experience frees him to be very outspoken.” Ah, freedom! At what point do artists begin to feel that freedom? The tipping point differs for everyone. If members of Jackson’s arts community made the trip to Dubois perhaps you’ll let us know how it went.

Bateman discussed plein air from two perspectives: as a tool to better our lives by improving our minds and connecting ourselves to the world around us, whatever our immediate world may be; and as an art form in itself. Bateman, perhaps most well known for his iconic painting “Chief,” part of the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s permanent collection, “ruffled some feathers (and smoothed others) with his praise for certain abstract expressionist artists and his criticism of wildlife art tropes. Bateman stressed the need for mystery in a painting.”

Robert Bateman-Roseate Spoonbill - Courtesy National Museum of Wildlife Art

Robert Bateman-Roseate Spoonbill – Courtesy National Museum of Wildlife Art

“Chief,” a massive painting ( 71 x 98″) depicts an American bison emerging from a mist; brown prairie grasses or  late-season sage is suggested in the painting’s background. Bateman’s early art was abstract, but, says the museum, after being inspired by the works of Andrew Wyeth, Bateman turned to realism; his art was mentioned prominently by Fine Art Connoisseur’s editor Peter Trippi. Read the OutdoorPainter.com article and view their Youtube Video interview with Bateman here.

Wendell Field, on location in Grand Teton National Park

Wendell Field, on location in Grand Teton National Park

“Wendell Field: An Artist’s Work,” Jackson Hole painter Wendell Field’s first solo show of works this year, opens on Friday, October 18th, 4:30 – 8:30 pm, at Teton Art Lab, 130 South Jackson Street~~that cute yellow house that cradles artists so perfectly. Field plans on exhibiting a dozen paintings, many of them created near Field’s home in Kelly, Wyoming.

“I’ll have a new print based off drawings I did on Static Divide, looking north in Grand Teton National Park; it’s a woodblock reproduction print—a carved block printed with a mixture of pigment, rice paste and mica dust. Then it’s carved again, printed until the block is destroyed, and the print complete,” says Field. “Each print is a good study base for paintings, and for art fans it’s affordable, original, hand-made art.”

Wendell Field - Mormon Row, Toward Jackson Peak

Wendell Field – Mormon Row, Toward Jackson Peak

During Travis Walker’s über successful art exhibition at Altamira Fine Art, Field and I had a chance to talk about some of the gallery’s artists. Specifically we looked closely at Glenn Dean’s paintings, an artist Field says “speaks to him.”  He considers Dean’s work out of the ordinary, even “surprising” in style. Comparing Dean’s work to another artist’s, Field said that the former’s rendition of landscapes was a choice Field understood. Dean, of course, recently won the very prestigious Maynard Dixon Gold Thunderbird Award—so Field’s estimation of Dean’s work is not unwarranted.

Wendell Field - Western Motel

Wendell Field – Western Motel

Though their painting styles differ, the two artists would enjoy each other’s company. Field’s images of mountains, snow, clouds, and structures are voluminous, rolling towards us, exhibiting a fairytale-like quality. He has developed a distinct color palette that turns real locations into magical destinations, and his paintings reflect his printmaking proficiency.

I’m looking forward to seeing Wendell Field’s new work!  www.wendellfield.com


Here comes the magic Altamira Fine Art bus! Late last week the gallery announced that Jackson artist Travis Walker is the newest addition to the gallery’s roster of fine artists.

Prior to Walker’s recent inaugural Altamira exhibition, gallery director Mark Tarrant remarked on Walker’s fresh and wholly unique color palette and compositions. Walker’s images of Jackson—downtown scenes as well as depictions of the region’s great natural landscapes and landmarks—have truly become iconic, big markers on Jackson’s arts timeline. That first show, “In Such an Hour: New Views of Jackson Hole,” sold out.

Tarrant noted that the gallery is slow and deliberate in its approach to adding artists, inviting a new artist on board perhaps once a year.

“Travis’ innovative artwork is a welcome addition to the gallery,” Tarrant said. “We are all extremely pleased, and we are excited to see what he does next. Collectors from Jackson and around the nation expressed their appreciation of Walker’s unique style and vision.”

“ArtMatch.com” is a registered trademark now. I KNEW it. Yay!!!  www.altamiraart.com 


Teton Artists Associated; Wyoming Wilderness Act

Paul Bransom (1885-1979) -Jackson Hole, Wyo-  13 x 17"  Oil

Paul Bransom (1885-1979) -Jackson Hole, Wyo- 13 x 17″ Oil

You think you’ve seen everything, and suddenly a gem crosses your path. This gem is an oldie, but it shines. It’s history, and a wonderful window into our valley’s arts and wilderness tradition. We are a plein air paradise. A few days ago I paid a visit to Astoria Fine Art and visited the collection of plein air paintings of the Tetons currently in house. The collection is not a true show, but viewed together these works afford an excellent “view” of the many ways artists have painted this valley.

For me, the most exciting find was a scene painted by Paul Bransom (1885-1979). Bransom, notes the gallery (and the gallery credits the National Museum of Wildlife Art), “was a prominent early-American illustrator, having completed covers for the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Country Gentleman and Good Housekeeping. Beginning in 1947, Bransom spent 16 summers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He met many other artists and illustrators in Jackson, and together they taught classes and started Teton Artists Associated.” Another source says Bransom’s commissions included illustrations for Kipling’s “Just So Stories” and Grahame’s “Wind in the Willows.”

Teton Artists Association, circa 1947, Jackson Hole.

Teton Artists Association, circa 1947, Jackson Hole.

Astoria’s Bart Monson was kind enough to provide an historic photograph of plein air artists painting in the valley; the photo dates circa 1947. The image, from the Archives of American Art, is assumed to be a photograph of Teton Artists Associated members painting en plein air. Phenomenal!

Astoria, says owner Greg Fulton, recently acquired four historical paintings depicting the Teton Range. Those and other contemporary works are available to see; artists include Conrad Schwiering, Scott Christensen, Carol Swinney, Jim Wilcox, romantic landscape painter Linda Tuma Robertson, and more. www.astoriafineart.com 

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