Tag Archives: Jackson Hole Galleries

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.

Continue reading

Landscapes As Muse

Susan Vecsey Untitled (Yellow) Oil. 36x44"

Susan Vecsey Untitled (Yellow) Oil. 36×44″

 

“Susan Vecsey: A Selection of Paintings” opens at the Tayloe Piggott Gallery on August 20th. An opening reception will be held that evening, 6-8:00pm, and the show remains on display through October 10th, 2015.

American artist Susan Vecsey was born in 1971 (so young!) and during her (to we “boomers”) short time on earth she’s developed a gorgeous liquid painting style. In this show, only one painting I can recall contains hard color field delineations. A person could gaze at Vecsey’s work a long, peaceful while.

These works are the sort we used to see at Piggott’s Gallery on a regular basis, in its former life as the J.H. Muse Gallery. We’re back in the land of exciting color, color, color! Hooray!

Helen Frankenthaler immediately comes to mind. It turns out she’s on Vecsey’s mind, too.

Susan Vecsey "Study for Morning Light at Northwest Harbor, East Hampton. 2012" Oil on Paper, 11.5 x14.5"

Susan Vecsey “Study for Morning Light at Northwest Harbor, East Hampton. 2012″ Oil on Paper, 11.5 x 14.5”

 

“The reflection of the 1960s New York art movement of Color Field painting is very present in her work. In particular, the work of Helen Frankenthaler is a major influence and inspiration,” writes Piggott. “Color Field painters apply color in large one dimensional swaths across a large canvas, or ‘field’…. (Her) work takes a cue from “Lyrical Abstraction”, which situates abstraction in a landscape context. The allusion of landscape—hills, fields, horizon lines, seas and skies is suggested in the abstract form of her work.”

Susan Vecsey, Untitled (Pink) 2013, Oil on linen

Susan Vecsey, Untitled (Pink) 2013, Oil on linen

 

The works feel “large scale”~~however, Vescey’s paintings vary in size.

Richly pigmented, Vescey’s paintings emerge one at a time, “single file.” Interesting linen textures are allowed to emerge. And although her paintings are a compilation of small selections of color, Vecsey makes extreme effort to reach the intensity of color she wants.

Enchanting. We are thirsty for this level of work, and like a mirage it will disappear. Walk towards it. www.tayloepiggottgallery.com

Susan Vecsey, Untitled (Orange / Pink) 2014, Oil on linen

Susan Vecsey, Untitled (Orange / Pink) 2014, Oil on linen

.

A very different kind of landscape show is on exhibit, beginning this week at Trio Fine Art. Please visit my author’s page, https://funthingstodoinjacksonhole.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/bill-sawczuks-big-country/  to read about Bill Sawczuk’s new show, “The Way I See It.”  

Todd Kosharek: Peace in the Valley

Todd Kosharek: "Provisions."

Todd Kosharek: “Provisions.”

“‘Provisions.’–Almost finished. Started it over two years ago. I love working on these large, long term paintings, life moving along as I paint them. So much gets absorbed into them.” ~ Todd Kosharek

Jackson artist Todd Kosharek is, as we speak, finishing up the last of two new pieces for his next solo show, “Folded: Symbol.” The exhibition opens August 1st at Daly Projects Gallery and is comprised, Kosharek shares, of ten new paintings exploring the symbolism of origami cranes as a symbol for Peace. The show remains up through the month.

“These paintings are the ones that explore the idea of Peace in various forms,” Kosharek writes. “Peace through principle, peace through expression, peace through practice – these are the titles of some of the paintings in the show. Some works explore these ideas as actual documents folded into cranes; some explore more abstractly. I’m also showing four of my latest portraits, including “Golden Boy,” my first portrait of (my son) Weston.”

Todd Kosharek - Peace Through Principle. 14x26"

Todd Kosharek – Peace Through Principle. 14×26″

Kosharek has been so busy researching, designing and painting he’s barely had time to photograph his work. A miraculous ability to balance daily family life — he is a new father — and paint to near perfection, not concerning himself with the length of time he puts into a work, is evident. One work, “Peace Through Practice – The Nobel Peace Prize” depicts origami cranes imprinted with the words of Alfred Nobel, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, Gorbachev and the Dali Lama. All in their original handwriting.

“Provisions” is a masterpiece. It has the detailed mystery of a Zen garden; thousands of stories folded into one. A dining room set is at once anchored and weightless. Kosharek sets the scene by nesting rectangles inside of one another, each leading the eye to where it needs to go. Cranes rest at each place, and below the floor-table are more cranes, more “provisions.” What look like artist’s supplies are painted lower left~~a self-portrait? We’re looking inside Kosharek’s mind, his spirituality. Though this interior is dark, curtains part to reveal a bright, snowy scene. Against the window is a bare, dead tree. But beyond it is a lush forest of evergreens, a snowy white path to wherever Kosharek wants to travel. “Provisions” is at once mysterious, a bit prophetic and…peaceful. www.toddkosharek.com

Todd Kosharek. "Peace Through Transcendence. 10x16"

Todd Kosharek. “Peace Through Transcendence. 10×16”

Ross, Slonim & Grossman Join Altamira; $12.6 (Million) in Scottsdale

David Grossman - Blossoming Trees - Oil on Linen - 8x10"

David Grossman – Blossoming Trees – Oil on Linen – 8×10″

“No, I said: What kind of bird are YOU?” ~ Sam, to Suzy, upon their first meeting in the film “Moonrise Kingdom.”  

Contemplative, visual poems. Painterly, reminding me of a wistful Childe Hassam; contemporary, like a print; gentle, glowing and linear. Colorado painter David Grossman is one of three new artists signed on to Altamira Fine Art. Grossman is joined by contemporary artists David Michael Slonim and bold trendsetter Thom Ross.

Attribute it to the soft, indecisive changing of our alpine seasons, call it a love of landscape. My heart has been stolen by Grossman’s diminutive oil painting, shown above. He paints, says the gallery, “abstracted visions of forests…melodic in their focus on rhythm and symmetry.” Adds Fine Art Connoisseur: “[Grossman’s paintings] effect the comfort and relief of a ‘visual exhale’ while also leading us into meditative contemplation and thought.”

A few brushstrokes and we are eras away in time, lost in a happy composition. 

Thom Ross - Gunman's Walk - Oil on Canvas 48 x 48"

Thom Ross – Gunman’s Walk – Oil on Canvas
48 x 48″

Have you been around Jackson long enough to remember California born artist Thom Ross’ installation at Snow King’s base? “Custer’s Last Stand” was an erected forest of early American soldiers pitted against Native Americans. We walked through and around the battle, and though that battle is one of the West’s most defining moments, Ross’ style is to portray iconic Americans and events in off-beat (gunmen with tiny heads!), sometimes complex and unexpected ways. He can be sensitive and elegiac; friends own an early Thom Ross painting depicting a solitary dead horse, lying on its side. It’s beautiful.

“Indians playing croquet; General Custer riding off while balancing a table on his head; Sheriff Pat Garrett standing with shotgun in hands bracing against the cold of a wintry New Mexico morning – these are a few of the unique images depicted in Ross’s paintings,” says Altamira. In addition to creating his art, Ross runs his own space, “Due West Gallery,” in Santa Fe.

David Michael Slonim - Fire and Ice-Oil on Canvas-48 x 60"

David Michael Slonim – Fire and Ice-Oil on Canvas- 48 x 60″

They are landscapes; landscapes deconstructed to layered, broad color fields, conveying essence. Contemporary painter David Michael Slonim is the third “new bird” to alight at Altamira. Plein air painting and illustration are part of his professional artistic experience.

Prisms, shards of translucent glass, collage — these I see in the artist’s expressionist works. Slonim is influenced by a bevy of masters, including Diebenkorn, Mitchell, Motherwell, de Kooning, and Cezanne.

“Although my paintings are derived from nature, they are really about color, shape, texture and line for their own sake,” says Slonim. “I started out as a plein air painter. The more I painted and studied, the more fascinated I became with abstraction. Now I am more interested in interpreting nature than representing nature.”  www.altamiraart.com 

Kyle Pozin - Mystic Warrior

Kyle Polzin – Mystic Warrior -Oil- 74 x 30″

In case you haven’t heard: April 5th’s Scottsdale Art Auction brought in $12.6 million.

Ecstatic press materials report that Frederic Remington’s “The Thermometer from Ten to Thirty-Three Degrees Below Zero,” an oil estimated between $500,000 – $700,000, sold for $920,000, the top sale of the day. Many deceased and contemporary masters did exceedingly well, but, emphasizes the auction:

“The crowd of almost 500 bidders was stunned when a 40-year-old artist from Texas, Kyle Polzin, took the block with a 74 x 30 inch oil entitled “Mystic Warrior.” Estimated up to $40,000, an extended bidding war ended in a hush, as auctioneer Jason Brooks carefully guided bids to a final total of $287,500.”

The Scottsdale Art Auction has now realized over $100,000,000 in art sales over the course of a decade. For complete results, visit www.scottsdaleartauction.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Altamira Presents Travis Walker; $8.39 Million at JHAA

Travis Walker - Ski Fence

Travis Walker – Ski Fence

I’ve been rooting for Travis Walker and Altamira Fine Art to find each other on “ArtMatch.com” and now they have!

Walker is the latest Jackson artist to have a show at Altamira. His exhibition of new works, “In Such an Hour: New Views of Jackson Hole,” runs September 23 – October 6, 2013, and an Opening Reception takes place at Altamira on Friday, September 27th, 5-7:00 pm.

Walker not only makes art; he’s an arts force. If Walker had not landed in Jackson a decade ago, it’s my belief many grass roots arts initiatives would not exist. Artists don’t often take on community leadership roles, but Walker has, and now he’s reaping extraordinary rewards.

“A common subject in my work is the road, which represents our journey through life. We start off staring down the lines of a road, and our entire lives we continue to follow the road to new places. My fascination with roads led me to another symbol in my work: the trailer home,” says Walker. “I have found so many trailers scattered throughout the West that I have come to view them as representations of the American Dream, full of hope, uncertainty, and memory.”

Travis Walker - Saddle Butte (Pink)

Travis Walker – Saddle Butte (Pink)

From the moment he arrived in Jackson Walker began painting it. Most on-location artists (I think we can go ahead and list Walker as a plein air painter—he’s in the “Artists in the Environment” hall of fame and was the first truly non-traditional artist to take part in that program) can be found out in Grand Teton National Park, or anywhere out in nature –and Walker can be found there too. But he also spends much of his time painting the Town of Jackson, essentially creating new iconic images of Jackson. All these subjects entice the artist: an old salon (the former Gai Mode), a decaying house with a fence made of skis (so many have lived there!) and a vintage trailer park.

Walker’s work, notes the gallery, is influenced by American regionalists Edward Hopper and Grant Wood (“American Gothic”), and by Japanese printmaking and German Expressionism.

It often takes years of hard, consistent work to make it in the art world; it’s a challenging, competitive and sometimes heartbreaking life pursuit. But, as we’ve said, arts enthusiasts constantly keep their eyes open, and Altamira director Mark Tarrant has been tracking Walker.

Travis Walker

Travis Walker

“Travis creates very interesting interpretations of local scenes, from his views of Snow King to sweeping views of Flat Creek and the Elk Refuge,” Tarrant observes. “He is a sophisticated painter with a fresh, contemporary palette. We are pleased to present an exhibition of Walker’s work here at the gallery.”

Years ago I wrote a forward for a book about his art that Walker published. Revisiting it, it still feels relevant:

“Walker is a satellite, zooming in and out of our landscapes, freezing vast spaces and solitary formations. We’re light years away from a moment just captured. Flaxen parachutes float forever. Still purple evening shadows never give way to night. These landscapes are our ideal; they’re uninhabited, but histories are embedded. Deserted cabins hold the energy and sadness of generations. Blank windows and headlights, eyes of the universe. Beneath Walker’s surfaces is an extraterrestrial glow he never quite paints down, a light peeking out from behind closed doors.”

Born in Tokyo, Japan and a child of the military, Walker is well acquainted with transience. Place is crucial. Now, at age 37, he’s settled in Jackson with a family of his own. He received his BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University, and he’s had numerous shows and exhibits over the years. Walker is founder of  Teton Artlab, a non-profit providing studio space for artists. As we’ve reported, Walker was a 2013 panelist for the National Endowment for the Art’ Artists Communities Grant and a 2013 Artist in Residence at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. In 2012, he won the “Rising Star Award” from the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole.

And risen he has. www.altamiraart.com 

Martin Grelle - Scouts on the Buffalo Fork, 2013

Martin Grelle – Scouts on the Buffalo Fork, 2013

$8.39 million…

…is the official total sales amount of this year’s Jackson Hole Art Auction (produced by Trailside Galleries and Santa Fe’s Gerald Peters Gallery), held September 14th, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 85% of 284 lots were sold, with 200 phone bidders vigorously participating. The estate of James Grisebaum contributed many important works, and all but one of the 32 works from his estate were sold.

Continue reading