Tag Archives: Wyoming Artists

Borbay Ski Barre Pop-Up! ; A.A. Teams Up with Teton Photo Group

Borbay with “Carlos Danger.” He’s not cold, he’s cool.

Picture this: An art event at a dance and fitness studio on the West Bank, featuring a young artist who discovered Jackson Hole when a patron flew him out here, flipped the young artist’s heart over enough times that he pulled up his Manhattan stakes and moved to these here hills.

Teton hills, that is. Real mountains. Rockies. Snow.

These mountains swing! And that explains how our young art hero, Borbay, is mounting his own pop-up art show and party at the swank Ski Barre on the West Bank, in Wilson, Wyoming, on March 4th, 7-9:00 pm. 

On his very own blog, Borbay weaves the tale:

“It began as… the sun was setting behind the Teton Mountains. A late summer chill descended upon the crowd, patiently witnessing a gentleman exhume, skin and dismember a lamb.  Soon, the performance became a barbecue. Huddling around a large fire spit, I turned to my left, extended a hand and introduced myself to David and Michelle Quinn. We discussed art, life and promised to continue the conversation over dinner. As our friendship blossomed, our circle expanded to include Avi Kantor, David’s partner, and Rachel Kantor, the owner of Ski Barre. On a freezing night in Victor, Idaho — we decided to collaborate on something special — a happening of our own. And so…

Borbay, “Old Town Bar”

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Take Your Broken Heart and Make it Art


Sue Sommers’ “001-1111-16,” Watercolor pencil and crayon on Magnani Pescia paper, 11 x 11″. From Sommers’ “Sibling” series.

In this week’s Jackson Hole News & Guide, editors ran a short letter about “clowns” demonstrating on Jackson’s Town Square the afternoon of January 15th. The letter could be taken as a thinly veiled threat: get those “clowns” off the streets of Jackson, or we’ll take our business elsewhere. Presenting all points of view is important, but placing that particular letter ahead of all others is astounding.

It’s a new town, a new year. Luckily, we can take our broken hearts and still make art!

Wyoming’s Pipeline Art Project artist Sue Sommers recently wrote a great piece for Wyofile, and she’s also come out with lots of new art and a new website. Her art explores different subjects, all close to home. Two of my favorites are her “Sibling” and “Willows” series. Though Sommers doesn’t specifically say so, these works draw from the same well, a source of roots and connection.

Sue Sommers, “Willow 2.” Intaglio on Rives Cream, plate size 9 x 12″, edition of 6.

Think of a tree’s branches as fingers, reaching to the sky, beckoning sun, rain and wildlife to its limbs. Think of families — most of Sommers’ abstract “Siblings” resemble fingers — as hands connected by fingers.

She could, she says, use a word like “meditation” to describe the “Sibling Series'” origins. But the real origin is terror.

“I call them (the Sibling Series) because they look like related organisms moving around in a confined space – like a family,” writes Sommers. “Thinking about my own siblings while I draw liberates me. I know (but didn’t when I was growing up) that I have to let the shapes be what they want.”

Sue Sommers. A landscape, “Fenceline 0615″ Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 48 x 48 x 1.5”

Sommers writes about process rather than “content” or “meaning.”

She could, she says, use a word like “meditation” to describe the “Sibling Series'” origins. But the real origin is terror.

“This would be embarrassing if I didn’t know lots of other artists fighting messy tides of dread and self-doubt. Do I have anything interesting to say? Am I any good? Is there any point to the sacrifices I make? After nearly 40 years of valiant battle, I felt like the terror was winning. My way out was to make marks. Any marks.”

Sue Sommers. Stripes sketchbook green yellow. Watercolor and crayon in handmade sketchbook, 4 x 6 inches open. NFS

Sommers started with square pieces of scrap paper and a children’s watercolor set. Working slowly, she pressed her nose almost to the paper, her brush dragging incrementally across the paper’s tooth as pigment soaked in and spread.

“Every inch of every strip of color I laid down was my choice: I choose to make this now. And this. And this. I made dozens of these stripe pieces. Eventually they started changing, and I started changing.”

You can view Sommers’ new work and new website here

Duke Beardsley, Hangtown. Mixed Media on Collage 40 x 52.”  At Altamira Fine Art, Scottsdale.

Altamira Fine Art’s Scottsdale gallery welcomes a new solo show, “Range Monitor,” by contemporary Western artist Duke Beardsley. 

“A highly anticipated new body of work will be highlighted in this new show, which centers on the idea of transparencies and visual plays on overlapping realities and falsehoods,” writes the gallery.

Artist Reception & Opening: January 26, 6:30 – 9:00 pm, in Scottsdale. 

This appears to be an excellent show. Find out more about it by visiting Altamira’s exhibition description here.

Laramie Mural Project Campaign; Sidewalk Pottery; Raptor Workshop

Dan Toro - "Mural Artists Painting Fish"

Dan Toro – “Mural Artists Painting Fish”

Two weeks ago I traveled to Laramie, Wyoming to spend a day with the University of Wyoming’s Museum Director and Chief Curator Susan Moldenhauer. It’s shameful, but this was my inaugural visit to Laramie. Though I’ve read and heard stellar testimonials about the museum, and perused images that convince anyone of the museum’s scope and dedication to merging contemporary art with cultural arts, a visit is the only way to grasp its stunning collection and mission. A number of Wyoming arts representatives hope Laramie and Jackson’s arts communities will connect our creative cultures. Such an evolution could only enrich both communities; here’s a start. I am deeply grateful to Susan for sharing part of her busy schedule and leading me through the museum’s galleries.

Talal Cockar - "Tierra y Libertad"

Talal Cockar – “Tierra y Libertad”

A visit bonus was a tour of Laramie’s Mural Project, an ongoing arts community public art initiative conceived by the Laramie Main Street Alliance. The project took shape three years ago, during a discussion over coffee, and developed organically says one mural artist. Several murals are already completed, but now the Project needs the public’s help; and it’s helping itself by initiating a Kickstarter Campaign; you may view the project’s Kickstarter video here. This project will only be funded if at least $15,000 is pledged by Sunday July 21st, 2013, 10:00pm EDT. Though the project is underway, the Alliance must raise the Kickstarter funds or this will be the project’s last summer. 

Travis Ivey - detail from  "Hollyhock Haven"

Travis Ivey – detail from “Hollyhock Haven”

The murals reflect aspects of Laramie life the community holds dear, and the Project “utilizes local artists to create large scale murals downtown that reflect [the] area’s cultural assets.” Completed murals are nothing short of miraculous. Each is thoughtful, technically brilliant and enchanting. Connectively they draw visitors through Laramie, giving anyone who views them a powerful picture of what the town is all about. Each work is carefully conceived; each has a story to tell or a wish expressed. These participating artists energetically describe the project on YoutubeMeghan Meier, Travis Ivey, Dan Toro, Talal Cockar and Jeff Hubbell.

Meghan Meir - Detail from "Escape"

Meghan Meir – Detail from “Escape”

The Laramie Mural Project is a collaboration between the University of Wyoming Art Museum, local artists, BHP Imaging and the Laramie Main Street Alliance. Social change, cultural heritage, workers, making art of your own design, growing food, indigenous animals, hollyhocks, community roots, art everyone can “own”….these are some of the themes Laramie’s murals explore. In case you didn’t click on the project’s video link above, here’s your second chance: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1187018146/laramie-mural-project  

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Interacting with UW.’s Arts; Illustration Awards; Legacy’s 25th!


Susan Moldenhauer

“In essence, the heightened level of credibility we might gain as a town/ arts group by affiliating ourselves with a major university is huge. The types of programs, events, associations that could be brought to Jackson – or that we might find a way of attending en masse in Laramie, are also considerable.” – Mariam Diehl

Not long ago I was fortunate to meet the University of Wyoming’s Art Museum Director Susan Moldenhauer, a familiar figure to many Wyoming artists and to other museum staff and associates in our state. Moldenhauer was accompanied by university Foundation Relations representative Katrina Woods McGee. Soft-spoken, finely academic, curious, creative and warm, Moldenhauer is also an accomplished photographer. We spoke of the challenges of juggling multiple responsibilities. When she organizes museum exhibits, she “does it with an artist’s eye,” accomplishing the task with an equally strong administrative sense. Some of you may have seen Susan at this past weekend’s three-day “CLICK!: A Weekend for Wyoming Visual Artists,” held at UW.

CLICK! provides opportunity for otherwise isolated Wyoming artists to network; they also have the opportunity to meet regional and national artists such as Eminent Visiting Artist Judy Pfaff, a McArthur Fellowship Genius Award recipient. Pfaff’s show, I Dwell in Possibility, exhibited in Jackson during the summer of 2010 at the Tayloe Piggott Gallery.

Susan’s brief visit here ideally sparks greater interaction between Jackson’s arts and UW. Pushing through our wintry “fourth wall” can be a challenge, but imagining a richer conversation is so exciting. Exhibits expected to be in place at UW later this spring include:

Redefining the Edition: 13 Japanese Printmakers

Haitian Art from the permanent collection

Judy Pfaff: running between hot and cold (working title)

Teaching Gallery: History of Mexico, Islamic Art History, Printmaking, Photography (all permanent collection)

Carol Prusa: Emergent Worlds


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Cultivating Wyoming Artists, Like SFMOMA?

“What might it do for Wyoming to have a museum, foundation, or arts council that cultivated our artists the way SFMOMA does for those of the Bay Area? We have amazing artists hiding out all over the state, and their work goes uncelebrated, their potential undeveloped.” ~ Wyoming Artist

“I need to be SECA seen!” ~ Ben Roth

Ben Roth Being Seen

I appreciated Janet Bishops’s enthusiasm and and strong contentions regarding what SFMOMA does for artists in her town. An academic, she was down to earth and eager. Several exceptionally good questions were asked, and Bishop’s hour-long, Art Association January 25th talk was a phenomenal information opportunity. Yes, she had programs to promote, and she made it clear she was not here to cultivate Jackson artists. That is more than okay, and who knows? Some years from now a Jackson artist could be exhibiting at SFMOMA.

“We think of SFMOMA as having a local, national and international focus. So we’re interested in work from all over the world for audiences in San Francisco to see, but I feel like as a curator I have a very different commitment to emerging art being made there than I would emerging art being made anywhere else. One of the greatest aspects of living there is that it’s a tremendously creative place and to be able to offer opportunities for young artists who are part of the cultural life in our region has happened in all kinds of different ways,” said Bishop.

Bishop was especially proud of one of the museum’s major programs, The Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art, or SECA. It’s a model Wyoming may consider emulating.  My only caveat would be that this program not only seek out undiscovered “contemporary” or “modern” artists—but that it search for artists working in all traditions.

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