As witness to seemingly endless change and challenges to Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, I cling to a core of meaningful experiences imbuing my and so many others’ love of one of the most stunningly beautiful places on earth.
Greetings, friends and lovers of Art in the West! It’s been a while since I rode this bike, and I’m feeling a bit wobbly. Will I teeter and totter? You bet. The traffic is murder! Whatever the journey, welcome back to the Jackson Hole Art Blog.
I arrived back in the Jackson Hole area two weeks ago. I drove 10 days across the country to get here. Down I-81 to Tennessee, across I-40 where I chased the rain and the rain chased me, until I landed for a few hours in Oklahoma City, OK and took in Prix de West. Who do I bump into? Tim Newton. Kismet. Tim is a huge arts proponent, and as he’s recently announced, he’s also the new publisher at Western Art & Architecture. Congratulations, Tim! Call me!
On to Santa Fe, where I spent a delightful evening in the company of Rutgers Barclay, of Barclay Fine Art. Rutgers is a dealer par excellence. If you’re looking for someone special to consult with on today’s art market, I recommend Rutgers. He’s connected in almost every major art portal here in America. His resume is superb. He’s the consummate gentleman, and provides the highest level of service for all the right reasons. We shared a meal with Lili Pierrepont, of Urban Art Tripping. She’s onto a wonderful new concept for art adventures, also based in Santa Fe, but with an international bent. Check her out at www.urbanarttripping.com.
In truth I’ve tried to start writing again for days; internet took over a week to secure. So much has already happened. So many messages from the universe. One of those reminded me that to be successful, art needs to speak to the souls of those who encounter it. The sensation should be immediate. And for that to happen, the source of the art—YOU, the ARTIST—must be honest. You must be feeling something profound and original.
Quoth the Troubadour, “To live outside the law you must be honest.”
My second day back in town I experienced great joy at reconnecting with good friends and meeting new ones at the Plein Air Fest at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. You all know my feelings about plein air. Anything described as plein air SHOULD be true plein air. Many artists at this event are not working in true plein air fashion, but it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the day.
It’s all about gathering outside, colleagues painting together, sharing their art and opening another portal to visitors who are hungry and thrilled to meet artists in the area and watch them create. The day was sparkling, the art impressive. Kudos to the museum for staging another memorable event that artists and visitors love! You can see some of my photographs from the day on my Facebook page and by visiting @tammychristel on Instagram.
On the subject of plein air and that place we are so lucky to experience, Grand Teton National Park: No national park should be without a grounded, annual plein air event celebrating its creation, majesty and wild beauty. To that end I wrote an emotional plea some months back, and I share part of that essay here.
“As witness to seemingly endless change and challenges to Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, I cling to a core of meaningful experiences imbuing my and so many others’ love of one of the most stunningly beautiful places on earth.
“Plein Air for the Park,” seven years old, created a joyous, welcomed new space not only for the artists who participated, but for everyone visiting GTNP. The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP), a group of noted, dedicated and professional artists, committed to coming to GTNP year after year to help raise funds for the Grand Teton Association and, by extension, the Park itself. What a boon to visitors. How they love seeing artists out in the field, no matter the weather.
Each of those 40-some artists are connected to countless others. Countless friends, countless collectors, countless adventures, countless memories.
A RMPAP artist says it best:
“It really hits you deep in the heart. In going through all my photos, it struck me that the artists brought the Park to life in a way that a book or a postcard or snapshot can’t. We were out there in it, every day, in the weather, in the woods, seeing those little moments you miss as you gaze out your car window while zipping along the Park road. A visitor stopping to see the show got to see so much more of the Park and the valley than would otherwise be possible in a brief visit.
They are likely to have seen things they never would have otherwise – the ‘invisible wonders’ of the Park.”
I recently had the pleasure of a private viewing of new works by Victor, Idaho based artist Dave McNally. He and his partner, Alison Brush, are noted artists. I’d seen Dave’s work in Jackson galleries, and it stops me in my tracks. He is a champion of Nepal, a climber. Movement, depth and light in his depictions of Himalaya and our regional peaks are transcendent. The word “Himalaya,” he points out, means “abode of the Gods.” Like the Nepalese, McNally projects his own sense of the Gods on his mountains. His paintings are filled with secrets, with discovery. Look closely. In his painting “South Park,” a particularly bucolic section of a lower region of Jackson’s Hole, McNally achieves a dreamy softness and perspective with the use of alternating light and shadow. As we are aware of the entire landscape, our eye is pulled to the painting’s focus: a slice of the river’s reflection of the sky above, another reality all together.
“The mountains are viewed by those that live beneath them as the givers of life but also, at times, the destroyer of it,” writes McNally. “And it is true. The snow melts and runs down their steep slopes and supplies drinking water for millions of people. For many, they nourish the spirit as well! But on any given day they can snuff life out at the blink of an eye….On careful viewing, one can find hidden images of gods, goddesses and demons.” Abode of the Gods, shown below, is taken from McNally’s 1995 climb of Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.
“On the morning of summit day we left Camp IV, which was a small ledge carved out of the ice at 26,000′,” recalls McNally. “Looking back over my shoulder I could see the splendor of the Himalayan sunrise beneath me, lighting up the neighboring peak, Kabru, 25,000′. I was too tired and oxygen deprived to enjoy the view, but I created this painting so I can enjoy it today.” To truly get a sense of Dave McNally’s extraordinary work, please visit www.davemcnallyart.com
COMING SOON & MUST SEES:
Now at Altamira Fine Art: Duke Beardsley’s Western brand of Pop Art, “Stand and Deliver: Borderline Calamity From the Lost Trail to Nowhere.” Through July 6th. www.altamiraart.com
Kathy Wipfler: Pure Landscape-A Western Journey, at Trailside Galleries in Jackson. July 1-13, 2016. Open House/Artist Reception: July 11th, 4-6 pm. www.trailsidegalleries.com/exhibitions/kathy-wipfler-pure-landscape-a-western-journey
Art Fair Jackson Hole – Jackson Hole Art Association at Miller Park. A summer favorite with a host of artisans, regional and otherwise. July 12-14, Miller Park in Downtown Jackson Hole. www.artassociation.org
Now at Diehl Gallery: 15th Annual Fête. Celebration of the Jackson gallery’s 15 years bringing significant contemporary artists to the West. https://diehlgallery.com/exhibitions