The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) has acquired works by two artists new to the Museum: Contemporary painter Walton Ford, sculptor Simon Gudgeon and an oil painting by 19th-century artist-explorer Titian Ramsay Peale.
At left is Ford’s Swadeshi-cide. Sixth in a very limited edition of 50, the work is an etching, aquatint, drypoint and roulette on paper. NMWA has acquired six different prints by Ford; each of those prints is the sixth print in a series of fifty (6/50).
United Kingdom artist Gudgeon’s Isis, a 10-foot bronze streamlined avian piece, will take a prominent spot in the Museum’s now-under-production sculpture trail. The work is a smaller scale version of Gudgeon’s work installed in London’s Hyde Park. The work is depicted in this blog’s previous post.
“The works of art purchased this year signal the diversity of the museum’s collection,” says Curator of Art Adam Duncan Harris. “Traveling west in 1819, Peale was one of the first artists to record the fauna of what was largely unexplored territory. One hundred ninety years later, contemporary artist Ford is fascinated by wildlife and by the history of depicting those creatures. Coming at the subject from a different angle, Gudgeon hones his representation of avian life to its purest, elemental form, creating a work of power that will be a highlight of our sculpture trail.”
Highly influenced by the artist-naturalists in the museum’s existing collection, including John James Audubon, Ford is an artist-naturalist, but he adds his own political commentary, “using complex symbols to layer his flora and fauna studies with satire on some of the darker moments in U.S. cultural and environmental history.” Ford is a Guggenheim fellow and has been featured on the PBS arts program Art:21.
Peale’s “Three Elk” is an example of his “…recalling the animals he saw as the official artist on Stephen Harriman Long’s government expedition to the West in 1819, years before artists such as Catlin and Bodmer ventured up the Missouri in the 1830s.” It is a paramount example of works by the earliest artists recording Western fauna in a planned reinstallation of the museum’s collection.
Heather James. I share sentiments that this gallery has so much going on that it’s almost frustrating to those of us keeping up with the arts in Jackson. The new gallery is really several smaller galleries rolled into one cool contemporary space. It serves Jackson’s art scene—and, during the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival in particular—in more than one way. The gallery presents contemporary art that appeals to naturalists. It introduces many genres to Jackson not previously accessible. It exhibits landscapes by great Western artists. It has on exhibition and display works by the luminaries and legends of art history.
Heather James has the feel of a museum, complete with multiple galleries that you can see in an hour. And you don’t have to stand in long lines to buy a ticket.
“There is no where else in the world where you can experience two national parks, Picasso and Monet all in one day,” offers gallery director Lyndsay McCandless.
One visit is all it takes to taste any and all of the above. But, most certainly, multiple visits are required in order to truly receive what Heather James has to offer. These gifts are simultaneous, parallel. Instantaneous.
Forest for the Trees, on exhibit through September 30, 2010, examines the natural world through a variety of contemporary lenses. Though contemporary art dealing with nature can be so detailed as to reveal microcosm, this group of works avoids over-detail in favor of broader interpretations and the meditative sensation we gain from viewing the natural world on relatively large scales. The show, says the gallery, “…addresses the concept of individuality…as each artist expresses (their feelings on) important topics… such as politics and the environment.”
Wildfires were common in southern California when I was a child. Houses constructed of concrete were amongst the few escaping devastation when fires swept through. For artist Naomi Safron-Hon, a “Forest” contributor, interest in cement as material sprang from “the cement wall that is being built in [her] home country in order to separate Israelis from Palestinians.
“Construction of identity interlaces with construction of landscape. Pushed against lace and domestic materials cement references the way in which political reality infiltrates personal life. War, conflict, and politics penetrate every aspects of daily life, similar to the way cement pushes through lace and kitchen appliances,” says the artist.
Timothy Tompkins’s high gloss enamel paints on aluminum look like topographic maps. It is surprising to realize the pigments are enamel; Tompkins’s works recall Google Earth at its coolest and most fluid; in actuality he photographs television screens as they transmit. “His intent with the series,” says the gallery, “is to explore the use of images as narrative and deconstruct the same narratives by removing them from their original context. The viewer is then free to bring their own associations depending upon their relationship to what is presented.”
Log onto www.heatherjames.com and, as you would when visiting a museum, plan on devoting ample time for perusing the gallery.
The Diehl Gallery currently features a new series of paintings by artist Dirk De Bruycker. His new collection is inspired by an emotional, no doubt traumatic, discovery by the Belgian native. Upon entering his Granada, Nicaragua studio De Bruycker came upon a dead Cocoa Mort Bleu butterfly. Lying on the studio floor, it was consumed by an army of ants.
Overcome, De Bruycker used the beauty and tragedy of the finding and channeled them into a series of paintings. Liquid crimson pools dissolve across his canvas, melting into “melted butter” yellows, chalky whites and other pale hues. A butterfly’s wing patterns overlay and link with these color pools, shaped like a butterfly’s wing. They are lovely.
De Bruycker now resides in Santa Fe, where color and natural scales must remain significant influences.