Of Note: Trailside Galleries’ “Coastal Connections” Exhibition Artists

Around this time of year, after days of drifting snow and socked-in clouds, it can be tempting to dream of salt spray and sunnier climes. The ocean, in all its primordial beauty, beckons us towards spring break plans and summer escapes–just as it does for painters intent on capturing its mercurial views. Opening this week, the local Trailside Gallery‘s sister gallery in Scottsdale, AZ debuts a “Coastal Connections” show featuring artists represented there and locally.

Our highlights: work by exciting new visionaries like Robert Duncan, who is changing the model of the western art business model; Kathleen Dunphy, newly-represented at the gallery; and Matt Smith, who frequently paints in Jackson Hole. The show is already generating a lot of buzz and beach envy. Take note of these artists,and be sure to pop in to Trailside at 130 E. Broadway to check out its current roster of artistic treasures.

All you need to know below:

Matt Smith,

Trailside Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ is pleased to present a new exhibition of works with a special focus on seascapes, coastal scenes, and harbor views from around the country. “Coastal Connections” brings together some of the finest plein air painters in the country who have spent the last few months gathering material from the east coast to the west coast for this marine inspired show. Participating artists include Bruce Cheever, Robert Duncan, Kathleen Dunphy, Michael Godfrey, Rusty Jones, Calvin Liang, Rob MacIntosh, Mian Situ, Matt Smith, George Strickland, Curt Walters, and Xiaogang Zhu.

The ocean has always held special allure for artists, whether capturing the surf breaking over a rocky coastline, a schooner slicing through waves, or a brilliant sunset as it dips below the ocean. Matt Smith notes, “I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last year painting the California coast line. The continuously moving and diverse surf combined with the changing light and weather make for a very appealing subject.”

Each artist will have approximately four to six new works and the show will include a selection of plein air works done on location as well as a number of finished studio paintings. The show will run from February 2 through February 15. The gallery will feature an Open House in February scheduled during the Thursday night artwalk from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Please contact Kimberly Fletcher for information.

Since 1963, Trailside Galleries of Jackson, Wyoming and Scottsdale, Arizona has been regarded as one of the pre-eminent dealers in American representational art, specializing in a rich and varied collection of works by the leading western, wildlife, figurative, impressionist, and landscape artists in the country. The artist roster includes members of the Cowboy Artists of America, National Academy of Design, Oil Painters of America, Plein-Air Painters of America, Prix De West, Society of Animal Artists, National Sculpture Society and Masters of the American West.

The gallery is also home to the offices and showrooms of its auction department, the Jackson Hole Art Auction. Since 2007, the Jackson Hole Art Auction has been recognized as one of the premier art events in the country, defined by the high standard of works offered in a variety of genres including wildlife, sporting, figurative, landscape and Western art by both renowned past masters and contemporary artists.
Please contact Kimberly C. Fletcher, Marketing & Communications Director at 480.945.7751 or email media@trailsidegalleries.com for further information and images.

Mark Your July Calendars for “My Thin Place”

In our One Work blog post last autumn, we had the pleasure of speaking to Kathryn Mapes Turner regarding two of her large-scale paintings. We are now excited to spread the word about her upcoming show, “My Thin Place,” coming to Jackson this July. Kathryn very eloquently shares the impetus behind the show, and the concept of a “thin place” below. Read, enjoy, and be sure to catch the exhibition!

painting by Kathryn Mapes Turner

“Emergence of Fall”

A Thin Place
The title of this exhibition is derived from a Celtic term referring to a place where the boundary between the material world and the spiritual world is particularly thin. For Turner, the Greater Yellowstone Wilderness is a “thin place.”

Kathryn Turner had the good fortune of being born into a fourth generation ranching family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This ranch, located within what is now Grand Teton National Park, enjoys one of the most direct views of the Teton mountain range. Turner says, “Each day, for as long as I remember, I was greeted by those mountains. They are, in a very real way, a part of me. Early on, I felt the urge to find a way to express my passion for this ecosystem, and imagery became my lexicon for this song of appreciation. Ever since, I have devoted my craft to doing justice to the beauty of this landscape.

In belonging to a landscape in this way, I feel a rightness, an at-homeness where I am knitted to the world. This rootedness allows me to be present to what is- a practice the Buddhists refer to as mindfulness, and the contemplative Christians call recollection, and the Quakers call centering down. For me this experience is lived tactically where my nerve endings are bare against the land. As I take in the magnificence and scale of this landscape, I am moved beyond myself. I refer to the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem as my ‘thin place.’

This collection of paintings is about this relationship with the landscape. Rather than photo-realistic depictions, they are interpretations and impressions of what I experience when I am in the natural world. It is my hope that, for the viewer, the paintings are themselves a quiet meeting place between internal emotion and external stimuli, a meeting place of the material and non-material.”

Turner’s work has been recognized nationally by many top awards including “Best of Show” at the American Impressionist Society and the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Association. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Wyoming State Museum and the Charlie Russell Museum. SouthWest Art recognized Turner as “21 Young Artists with Promising Careers.”

Show Details:

“My Thin Place”
An Artist Exhibits Paintings Inspired by the Spirit of the Landscape
Trio Fine Art hosts an unprecedented exhibition of paintings by Kathryn Mapes Turner.

• July 9-26th, 2014
• Artist Reception July 17th 5-8 p.m., FREE and open to the public.
• Gallery hours Wednesday-Saturday noon-6 p.m.
• Exhibition can be viewed online at Trio Fine Art after July 5th, 2014

One Work

In this new series on the Homestead blog, we sit back and let Jackson Hole’s creative professionals become the storytellers. Each One Work blog entry is focused on the genesis, production, and meaning behind one significant local piece. During our conversations with artists, designers, and other creatives, we invite you to learn more about craftsmanship and the artistic process. Discover what it takes to make One Work.

Impact

Impact

Walk into the Trio Fine Art gallery and there they are: two towering, silvery canvases dominating an entire slender wall. The paired aspens paintings, Cathedral 1 & Cathedral 2, stop one right in one’s tracks.

“Are they meant to be a pair?”

Apparently, Kathryn Mapes Turner gets this question a lot. We’re in the gallery she co-owns with Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuk, and as she relays the story of how these two stunning works moved from concept to finished paintings, we sip tea and stare upwards, focused in on the flecks of ghostly paint.

Each painting has been composed on the monumental scale of 4×8 feet, and although, in fact, they do not have to be sold as a diptych, their effect together certainly adds to the drama of the wall.

Turner mainly paints plein air canvases and field studies, which necessarily call for a smaller space capable of recording the transitory impressions of nature. She notes that working from her studio allows for more interpretation and the ability to change the scale—in this case, to a soaring eight feet.

Kathryn Turner stands to the left, explaining her process.

Kathryn Turner stands to the left, explaining her process.

In a fashion, Cathedrals 1 & 2 follow a progression of working styles for Turner, who is a life-long painter and local—she grew up on the Triangle X Ranch, one of the oldest continuously operating ranches in Jackson Hole. She herself began with watercolors, which she says “taught [her] the aspect of spontaneity.” In the delicate interplay between water and the tincture of pigment, skill and happy accident find the ideal marriage.

“It’s almost a dance you have with the paint.”

As Turner transitioned to working in oil paints and the larger window of work time they allowed, a premium paper company called Arches began producing a new paper on a large scale. Struck by the notion of combining two separate yet equally rewarding painting approaches, Turner’s thoughts turned to a large canvas, the largest she’d ever painted. She decided to approach this oil painting more like a watercolor, and yet still painting in oil, she’d have more time to experiment. Oil is also the longer-wearing medium, allowing the dual canvases to take shape through a combination of ephemeral brushstrokes and more lasting swirls.

Details

Looking closely at the canvas, one immediately notices its uniquely textured backdrop and almost charcoal metallic hue. This texture came about from embracing just a little bit of chaos. First, Turner mixed up big buckets of paint with heavy doses of water. At this point, she allowed the paint to drip down the entire length of both canvases. As the force of gravity pulled the paint downwards, the pigments of the paint separated and reacted with the watery solvent. “The fun happens when you let the paint do its thing,” Turner says. It’s a sense of adventure and “wait and see” that she brought to the entire project.

What led to the unique titles of Cathedrals 1 & 2? “When I’m in an aspen grove, I feel like I’m in a cathedral. I was driven to do something that would have that same feeling.” The subject also dictated the height of the dual pieces. Aspens are Turner’s favorite trees, and their vertical elegance was a feeling she wanted to duplicate in the impact of her paintings. “I wanted to make them more tree-like.”

The constellations and disturbance of the paint splotches one can observe when up- close-and-personal with the canvases also came about from allowing the paint to drip. While she painted the Cathedrals, Turner had both canvases laid out flat on the floor. A little dripping was inevitable, and quite beautiful.

Up Close

“Process is what teaches us what we need to know,” Turner says.

In terms of process, the framing of Cathedrals 1 & 2 proved the trickiest and most demanding aspect of the creation. The stark black float frames are sold with the pieces, and are designed so that the edges do not obscure any part of the actual painting. These visibly rough and torn edges add even more delightful texture and visual interest to the two ethereal paintings. Attaching the long, thin canvases to the backboard meant dabbling in permanent glue, so there was quite literally only one chance to get the alignment right. With a team of friends and a lot of research, Turner attempted—and succeeded—in the difficult framing.

Edges

Edges

It was all worth it, too, as the lack of glass dispels any separation between the paintings and the viewer. As Turner knows, these are the sort of works that beg to be scrutinized; often viewers even put out a tentative hand to touch them, catching themselves and stopping before going any further.

She’s glad of the varying reactions and inquiries she’s received regarding the paintings so far, explaining that, “when art inspires different reactions it makes it more compelling.”

As for Turner, she knows these two singular paintings are something that can’t be replicated—not by look or feel or the many serendipitous experiments that led to their completion. For everyone who sees them, whether once or repeatedly, they are pieces with their own place in time, history, and experience. Landscape painters know well the ineffable and mutable subject that endlessly fascinates them.

“I could never do this again,” Turner laughs. “That’s what art is.”

Visit Cathedrals 1 & 2 yourself during the upcoming View 22 event hosted by Trio Fine Art on Dec. 6 from 5-8pm. You can also contact Kathryn Mapes Turner at kathryn@turnerfineart.com and view samples of her other work at Turner Fine Art.

Modern Living the Dynia Way

A Canvas for LivingDuring Homestead Magazine’s Showcase of Homes, many patrons had the same response to one of the residences—a modernist masterwork located on Gros Ventre Butte. As they sauntered through the wide, airy rooms with chestnut-hued cement floors and black steel accents, they blurted out, “I could live in this house!”

But why had the sentiment taken them by surprise?

We sat down for a chat with Stephen Dynia of Stephen Dynia Architects to discuss his history of pushing the design envelope in Jackson Hole, and how the “surprise” of modern architecture may actually exist in its perfect harmony with our landscape.

Stephen Dynia’s work is well-known throughout Jackson Hole. Chances are, if you’ve encountered a spare, clean construction with light truss work and sparkling glass, you’ve come across a home or commercial space with the Dynia stamp. Notably, the firm designed the local Center for the Arts building, which opened in 2004, as well as multiple other buildings in the valley. Dynia himself surveys the town from what he affectionately dubs his “plateau”: an unexpected mixed-use development reached by veering up the bluff right after the 89/22 Junction. There, Stephen Dynia Architects works from an open, multi-level structure, and a series of metal-sided work/live spaces next door beckon with glass entries and bright doors.

Innovative AnglesIt’s true that modern architectural work such as this plateau and the showcased Gros Ventre residence often stand out in a sea of traditionally “western” homes, including the nouveau lodge aesthetic favored by homeowners who build to impress. However, Dynia’s take is that much of this architecture is “based on a romance with something that doesn’t quite exist in this time.” He points out that the original log buildings of this valley were built within the constraints of the materials available, and were intended to keep the environment out, rather than let it in. If current Jackson Hole home ownership is all about views, then homesteader values were about warmth, protection, and barricades from snowdrifts and curious wildlife.

Dynia considers newer homes built in the log tradition to be theatrical—theirs is a style that swerves away from the path of history and the actual materials of modern building. In his own design work, he “tries to transcend something that is merely stylistic” to find a more contemporaneous mode of expression.

“My mission is that architecture should be relevant to the era that it’s built in.”

A Site to BeholdDynia strives to make history with his designs, rather than invoke nostalgia for a vanished place and time. To this end, his firm is rigorous about relating every structure to its place, and thereby interpreting the place via architectural elements.

Dynia’s is a design philosophy hewn among the soaring glass and steel structures of New York City, where he got his start at a large firm that specialized in a corporate Modernist aesthetic. These are buildings that, in the truest interpretation of Modernism, are “consistent with [their] method of construction.” Once transplanted to Jackson Hole, Dynia sought out the trace of a Mies van der Rohe-designed home at the Snake River Ranch, a mostly-scrapped project that nevertheless represented the first U.S. design by the modern architecture giant during the 1930’s. In this Dynia saw encouragement–Jackson Hole had already begun incubating the cosmopolitan leanings that could lead to an embrace of modern style.Detail

In conversation, Dynia references other notable architects who have added immeasurably to the recognizable architecture of the valley. Mentioning the Teton County Library and Mad River’s flagship headquarters south of Jackson, he is the first to acknowledge that the wave of modern building is multifarious. Rather than limit building concepts to “abide by look rather than experience,” the unique qualities of our valley require “the freedom of a more expressive building form.”

For Dynia’s firm–particularly in regards to local residences–this experience begins in the sequence of how one enters a home. He likes adding drama to this approach by at first denying expansive views, only to re-introduce them. This sudden reveal draws a gasp and a significant pause. In moments like these, we are truly inside a space—participating in its interaction with a setting. Hallways and stairwells opening to glimpses of sweeping Gros Ventre views surely contributed to the same alchemy during Homestead’s Showcase.

In these award-winning 28x28x28 cubes in downtown Jackson, three levels of living culminate in 360 degree views from the uppermost roof deck. Eschewing the urge to build outwards, these cubes interpret “ how you can live in a place differently” and “literally heighten the experience of landscape” as you climb up to see the whole valley laid below you.

In these award-winning 28x28x28 cubes in downtown Jackson, three levels of living culminate in 360 degree views from the uppermost roof deck. Eschewing the urge to build outwards, these cubes interpret“ how you can live in a place differently” and “literally heighten the experience of landscape” as you climb up to see the whole valley laid below you.

Dynia speculates that our occasional resistance to the stripped down and simplified lines of modern building wells from discomfort. “Psychologically, people are afraid of simplicity.” At the same time, the more restrained the space in its embellishments, the more soothing and reflective it becomes. The clean, uncluttered architectural canvas asks to be completed by the personality of its residents, while more “fluid and sculptural” lines imbue the home with a sense of serenity.

“My work always incorporates somes kind of innovation and inspiration from nature,” Dynia says. He plays with elements like light to mimic the act of walking in the woods, and is always seeking new ways to pay homage to the texture of a landscape.

Dynia Architects currently splits its efforts between Jackson Hole and a number of exciting projects in Denver. Recently, a former truck terminal-turned-urban-office-hotspot known as Drive earned the firm a prestigious AIA Award. These new projects indulge Dynia’s long-held passion for contributing to the culture of community, just as in his home designs, he favors open, centralized spaces that corral loved ones together to bolster the attendant “culture of a family.” In the firm’s sustainable new projects, the existing infrastructure (truck terminals and iron foundries) are recycled into energetic community spaces that are meant to bridge our contemporary mode of detachment living—i.e. live in one zone, work and play in another. To this end, Drive, and the under-construction Drive 2 all contain a shared conference room or lounge, with garage-style doors on every floor that dispel separation from the outdoors with a simple lift upwards.Roof Garden 022

This vision is the same one Dynia has for Jackson, which has been his design laboratory for decades. “Do you want a town that simply preserves itself?” Dynia asks. Of course, his answer is a resounding “No.” Rather, he is encouraged by the current balance being struck in downtown Jackson between conservation and human habitation. In his opinion, the “town is getting healthier” as it continues to embrace mixed use zoning and greater urban-style density. This is the modus operandi behind his own work-live zone on the “plateau.”

So, back to the reactions of those Showcase attendees. Surprise, Dynia thinks, is a hallmark of what his firm is doing here. Viewers will always react to light and the experience of a space, and Dynia’s architecture is intended to capitalize on just that. The austere lines of a modern home may intimidate from the curb, but once inside, an unexpected warmth and peace take hold. In sum, “leadership in design is about leading.” It is about creating bold, benchmark projects and presenting new modes of lived experience, whether in the great room of a home or in the lobby of the Center for the Arts, a glass-framed Snow King beyond.

That surprise is, in fact, “the story of my time here. That’s the payoff.”