CREATIVE PEAKS: Fall Arts’ freshest

By on September 8, 2015

Art Association features fledgling brilliance

Artist Carrie Schwartz crafted collages using timeworn Encyclopedia Brittanicas for Jackson Rising, which illumes burgeoning local artists. The opening reception happens Friday at the Art Association.

Artist Carrie Schwartz crafted collages using timeworn Encyclopedia Brittanicas for Jackson Rising, which illumes burgeoning local artists. The opening reception happens Friday at the Art Association.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not familiar with the names of the artists showing in an exhibition at the Art Association during the Fall Arts Festival.

In its fourth year, the show, “Jackson Rising” is meant to showcase local emerging artists who haven’t had many opportunities to show their work in town, explained Thomas Macker, gallery director at the Art Association.

When the annual exhibition first started, there weren’t many opportunities for local artists to share their work during the Fall Arts Festival, Macker said. Breaking into the art scene was challenging. Coffee shops sometimes booked art shows years out. So the Art Association wanted to give local talent another opportunity to share their work, he said.

“This exhibition was trying to bring a voice or showcase local artists to a tourist population that might not know what Jackson art looks like,” Macker said.

The first year the show featured 15 artists nominated by Art Association staff. They invited artists newly returned to the valley from graduate school, or those who hadn’t shown in a few years.

“It was controlled but also a way of exploring and showing artists that may not be seen,” Macker said.

After that show, the artists nominated others who were making great art but still working under the radar for the next show. Each year those who participate nominate other artists they think meet the criteria for the following year.

It’s become an “organic index of emerging artists,” Macker said.

The “hive mentality” stretches into reaches of the community that Macker says as a curator, he might not reach. Each year he gets to meet artists whose work he hasn’t seen.

This year’s exhibition features nine artists — eight women and one man. (The number dwindled because some people nominate the same person.) Many of the works are paintings, but there’s also a wide range of variety.

The artists in the show are Eleanor Anderson, David Cleeland, Sage Craighead, Calee Dunlap, Robin Gleason, Rosanna Mitchell, Aude Nevius, Carrie Schwartz and Erin Smith.

Craighead made bridal-inspired dreamcatchers. They are ornate and angelic looking made of white lace and beads. They provide an interesting juxtaposition by mixing a traditional Western fashion aesthetic with a dreamcatcher known for its structure, colors and geometric design, Macker said.

Nevius uses clean layering of shapes in her paintings. Some are representational of a figure, or a cloud or a tree.

“They are really cool and you kind of get lost in them,” Macker said.

Gleason has been working in the print studio and uses stencils in her work to create an interesting depth, like a foreground with a lake, a tree in the middle ground and mountains in the background, Macker said. The shapes are simple, but intricately cut. When the cutouts are pinned on a wall there is a shadow effect that brings out different colors, he explained.

While the show doesn’t have a theme beyond new and emerging artists’ work, Macker tries to make sure the pieces complement each other and everything in the show is unique.

Since Jackson Rising’s inception, Macker’s watched as the show’s participants become more involved in the art scene, taking classes and even teaching at the Art Association. He’s also seen the valley’s art scene grow to support local artists and he’s seen some of the show’s first participants cement their names in the local art sphere. Meg Daly opened Daly Projects this year and many of the artists she represents have participated in Jackson Rising, such as Camille Davis and Scotty Craighead. “By their peers they were considered emerging artists that needed to be celebrated and needed to be seen,” Macker said. “And now they are represented by a local gallery and have that support and can be regularly seen.”

So while you might not know the names or work of this year’s Jackson Rising participants, if you love art, you should probably get familiar with their work.

Jackson Rising opens with a reception 5 to 8 p.m., Friday and hangs through Oct. 2 at the Jackson Hole Art Association. PJH

About Kelsey Dayton

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