CREATIVE PEAKS: More Than A Feeling

By on September 15, 2015

New work captures a love for adventure at the WonderSpot

Caption: Works by Wendell Field (left) and Erin Ashlee Smith have been selected for the WonderSpot to commemorate Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s 50th anniversary.

Works by Wendell Field (left) and Erin Ashlee Smith have been selected for the WonderSpot to commemorate Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s 50th anniversary.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – When Wendell Field thinks back to his inceptive days in Jackson back in the early 1980s, he talks about his “misspent youth” and all the time he wasted on the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. But as every skier or snowboarder who has ever fallen in love with Jackson knows, a day on the mountain is never misspent. For Field, that time he spent intimately learning the runs, culture and feel of Teton Village, helped him create one of several images the resort selected to commemorate its 50th anniversary this winter.

His painting, along with one created by another local artist, Erin Ashlee Smith, will hang in banner form at the WonderSpot on Highway 89.

The two new banners replace a sculpture by Bland Hoke called “Sun Glitter” that hung in the spot this summer.

Hoke created the WonderSpot, located on Broadway near The Virginian, as a stage to temporarily showcase public art.

Field and Smith created their work after Jackson Hole Mountain Resort issued a call for artists to create pieces to commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ski hill. Field and Smith were two of the finalists and the WonderSpot will also feature the work of another selected artist, Mike Tierney, later in the winter.

The artists were asked to “communicate the legacy of adventure, which continues to challenge those who come to explore and experience all the mountain has to offer,” said Lyndsay McCandless, executive director of the Center of Wonder.

“The mountain is certainly a huge place of inspiration and moments of wonder for our community,” McCandless said in an email. “I know that two of my top three ‘wonder moments’ ever were skiing at the Village. I so clearly recall a run I took in 1996, chest-deep unending powder down the middle of the Hobacks. When I think of it, it makes me smile and I remember the feeling of awe that I had as I fully connected the mountain and flew down effortlessly. I am so excited that the WonderSpot will inspire many to think of all of the amazing moments that they have experienced in Teton Village.”

The artists’ work captures the feeling that McCandless remembers. Their work reflects their experiences and relationship with the resort. Smith’s art shows the mountain in both winter and summer, the work splitting in two from snow-covered slopes to grassy single-track for mountain biking. Field’s work shows all the village has to offer in winter, from the aerial tram snaking its way up the mountain to classic buildings like the clock tower at the base.

“Their love for all that [the mountain] has to offer clearly comes through in their creations,” McCandless said.

Field said he faced challenges creating his oil painting. The resort asked artists to create something representing the theme “Dare to Dream.” They wanted an image that appealed to everyone — from extreme skiers, to those who venture out with their kids, from long-term locals to visiting tourists.

The request seemed almost impossible, a single painting to portray everything the resort means to everyone, Field said.

So to create his painting he added some abstract qualities and a tweaked perspective.

“It’s definitely a representational piece, but I had to get a little distorted,” he said. “I tried to keep the classic stuff in the image. Of course, I had to have the tram, gondola, racecourse, the Hobacks, cowboy and moose. I had fun with it.”

It’s an image that represents all of the things Field loves about the resort, its past, but also the way it is now.

“Things are changing pretty fast there,” he said.

Field’s painting was a 20-by-36 inch oil that was designed to be enlargened for posters for the resort and for the banner that will hang at the WonderSpot and then eventually in Teton Village.

The public art is a collaboration between Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, JH Public Art and the Center of Wonder. The new banners go up Thursday, Sept. 24.

New works by Wendell Field and Erin Ashlee Smith are unveiled Sept. 24 at WonderSpot on Broadway near The Virginian. PJH

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