CREATIVE PEAKS: Time and spaces

By on September 1, 2015

Local artists dream up new views of their environments

‘Norris Web,’ by Scotty Craighead (left), and ‘Ode to Walt Revisited’ by Pamela Gibson both hang as part of Daly Projects’ new show debuting Thursday.

‘Norris Web,’ by Scotty Craighead hangs as part of Daly Projects’ new show debuting Thursday.

Scotty Craighead, like so many Jackson residents, regularly walks his dog along the Snake River dike. But for Craighead, the walk provides more than just exercise for his dog Piper. It also inspires his work.

He notices the subtle changes that happen daily. His eyes are drawn to edges found in nature. He notes the snow melting away from rocks or grass pushing through. He takes pictures.

“I constantly see it change,” he said. “I catch these moments of time that don’t last long.”

Time is a theme in both Craighead’s pieces and painter Pamela Gibson’s latest works, which they show in an exhibit at Daly Projects called “Time Sensitive: Abstracted Landscapes.”

Craighead’s work is mixed media, like a photo collage, but something he thinks of as abstract painting with photos. For the show he created four large panels each 4-by-5 feet. These abstracts are created from images taken on the dike. While Craighead has some smaller works, he prefers working in a large format, which allows him to use photographs without having to shrink them. He is also able to create a much broader scene, immersing the viewer into the landscape. Along with the photos he uses an acrylic based product to paint and smooth out areas, or change the color or hue.

“I guess it’s a little like analog Photoshop,” he said.

He finishes the work with a coating that gives it the glossy appearance of a photograph.

“It looks like a walk on the dike,” said Meg Daly, owner of the gallery.

The size and format of Craighead’s work shows the subtleties of the terrain that many people take for granted and miss when out taking a walk.

Daly says she always wanted to show Gibson and Craighead’s work together. Both are abstract landscape artists working in unique formats. While the two artists represent different generations, they are both at the top of their games, she said.

The result of the side-by-side work is a cross-generational conversation across various landscapes, Daly said.

Gibson’s work also starts with photographs she takes. Her encaustic pieces are so abstract it’s hard to tell what specific place inspired the work. Her work is tactile and sensuous.

“It’s like she owns this medium of encaustic painting,” Daly said.

While creating her new body of work, Gibson thought a lot about time. She thought about time in various contexts, like the changing of the seasons, or the changing of light during the day.

“Time is always a thing in my work, but it’s a little more prevalent in this work,” she said.

Gibson starts with a photograph, often of places near Jackson, when the light hits in a way she finds intriguing or the colors draw her in. That serves as a guide for her work, but the result is abstracted to where it’s unrecognizable.

“I think of all my work as landscapes,” she said. “It’s abstracted landscape, but landscapes never the less.”

Encaustic work is very physical, which Gibson loves. She uses hot wax fused with a torch. Some paintings receive up to 40 coats of wax. She also sometimes paints a surface with shellac and then sets it on fire to create texture. The result is something that no other media could replicate.

The show, which opens with a reception on Thursday, hangs through Fall Arts Festival. It is the gallery’s first Fall Arts Festival and Daly wanted to present a show that reflected her vision and represented what her artist can do.

“This is going to be unusual for Fall Arts Festival,” she said. “I want people to walk in and say, ‘What is this? What is this art in Jackson Hole? This is all local art?’” PJH

“Time Sensitive: Abstracted Landscapes,” an art exhibition featuring new work by Scotty Craighead and Pamela Gibson, opening reception 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday. Show hangs through September at Daly Projects, 125 East Pearl Avenue.

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