CULTURE KLASH: Mind Calisthenics

By on October 18, 2016

Stimulating art and literature events this week.

Cozy up with local literary luminaries on Thursday. Then explore your relationship to nature Friday at the opening of ‘Nature’s Nature.’ 

Cozy up with local literary luminaries on Thursday. Then explore your relationship to nature Friday at the opening of ‘Nature’s Nature.’

JACKSON HOLE, WY – It is beginning to be that cozy, crackling fire time of year when homey interests become the focus. What better treat than listening to a story on such evenings? On Thursday, gather at Elevated Grounds for warm beverages and settle in for readings from creative writing fellowship award winners.

The Wyoming Arts Council awarded three Jackson residents its annual accolades. The statewide competition honors scribes based on a writer’s body of work, reflecting “serious and exceptional writing,” according to the WAC website.

Stephen S. Lottridge won the creative nonfiction award. Lottridge is a former professor of Slavic languages and literatures and a retired clinical psychologist. Jackson audiences will recognize Lottridge from his frequent appearances in local theatrical productions. You also may have seen him tooling around town on his bicycle, commuting to one of the book groups he leads.

Connie Wieneke won the award in poetry. Her work has been widely published in literary journals, and she is a previous recipient of a WAC fellowship in creative nonfiction. Her latest project is a collection of poems about her family in both the social context and the landscape of the West. When she is not writing or crunching numbers as a bookkeeper, Wieneke can be found hiking, biking, teaching yoga, or tending her chickens.

Michael Sudmeier took the award in fiction. His claims to fame include biking across the country more than once, guiding outdoor education backpacking trips, and teaching high school English to students on a Zuni reservation. He is working on his first novel.

The Writer’s Fellowship Reading, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 20 at Elevated Grounds. elevatedgroundscoffeehouse.com

Art of the wild

After a bucolic night of stories, a Friday evening art opening delves into the tension between raw wilderness and civilization. “Nature’s Nature: The Artwork of David Reif” features work by the Laramie-based Reif, whose abstract sculpture outside the Albany County Courthouse was nominated for a Wyoming State Historical Society fine arts award. He is a professor emeritus of art at the University of Wyoming and a former chair of the Wyoming Arts Council.

Reif’s show at the Art Association references his lifelong interest in the liminal zones between nature and the built environment. He grew up in southern Ohio on the densely wooded outskirts of west Cincinnati. He says that from a young age, he imagined himself to be “in the midst of a slow, epic conflict” between the raw wilderness of North America and the encroaching development of industrialized civilization.”

The show consists of selected pieces from various bodies of work he has created over the years, all exploring the theme: what is the nature of nature?

“My work argues for the idea that nature is much more than mountains, sky, trees, grass and natural forms,” Reif explained. “Nature is also an internal, spiritual and psychological thing. There is a landscape out there that we look out at with the retina of our eye, but there is an inner universe too.”

Reif said his work challenges the boundaries between what is natural and unnatural. Unafraid to take a stand, he says it is imperative that humans start seeing themselves as part of nature, rather than being separate from it.

“We need to think instead of ourselves as part of one fabric,” he said.

“Nature’s Nature: The Artwork of David Reif” opening reception 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 21 at the Art Association gallery. artassociation.org

Call for artists

One of Jackson’s most coveted call for artists is out. The Center for the Arts is seeking proposals from individual artists or small artist teams for the Center’s Theater Gallery. Essentially a wide hallway, this gallery is well traveled by the well heeled and the barely sneakered, offering artists a unique opportunity to reach a wide array of viewers.

Past shows in the Center’s program include Kathryn Mapes Turner, Pamela Gibson, Wendell Field and Mike Piggott, Steven Glass, Camille Davis, Alissa Davies, Susan Thulin, June Glasson, Suzanne Storer, Bailey Russel, and many more local and regional artists.

Call is open from October 17 to November 22. All artists that reside in the Intermountain West are eligible to apply. This is a juried show, which makes it particularly prestigious. The jury will remain anonymous until announcement of 2017 Theater Gallery artists.

For more information check jhcenterforthearts.org, or apply through callforentry.org. PJH

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About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

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