CULTURE KLASH: Dreams and Dark Matter
New works at Tayloe Piggott and Asymbol will usher viewers to the edge.
JACKSON HOLE, WY – Perhaps the best way to approach a collage by Lance Letscher is to imagine looking into a kaleidoscopic scene from a dream. Witness shards of memories, bursts of symbolism, and an intricate logic inherent to the dreamspace itself. Using imagery and lettering from his massive collection of vintage magazines, catalogs, schoolbooks, and various printed materials mostly from the mid-20th century, Letscher creates color-rich compositions rising from his unconscious mind and appealing to the viewer’s own narrative.
“Untroubled Mind,” a new exhibition by the Austin-based artist, premieres on Saturday at Tayloe Piggott Gallery. The show features 22 collage works of found paper and metal. Though rich with details from past decades, the work feels vibrantly contemporary.
“I’m interested in typography, color, space, line and texture, and creating optical illusions,” Letscher told PJH. “If a piece reminds a viewer of their childhood then maybe that is a strength, but it’s not my main goal.”
Instead, the artist wants to get out of his own way and let his unconscious mind do the work of making the art. “My conscious mind creates an obstacle and a plateau,” he said. “With my conscious mind I tend to solve problems the same way every time.” His creative process leads him to access a part of his mind he says is much more powerful. “You have a dream life populated with people you don’t know. There’s a history in your dream life you didn’t create, there are infinite details and odd uncanny elements that you wouldn’t have in waking life. In order to be a stronger artist, it’s my practice to remove as many obstacles to that part of my mind.”
For two decades, Letscher worked exclusively with paper, gaining international recognition. In recent years he started also making collages from metal. In one of the works on exhibit at Tayloe Piggott Gallery, the 52 inch by 40 inch “Hand,” Letscher contracted with a vendor in India to find the blue cobalt strips of metal that he needed. “I wanted it to have a certain feel, like a palmistry hand,” he said. “Or maybe a hand that you might see on an Indian religious deity.”
To affix the strips of tin and other metals onto the backing board, Letscher uses a staple gun. Actually, five staple guns, of varying sizes. He also has several pairs of scissors designed for cutting metal, shorter for cutting curves, longer for cutting straight lines.
He said “Hand” was an unusual piece in that he actually had a clear idea of the image he wanted to create, and sketched it out prior to assembling the collage. Normally Letscher doesn’t plan his pieces, instead letting the materials, and his intuition, guide the process. “I try to not to overthink or analyze. If I make a mistake and the mistake makes the piece stronger, I let it.”
The February 18 opening reception also includes a screening of scenes from a new documentary about Letscher by Oscar-nominated film editor-turned-director Sandra Adair. She has edited 18 of Rick Linklater’s films, including the cult classic, Dazed and Confused, and the more recent, Boyhood. The Secret Life of Lance Letscher was Adair’s brainchild.
Scenes from The Secret Life of Lance Letscher, 8 p.m. Saturday, February 18 at Pink Garter Theatre. Artist reception 9 p.m. at Tayloe Piggott Gallery.
Get hip to the 3As: Artlab, Asymbol and an Art Walk
Dress dapper Thursday night and celebrate a post-snowpocalypse event during the monthly Gallery Association Art Walk, when local galleries stay open late.
There are two hot art parties happening Thursday that you won’t want to miss in your wanderings. First, stop by Teton Artlab’s “Wallpaper” art show and fundraiser, where you can buy work Artlab residents, both guests and locals. The proceeds help fund the Artist in Residence program, which hosts artists from around the country and the world for one-month residencies. Featured work by Ben Blanton, Scotty Craighead, Alissa Davies, Walt Gerald, Wendell Field, Katy Ann Fox, Mike Piggott, Abby Paffrath, Ben Roth, Lisa Walker, and Travis Walker. Wallpaper, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, February 16 at Teton Artlab.
Next, head over to Asymbol for the opening reception of “Human Nature III,” a group show by the HMNNTR artist collective that runs through February 22.
Founded by Schoph—an artist Asymbol’s Josi Stephens described as “uncompromising and savage in his execution, using art to show how seamlessly beauty and dark matter can combine in the right hands”—and designer Kyle Maynerd, HMNNTR prides itself on being “for the artists by the artists.”
Previous exhibitions have taken place in London and Seattle, elucidating the broad reaches of board sports culture.
The Asymbol exhibition features work by notable artists in the field, including shred icon Jamie Lynn, Schoph, Maynerd, Iuna Tinta, Desiree Melancon, Peter-John-De Villiers, Corey Smith, and hometown snowboard legend Bryan Iguchi. Live music happens care of Fader, Magavin, and The Risky Livers.
Human Nature III, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, February 16 at Asymbol. PJH