CREATIVE PEAKS: Satiating Artistic Appetites

By on September 6, 2017

Rendering of “The Fishbowl” by Bland Hoke

Don’t miss two visual explorations, one larger-than-life, the other a nod to smaller things.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Staff at the Center for the Arts lovingly call the glass enclosed courtyard “the fishbowl.” When you are in the courtyard everyone can see you—and you can see everyone—from every direction.

Artist Bland Hoke embraced the atmosphere for his latest art installation called “The Fishbowl.” He’s designed and built a massive gold fish that will live in the courtyard for several months.

“He’s really going for it and embracing this humorous take on the space,” said Carrie Richer, creative initiatives’ coordinator with the Center.

The artist wanted to create a realistic looking, although massive, fish and was deliberate in his patterns and color choices, Richer said. “It’s no joke,” she said of the size.

It’s so massive the fin pops over the courtyard walls, visible from the nearby park. Hoke created patterns to sew the gigantic fish; its body is 20 feet long with a tail 10 feet long. He experimented with numerous fabrics before deciding on a material similar to that of a camping tent that can withstand the elements.

Transforming the courtyard into a fish tank of sorts, Hoke designed a filter similar to ones in aquariums, except instead of keeping the fish alive, this filter will keep the massive fish inflated.

“It really conveys a sense of wonder,” Richer said.

The installation will change through the winter. It might eventually include a pirate chest, or habitat details like seaweed, Richer said. There also will be events, like an artist talk, centered around the exhibit, although nothing has been scheduled yet.

“The Fishbowl” officially opens with a reception during the Fall Arts Festival’s Palates & Palettes, Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The Center has partnered with Streetfood and will celebrate Hoke’s installation as well as an exhibition by Bronwyn Minton that closes Sept. 11.

Through Bronwyn Minton’s Eyes

“In a way she really turned the gallery inside out,” Richer said, talking about artist Bronwyn Minton’s exhibit that was created specifically for the Center Theater Gallery where it hangs.

Growing up, Minton’s father taught marine biology and often let her look through microscopes at plankton and cells. She eventually went on to study photography, which had a strikingly similar feel. What Minton loves about both cameras and microscopes is the way a lens can change what people see, she said. Minton said she wanted to make people pause, changing how viewers move through the corridor, making them slowdown and notice what is around them. The artist experiments with ideas, methods and medias to settle upon her final pieces, which are often multi-dimensional, both in space and concept.

One of Minton’s large installations in the exhibit runs the length of the ramped hallway and features 100 long upholstery needles with cashmere and alpaca yarn, as well as circles she created from rice paper and dipped in encaustic wax to give the shapes a translucent look. Minton used patterns to sew in the circles that appear random, but that were designed to allow the shadows to invite attention. The piece moves a little as the circles rotate. Across from the piece she installed benches for people to sit and contemplate the patterns and watch the movement.

“It’s a collection of microscopic pieces that come together into a larger-scale piece,” Richer said.

Since the beginning of August, when the exhibit opened, people have found quiet refuge from the madness of summer in the gallery, sitting and taking in the work, Richer said. It’s calm and meditative–fascinating viewers.

The large works are an extension of Minton’s interest in patterns and the natural world. Projecting an almost three-dimensional feel, Minton created new works on panels featuring geometric shapes and patterns that are technically two-dimensional.

“It’s basically my palette,” Minton said, “It’s my box of tools on display.”

The patterns Minton loves in her work, are also part of her process. People are circular in perusing what they love and what interests them, Minton said.

“My creative process is an investigation of similar things and things I’m interested in, so I feel like it’s very circular,” she said. “But I’m always trying to investigate them in new ways, so the show is all new for me, but it’s also exploring some of the same things I think about.”

The two shows, along with an exhibit at the Art Association of Jackson Hole, make the Center the perfect place to begin and end Palates & Palettes, Richer said. PJH

The Center is also hosting an after-party from 7 to 9 p.m. It is free for Encore members or $25 for non-members and will feature music by the Lawrence Bennett Trio and hors d’oeuvres from Streetfood.

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