CREATIVE PEAKS: Whole Fragments

By on August 2, 2016

Artist installs work that examines the small pieces that comprise larger ideas.

Artist Claudia Bueno hard at work Monday installing Fractalife at the Center for the Arts courtyard.  The Venezuelan artist’s show contains a light component that will illuminate the installation during its Friday evening premiere. (Photo: Robyn Vincent)

Artist Claudia Bueno hard at work Monday installing Fractalife at the Center for the Arts courtyard.  The Venezuelan artist’s show contains a light component that will illuminate the installation during its Friday evening premiere. (Photo: Robyn Vincent)

JACKOSN HOLE, WY – Two shows opening this week explore the notion of scale, both micro and macro, in wildly different ways.

Center for the Arts hosts an opening for Claudia Bueno who has been hard at work for weeks installing “Fractalife” in the courtyard at the Center. The exhibition opens Friday and runs until January.

Bueno is a previous visiting artist at Teton Artlab. A light and shadow artist, she is from Venezuela and currently lives in Joshua Tree, California. She was invited to create an installation for the rectangular courtyard space on the Glenwood side of the Center that currently serves as a breezeway and a home for a truckload of stones. Various artists have enlivened the space with art over the years. Fractalife promises to be the most encompassing installation yet, filling the space top to bottom, night and day.

Simply defined, fractals are geometric shapes that have the same pattern as a larger whole. (Think ice crystals, pinecone seeds, romanesco broccoli.) Bueno, who has a mind both for the spiritual and the mathematical, decided a project based in fractals would be an interesting way to inhabit the courtyard space. By manipulating white-painted chicken wire, Bueno has created a hanging structure that looks like an ethereal seaweed forest. Or is it a bundle of nerves? A distillation of air bubbles? The map of your DNA?

“The fractal idea is an ode to life in all its scale,” she said. “If you look at this network at first glance, it looks like a web. When you look closer you see zones that have different colonies of shapes that create patterns. As a whole, Fractalife is one whole living organism or cosmic web. When we zoom in, we see the same kind of inclusive web.”

The August 5 opening of Fractalife starts at 8 p.m. so that viewers can experience the totality of Bueno’s vision. As daylight fades, a light system Bueno designed will begin to pulse in a heartbeat sequence, starting at the center of the piece and radiating out along its tendrils.

“The light is essential,” Bueno explained. “The light gives it a more enhanced sense of living.”

The light component of the installation will continue all evenings throughout Fractalife’s five-month stay at the Center. Special to Friday night’s opening is a performance by dancer Cady Cox, with music by her husband Kyle Fleming. Cox will dance on top of a tall white box that she says will function like a root.

“I don’t think I’ll really move my feet at all,” Cox said.

Her improvisational movement will express the concept of what comes up and out of something. She says she has been thinking about molecular details like cells and DNA in preparation.

“It’s about the insides of us, and feeling that,” she said. “I’ll try to feel the movement inside myself—blood, air, cells—and see how I can exaggerate those movements with my body.”

Fleming says his music will also be improvisational, inspired by the theme of fractals. “Being an electronic looper, it gives me a lot of room to make things evolve and repeat. I’ll start with one thing and keep that underlying pattern evident while I take it to something bigger.”

Fleming and Cox have created dance and music based on visual art before, and they say the exchange is like having a conversation with another artist across disciplines. “It’s like Claudia spoke first, then we are going to come with our response,” Fleming said. PJH

Fractalife by Claudia Bueno opening, 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, August 5 at Center for the Arts. Performance by Cady Cox and Kyle Fleming. 


A new show celebrates the challenges of creating works for small spaces.

Pamela Gibson veered from her normal large scale encaustics to create tiny abstract landscapes like this painting. (Photo: Pamela Gibson)

Pamela Gibson veered from her normal large scale encaustics to create tiny abstract landscapes like this painting. (Photo: Pamela Gibson)

For three Wednesdays in August, the Tiny Art Show will take up residence in Jackson Hole Public Art’s Mobile Design Studio at the People’s Market. Inside, the walls will host 10 artists’ interpretations of tiny art.

Curated by Alissa Davies and this column’s author, the Tiny Art Show was envisioned as a fun way to activate the space of the Mobile Studio. Jackson Hole Public Art director Carrie Geraci invited Davies and yours truly to curate a show as a way of exploring possibilities for the studio

“Our approach was playful,” Davies said. “I think the idea of walking into an unusual space inspires curiosity.”

The Mobile Design Studio is essentially a simple trailer that has been outfitted to allow for hanging art and for community engagement. The small dimensions seemed to call for small art. “Being asked to create for small space lends itself to thinking differently that can be exciting and challenging,” Davies said.

Artist Jenny Dowd will present a tiny flower stand, complete with tiny ceramic flowers and vases for sale. “I like working on a tiny scale because tiny is actually really big,” Dowd said. “Big art makes people move around and interact with the space. Similarly, small art can cause people to lean in close, slow their breathing and movements.”

Designer Lisa Walker created several small wall hangings from fabric scraps. The miniature banners or flags are like miniature coats of arms for the design savvy. For Walker, working at a small scale allowed her to create a prototype for a bigger idea.

“My challenge was working to make something that would be just decorative versus something that was functional,” she said. “These wall hangings are something I’ve wanted to do and trying them out at a smaller size was the perfect way to prototype my idea.”

Encaustic painter Pamela Gibson created numerous four- by four-inch paintings, a departure from the four- or five-foot boards she normally works on. “The thought that kept running through my head is that each of these paintings was its own tiny universe,” Gibson said. “Everything essential was there, but there was no room for anything that was not essential.”

In all, 10 local artists are featured in the Tiny Art Show. In addition to Dowd, Walker and Gibson, the show includes Walt Gerald, Andy Kincaid, Bronwyn Minton, Virginia Moore,  Aude-Noelle Nevius, and Ben Roth. The artists represent a diverse blend of style, media, and background. PJH

The Tiny Art Show in the Jackson Hole Public Art Mobile Studio at the People’s Market, 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, August 3, 10, and 17. 


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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