Show Preview | Five Solo Shows

Jackson, WY
Altamira Fine Art, September 1-15

R. Tom Gilleon, Winter is a Birch III, oil, 40 x 48.

R. Tom Gilleon, Winter is a Birch III, oil, 40 x 48.

This story was featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

This promises to be a big month in Jackson. The town was incorporated 100 years ago, and the weekend leading up to the September 21 anniversary features a range of civic centennial celebrations. And of course, September 3-14 brings the 30th annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, drawing collectors from around the world [see page 24].

So it makes sense that Altamira Fine Art, a leading Jackson gallery, would pull out all the stops, presenting five simultaneous solo shows by some of the West’s leading contemporary artists: painters Howard Post, Ed Mell, R. Tom 
Gilleon, and Glenn Dean and sculptor Greg Woodard. All are present for a reception on Wednesday evening, September 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The shows, totaling upward of 44 works, “are a new and thrilling landmark that raise the bar” during the festival, says gallery and exhibition director Dean Munn. Altamira offers every one of the artists his own discrete space and, during the days following, provides each of them with a designated time for a public demonstration or discussion.

There is a lot to discuss, too, considering that each artist shows works representing hallmarks of his already distinctive style. Post, for example, includes a 52-by-42-inch canvas showing, “of all things, horses, corrals, and mountains,” says the wryly laconic lifelong Arizona cowboy. Adds Munn, “Where many see a landscape, a corral, or bushes and trees, Howard sees abstractions and paints them in a unique manner and palette.” Visitors also have the opportunity to purchase signed copies of Post’s full-color book, Western Perspectives.

Fellow Arizonan Mell continues what he calls his “exploration of volume, color, and form” with dramatically cubist southwestern landscapes. Munn notes that this is Mell’s “first official show at Altamira, as well as his first in Jackson Hole, for work that belongs in our far-reaching art market.”

Glenn Dean, Communion, oil, 30 x 30.

Glenn Dean, Communion, oil, 30 x 30.

While both Dean’s and Gilleon’s works may at first seem more traditionally representational, they, too, possess uniquely far-reaching appeal. Californian Dean’s COMMUNION, for example, captures the romantic allure of the West, portraying “a lone rider, perched on the edge of a cliff, silhouetted by the evening’s last bit of reflected light,” in the artist’s description. “Glenn’s command of his subject,” says Munn, “invites the viewer into a setting only the true cowboy can fully know.” Signature oils of teepees represent Montana-based Gilleon. But he also breaks bold new ground with two digital works that “move and morph in real time, showing at least 12 different paintings during a cycle of approximately five minutes,” he explains. Adds Munn, “These must be seen to be believed.”

In a different way, an elemental sense of movement and time’s passage pervades the western animal sculptures from Greg Woodard’s Utah studio. These include a piece called 5 CENTS, which, he says, “represents the iconic buffalo nickel but with the buffalo stepping out of the coin.” Observes Munn, “In an art market that loves quite literal, highly refined bronze art, Greg’s is excitingly expressionistic, of the ages yet uniquely contemporary.”

The same could be said of the entire quintet of Altamira shows. The artists represent the pinnacle of today’s western art scene, while also possessing links to the best that has come before. —Norman Kolpas

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Featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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