Show Preview | Day & Tracey

Santa Fe & Durango
Sorrel Sky Gallery, May 5-31

Stephen Day, South Rim Snow, oil, 11 x 14.

Stephen Day, South Rim Snow, oil, 11 x 14.

This story was featured in the May 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  May 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

This month, Sorrel Sky Gallery celebrates the inspiration found in nature with an exhibition featuring two artists connected by their muse: landscape painter Stephen Day and Navajo jeweler and silversmith Ray Tracey. The shows open with receptions at both Sorrel Sky Gallery locations: in Santa Fe on Friday, May 5, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and in Durango on Friday, May 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Shanan Campbell Wells, the gallery’s owner, says she admires the ability of Day and Tracey to absorb their surroundings and embrace life’s constant state of change. Basing their daily inspirations and artwork on this foundation of life helps to keep their work fresh, she adds. “Stephen’s paintings have a spontaneous, natural sense about them, as if you just walked into the scene yourself,” she says. “With Ray’s jewelry designs, you can feel his willingness to embrace unexpected inspiration.”

Wyoming-born Day frequently starts his landscape works en plein air, using smaller canvases as studies for larger paintings he later finishes in the studio. One day, when he heard that the Grand Canyon—just over four hours from his home—was covered in a foot of snow, he grabbed his camera and an artist friend and drove directly to the South Rim. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience snow in Grand Canyon National Park,” Day says. “It’s something I’ve wanted to see for a long time, and I finally caught it perfectly. It was spectacular.” After 500 photographs and a few small studies done on location, Day is showing some of those Grand Canyon-inspired oil paintings among the 18 works he brings to the exhibitions. “I paint almost exclusively from life, trying to capture the feeling and mood of the subject before me,” he says, thankful for a vehicle to express the intense beauty of the unique landscape.

As a complement to Day’s sweeping landscapes, the vivid and intricate Navajo jewelry that Tracey has been creating since he was 10 is also a reflection of the natural beauty surrounding him. In fact, Tracey feels a deep connection to Day’s canyon paintings because he once went through a phase in which he was inspired by canyon petroglyphs; he and his late brother used to scour canyons in the Southwest looking for them. The Arizona-based artist brings nearly 20 jewelry designs to each show, ranging from old-style pieces like turquoise set in stamped silver and traditional squash blossoms to contemporary, multi-stone-inlay designs. “I really love designing and coming up with new product lines based on life,” says Tracey, who, after a stint acting in Hollywood, has created jewelry seriously since 1972. “As I have gotten older, life has become more dear to me,” he says. “I’m more in tune with those intangible sources for my inspiration.” —Katie Askew

contact information
Santa Fe: 505.501.6555
Durango: 970.247.3555
www.sorrelsky.com

This story was featured in the May 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  May 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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