Durango & Santa Fe
Sorrel Sky Gallery, November 5-30
This story was featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story
Sorrel Sky Gallery highlights art informed by personal relationships with nature as it fills both of its locations with new works by landscape painter Jim Bagley and wildlife sculptor Gerald Balciar. Channeling a deep-seated love of their surroundings, both artists create pieces that bring the outdoors inside and entice viewers to explore elements of the untamed. “Jim and Gerald each possess great passion for, and experience with, the natural world,” says gallery owner Shanan Campbell Wells, “and when coupled with their well-developed skills and talents, their work reminds us of the beauty, uniqueness, and power of nature that surrounds us in the West.”
Deep Into Nature: New Work by Jim Bagley & Gerald Balciar opens on Thursday, November 5, at Sorrel Sky’s Durango space, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The Santa Fe gallery opens the show on Friday, November 6, and hosts a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Bagley and Balciar plan to attend both openings. The show runs through November 30 and features a dozen new oil paintings from Bagley, in a variety of sizes up to 60 inches wide. Balciar exhibits up to 14 new animal bronzes, ranging from 10 to 38 inches high, in editions of 25 to 45.
“I live for my time outside,” says Bagley, whose lifelong love of the outdoors is clearly evident throughout his richly painted canvases. His work depicts scenes encountered as he travels into the wilds and wide-open spaces of Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and other rural areas throughout the West. Mountains and fields give way to vast skies often filled with robust clouds that create a sense of quiet drama and anticipation. Low horizons emphasize the seemingly limitless span of unspoiled nature. “For me, my paintings are like snapshots, or visual memories of places I’ve been,” says Bagley. His goal is to capture the physicality of each scene he paints, to communicate its sense of place—the sounds, smells, and weather that make it unique. “I want to paint more than just the facts,” he says. “I want to convey the emotion and essence of each scene. It’s all about being there.”
Balciar’s naturalistic bronzes depict a variety of forest creatures and other wildlife, among them bears, bobcats, owls, and sea turtles. “I strive for anatomical accuracy in my work,” says the artist, who notes such intricate details as the number of tail feathers on a raptor and often studies casts of specimens to replicate subjects as precisely as possible. Additionally, he references the immense catalog of nature magazines, books, and photographs he has built over five decades. Paramount, however, are Balciar’s countless hours spent in the field. “I have had a personal experience in the wild with every one of the animals I have sculpted,” he says, noting sea turtles as the lone exception.
Balciar utilizes vivid patinas on many of his bronzes, adding dynamism and grounding each animal in its own microcosmic environment. “My work is a straight-out appreciation of the subject matter,” he says. “I just love nature. That’s what I want to convey.” —Elizabeth L. Delaney
Santa Fe: 505.501.6555
Featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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