When I first entered Clay Paper Scissors Gallery, the art on the white wall facing the door immediately captured my attention.
A group of three oil and cold wax paintings by Mona Monroe hung there, a series of abstract pieces evoking astronomical influences, as indicated in the titles. The layered shapes and textures of blues, reds and blacks punctuated with golden yellows are striking and drew me closer for more inspection. Throughout my time with the Rendezvous exhibit, I kept going back to these pieces, due to my visceral response.
Rendezvous is a juried exhibit of Wyoming artists coordinated in collaboration by Clay Paper Scissors Gallery in Cheyenne and Mystery Print Gallery in Pinedale. Artists submitted work for consideration, and gallery owners Camellia El-Antably — who curates this column — and Mark Vinich (Clay Paper Scissors), and David Klarén (Mystery Print) selected the work to be exhibited. Half of the artwork was on display in Pinedale and half in Cheyenne through July 17, then the exhibits switched locations through September 2. This review is of the work first exhibited in Cheyenne.
Per the show’s parameters no piece could be larger than 18 inches square. Hanging a show with small pieces provides a challenge in ensuring the work doesn’t get lost in the venue, even if the space is fairly small. The exhibit organizers hung the pieces grouped by artist, which gives the small pieces significant presence since an artist’s own work tends to have a cohesive feel. A few are series pieces, such as Monroe’s discussed above, further amplifying the work’s presence. This hanging style successfully highlights both the artists exhibiting in Rendezvous and their work.
Landscape images abound, as is common in Wyoming art exhibits — the land is a major influence for artists in our state. But the pieces in Rendezvous aren’t traditional representational landscapes, as evidenced by Aude Nevius’s layered and textured paintings. One in particular, “Idaho Fields, After the First Snow,” gives the feeling of a snowy evening over the landscape, without depicting the scene as one might expect.
While the art varies extensively from artist to artist, abstraction to representational, the pieces live well together. After grouping by artist, the work is hung so that colors reflect off each other and textures complement the neighboring work. Chris Amend’s figurative surrealist work and Sheila Tintera’s landscapes, while very different, share vivid colors from across the spectrum. Aude Nevius oil and cold wax on acrylics landscape paintings have a tactile quality. “Techno Dino,” a cement and salvaged machinery dinosaur fossil by Cal Fulfer, begs to be touched — but don’t!
I appreciated the introduction to several Wyoming artists I’d not encountered before: Monroe, Nevius and Tintera; but was also pleased to see work by more familiar artists.
One such artist is Lynn Newman, known for his large-scale multi-colored paintings of landscapes and horses, so it was exciting to see small-scale collage work of printed text that still revealed Newman’s hand. A recently retired art educator, it’s clear that Lynn is spending time in his studio and experimenting.
It would be wonderful to see Rendezvous become an annual exhibit. Wyoming is full of contemporary artists working in a diverse variety of subjects, styles and mediums. The offer of work that is beyond the traditional representational fare seen most frequently in Wyoming, for viewing and for sale — at affordable prices — is a benefit to artists, art lovers and collectors alike.
A complete list of artists exhibiting at both galleries can be found at https://claypaperscissors.com.
Editor’s note: this part of the exhibit is now on display in Pinedale through September 2, 2017 at: Mystery Print Gallery 221 S Sublette Ave. Pinedale, WY
Hours: 12:30 – 5:30 pm and by appointment
Closed Sunday, Monday and Thursday
Jennifer Rife has created art for more than three decades and has had work included in publications and exhibits throughout the country, including SOFA Chicago, and was awarded a Wyoming Arts Council Visual Art Fellowship for 2016. She coordinates traveling exhibits and curates local exhibits for the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne. Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the History of Art from the University of Kansas. She maintains a blog at artinthemiddleofnowhere.com.