Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Nicolaysen Art Museum & Discovery Center
Casper, Wyoming
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Nicolaysen Art Museum & Discovery Center
400 E. Collins
Casper, WY 82601
(307) 235-5247

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Darrell Stack: Scratching the Surface
Through August 12

Darrell Stack, is a 59-year-old artist and disabled veteran. This unique exhibit conveys images of people, animals and other scenes. Each piece is depicted in black and white, with intricate details carved into the board's surface. For Stack, art has become a lifelong pursuit and outlet that is more like therapy than a hobby.

Lynn Newman: Hope, Love and Dreams
Through August 18, 2020
McMurray Gallery

Reception / Artist Talk: June 20th, Workshop- June 21st

Hope, Love and Dreams is a fitting way to describe the process of making art. For Newman, art has always been a way of visualizing his hopes and dreams. Reminiscent of childhood and the sensation that creating art evoked, he describes the process as leaving preconceptions behind and seeing where art takes you. Essentially, that is what Newman has been doing since he was six years old. He has drawn or painted his hopes and dreams, and is now sharing them with us in a show that represents works drawn from years of personal experiences

Surrounded | Elaine Henry

There are two distinct elements to the Surrounded exhibition. Surrounding the work in the center of the room is a series of 50 porcelain bowls, each made from Continental Clay’s grolleg porcelain body, and each glazed with Fred Olsen’s Shino glaze for woodfire. Each bowl is thrown and altered in the same way. Each bowl is made from the same material and glazed with the same glaze. Then each was sent to a woodfirer in each of the 50 states. Like us, each started out in the same form, but it was the experience that followed that changed its path. Each of the woodfirers has documented his or her firing, giving us the experience of knowing something of the bowl’s experience. Some outcomes are the results of accidents, some are the results of the types of wood used, the lengths of the firings, and other variable factors. Each is the result of unique experiences, making up their differences.

The body of work that is surrounded by the bowls is an example of my current studio practice. Boxes surround and protect several of the pieces, making it easier for them to withstand the rigors of travel. Others are more exposed, surrounded only by their peers. This work is about excess and constraint. I work with the clay as if in conversation with it, discovering what the clay has to say in response to my hand. And I push the forms to balance the need for fluidity and stability.

Homeland Security | Mary Jane Edwards
Ptasynski Gallery

Homeland Security. "...to ensure a homeland that is resilient against terrorism and other hazards where American interests, aspirations, and ways of life can thrive...." McElreath, David et al, Introduction to Homeland Security (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 10.

Are all the threats external? What forces challenge and erode our sense of safety? What internal factors undermine our feelings of security? A longing for a place called home where the heart and soul are at peace, where the spirit is free and we are free from fear.

As a college student I remember my friends enlisting, being drafted, filing as conscientious objectors, burning their draft cards, fleeing to Canada, or studiously keeping their grades up to avoid the draft. I also remember the protests, peace songs and demonstrations that turned into riots and senseless lost lives on a college campus. I tragically remember the returning GIs, who were denied a hero's welcome and gratitude for their service. It was a time of turbulence and change.

After three decades of peace, I see men and women enlist out of a tradition in their families, out of patriotism and love of country or sometimes to secure training and employment no longer available in the shrinking agricultural communities of the Midwest and within the inner city poverty found across the country. As troops deploy to countries I know only from maps and reports in the media, I join other travelers in an Atlanta airport terminal, as we all stand and applaud them on their way. Now when soldiers return, strangers approach and thank them for their service, their sacrifice. They return as heroes and seek out the welcoming arms of their families and loved ones.

Fear of communism in distant lands is no longer the menacing motive for men to take up arms. The reality of terrorism now has visited our shores, toppled our buildings and invaded our psyche. Human bombs walk into crowds, drive into buildings, fly into towers. We are still reeling from past news casts of horror, when the next day over morning coffee brings reports of another act of terrorism sponsored by this or that group.

Shoeless and stripped down to body covering basics, we are examined and patted down, luggage screened, yogurt removed, tickets and Photo IDs check again and again along the way. I have friends who heard the police sirens and who were a few blocks from the bombings in Paris. I have walked past the embassy in Nairobi that was bombed. I made a sad pilgrimage to pay my respects after 9/11. 911, the emergency telephone number for help? The irony does not escape me.

Retrieving a flat cutout of a house I used in a number of ceramic and mixed media sculptures in the past, I started a new body of work with a series of three dimensional house forms. Thinking that I would explore ideas about the relationship between a human home and a home from nature, I created nests. As I collected and assembled found and manufactured items, the nests looked more like funeral pyres and towers.

Was my subliminal concern about the abrupt invasion of my sense of peace and security creeping into my work? Was my concern about mortality made even more obtrusive by the daily awareness that innocent bystanders, everyday civilians, families and children were dying in a war waged person by person in their neighborhood, their school, on their way to work or on their way to pray in countries where I had traveled, where I had friends, where I now may no longer travel?

Cynthia Weed

Rosenthal Gallery

Cynthia Weed is a mixed media artist known for her unexpected combinations of words, vintage photographs, and lost objects that tell a story in a defined space. A Wyoming native, Cynthia’s pieces often feature “the art of the possible”. Certain objects, pictures, or bits and pieces take on a new life in her hands. Drawn to the past and to the stories of each image, she invites the viewer to ask “Where has this been, who has held it, cherished it, lost it? And how did it get to me.”

Cynthia’s illustrations are featured in the new book, “The Pie Letters” by Colletta Meiers, recently released on Amazon and she is looking forward to showing her latest works at the Nicolaysen Museum in Casper (date) Titled: “For Those if You Who Missed Your Last Connection”.

Specimen: Inquiry + Insight | Leah Hardy

Fragmented, altered with mechanical elements or re-contextualized, these insect forms reference our fascination with mortality and desire with the underlying yearning to connect and communicate. These life forms become metaphors for the present human condition and serve as an ethical inquiry into the lengths that humankind will go to in order to gain personal and political power, to push technology further in genetically modifying our food, altering our bodies and prolonging life. The intention is that of contemplation; there are no clear-cut answers.

How in the world did I end up here? Sometimes I ask this question as most people do. . .maybe as artists specifically since we look at the world through a lens of wonder, curiosity and inquiry. Growing up in eastern Kansas, I treasured the summers—hot, humid with the smell of corn and freshly baled hay. I spent endless hours outdoors planting and picking flowers and watching insects. By day I especially was mindful of the grasshoppers, butterflies and Japanese garden spiders. Late afternoon brought the sphinx or hummingbird moths. My sister and I would crouch in the four-o-clock flowers gently holding the slender end of the deep flower throat waiting for the few seconds that the moth would choose our flower and reach deep in with its proboscis to drink nectar while vibrating our fingertips. After dark we chased after fireflies, often catching a few in a jar to have by our bedsides during the night, to carefully release them the next morning. Our mom helped us each summer collect milkweed plants to feed the voracious appetites of Monarch butterfly caterpillars which we raised indoors from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to fully hatched butterfly. Releasing the orange and black velvet beauties was the pinnacle of our experience. Often the Monarch would slowly rest to pump fluid into its wings and fully dry before leisurely flying around our yard for a few hours prior to really taking its first longer flight.

Fast forward (a few years): earning a BFA and MFA in Art provided a foundation for a strong artistic practice, teaching and traveling. It is difficult to pull these elements apart as they are intersectional and feed one another. Earlier work in ceramic sculpture often manifested in shrine-like pieces; now, and for the last bulk of a decade I have returned to my childhood passion for insects. Often, I have relied on entomological collections as visual reference, but in 2017 I spent almost five months in New Zealand and Australia on sabbatical and began to set up a UV light and white screen to attract insects at night to photograph. I organized a camel trek in South Australia and invited artists from New Zealand and Australia to participate. The project, In Camels Footsteps, started with a five-day trek in the wilderness with camels to experience the bush land and then manifested in a traveling exhibition in Adelaide and Sydney of art made in response to each of our experiences. My pieces were based on insects and true bugs encountered during the day and photographed at night on my white screen. Although the fruition of this project was wrapped up with the two exhibitions in Australia in 2018, I have continued to photograph insects on which I base my metal pieces. Northwestern Australia, Costa Rica and New Mexico/Arizona have been some of my favorite spots for photographing insects.

The work I will be exhibiting at the Nicolaysen will be a sampling of insect-based work. While I use these insects as metaphors in my work with ethical questions (in my statement at top of page), I also believe that the work can simply stand as interesting interpretations of insects, especially in a child’s eye. I tap into the aesthetic of tin toys as some of the insects are on wheels or have micro-hardware embedded into the joints. The intimate scale offers something that one can hold in one’s hand and enjoy. The allusion to specimens is very intentional. Through deep looking at specimens, one can learn much or be drawn into a diminutive world.

Technically, many of the pieces are cast in bronze and/or fabricated from sheet metal and wire. Handmade rivets and micro hardware are often employed in many of the pieces. Color is generally achieved with patinas with some other pigments being applied. Sometimes I expand my material vocabulary to include other media such as glass, mica, wood or cloth. Often these materials can provide a variety of textures and weights that contrast with and complement the metal.

Chasing The Light | Ginny Butcher

Plein Air Painting is the French term for painting outside. I began my painting career by plein air painting over twenty years ago. I haven’t always pursued painting outside, but I enjoy it in every way. I love to find out of the way places where my company is usually crickets, birds and maybe some deer or antelope. Being outside is always good in my book, but sometimes plein air painting presents many challenges. The setting for plein air painting is always a challenge in itself. The light changes constantly (hence the title of the show, Chasing The Light) whether it’s from changing clouds or just the sun moving across the sky on a clear day. There is generally about a two hour window for each painting, before the light changes so much you either need to start a new painting or stop for the day.

The wind can be an element to contend with, especially here in Wyoming. Insects, vehicles, people, terrain and just remembering to bring all the necessary equipment make it interesting. This summer I kept a stack of canvas panels, my easel, paint bag, and dry box (for carrying wet paintings) in the back of my car. I planned my painting locations ahead of time in order to save as much time as I could, in finding a place to paint. I also decided I would not be too picky about finding the perfect scene, but would try my best to make a good painting no matter the place or the conditions.

These paintings represent some of the best from those endeavors. I use this smaller size canvas because I like to paint alla prima, or all at once. My plein air paintings are what I call a bit raw. They aren’t polished. I’ve just tried to convey the feel of the place without getting too picky about unnecessary details that a studio painting might have. I rarely make any changes to them once back in the studio. I do always hope I’ve captured the essence of the scene, while out there chasing the light.

The larger paintings were done in the studio. My aim in studio paintings is to make them as lively as the plein air paintings. I often use plein air paintings as reference for studio paintings. I’ve been an artist, working in oils, for more than 20 years. Over those years I’ve won various awards, including Juror’s Choice Award at The Wyoming Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition, on two separate occasions. I’m honored to have my paintings residing in homes and offices around the world, and even right here, at the Nic.

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