Expert and amateur artists came together during difficult times to share their experience through art. Now the Art Association of Jackson Hole is ready to share the work they created during the pandemic at the Center for the Arts.

Jennifer Hoffman, a contributing artist and the Art Association’s gallery and retail coordinator, said “Art in the Time of COVID-19” reflects the various emotions and coping mechanisms artists employed during the pandemic.

“Usually I’m inspired by the landscape and nature,” she said, “and this time it was kind of more of an internal process.”

Instead of working with pastel and oil, Hoffman combined oil paint and wax on paper, creating a mixed-media collage.

Hoffman wasn’t the only artist who found inspiration from the world’s turmoil. Illustrator Emily Cohen experienced the pandemic in phases.

The first phase was the lockdown, when she created an illustration of a person standing alone at a window. Her second work features a “Sesame Street” character broadcasting the number of deaths caused by COVID-19.

“It seems like there’s so many numbers always being thrown at us,” Cohen said, “and now it’s almost as if we’re blind to the numbers — even though the number of deaths is so high.”

While it may be difficult to bear, Cohen said there’s a dark reality that people need to take seriously. Her work has become an illustrated journal of society’s evolution over the past few months.

Not all artists focused on the pandemic’s impact, though. Taylor Owens, a local ski instructor, found her new passion in March. When most area businesses began closing, Owens bought an embroidery kit and taught herself different knots and stitching skills.

Once she felt comfortable with her thread and needle, she began embroidering her backyard view of the Tetons, favorite hiking spots and fish she saw swimming in the river.

For Owens, her time in isolation helped develop a new passion that she plans to continue crafting for years to come.

“Art In the Time of COVID-19” features about 50 artists, including Bobbi Miller, Shannon Troxler, Laurie Thal, Judith Dragonette, David Klarén, Mike Piggott and Sue Tyler. All works were created during the pandemic and are accompanied by a statement on each artist’s inspiration.

The Art Association Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

An artists reception for the show is set for 5-7 p.m. Aug. 20. The number of people allowed in the gallery at once will be strictly limited, and masks and social distancing are required. The reception will be outdoors. For info, go to ArtAssociation.org. 

Contact Lauren Teruya via lteruya@jhnewsandguide.com

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