In art, as in life, less is often more.
That is particularly true with Gunnar Tryggmo’s work. The Swedish painter is a master of both the notoriously difficult watercolor medium and white space.
“The light and the feeling, the mood and sometimes the movement in the piece is more important than the details,” he said.
Tryggmo shows his works this week at Turner Fine Art in his first solo show in Jackson Hole. Although he is accustomed to painting birds and the occasional moose in Sweden, his latest works showcase the animals of the greater Yellowstone region, which he first visited years ago during Jackson’s Fall Arts Festival.
Tryggmo brings a naturalist-like dedication to painting, often starting with sketches en plein air. And while his subjects are boldly in focus, he places them in atmospheric surroundings that convey a feeling, rather than place.
Though he admires the skills of photorealistic painters, he said that “in painting, I think you want something more.”
Not only are Tryggmo’s paintings moody and beautiful, the absence of all the information creates room for the viewer’s imagination.
“You can leave things out and bring something for the viewer’s mind to fill in,” he said.
Tryggmo’s paintings and the act of viewing them becomes more dynamic. They’re not just an interpretation of what he saw that day but an invitation for viewers to place their own interpretations and imaginations onto the piece.
The more abstract qualities of Tryggmo’s work also highlight the realistic and truly masterful parts of his paintings.
If you’ve ever painted with watercolors you know the medium is challenging. Some might say infuriating. Watercolors are fluid, unpredictable and permanent. And yet Tryggmo is able to lay down large, smooth swaths of paint in his backgrounds as well as paint details with incredible accuracy.
One of the most impressive pieces of his show at Turner Fine Art is a large painting of a raven whose feathers are both as textured and as seemingly reflective as in real life.
Because of Tryggmo’s masterful technique and attention to detail, gallery owner and fellow artist Kathryn Turner said that what really stands out about this show is that the works are “sensitive and dramatic.”
Turner met Tryggmo through the small international community of avian watercolorists at a juried exhibition of bird painters in Wisconsin.
Turner will host a celebration for Tryggmo’s new exhibition from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. If you’d like to see his mastery in real time he will be giving a live demonstration at 1 p.m. today. The show will be on display until March 29.
All of Tryggmo’s works will be hung without frames to give buyers the opportunity to work with the neighboring Fort Frame and Art to pick a custom frame. ￼