Tayloe Piggott Gallery seeks to capture nature’s quiet but mighty essence during winter in its three-artist group exhibition, “Abacus,” on display for only a few more days, through Jan. 24.
“The exhibition is trying to understand the power, respect, magic and the aesthetics of nature,” said gallery director Maya Frodeman.
“Abacus” features iconic winter scenes and symbols by painters Enrique Martinez Celaya, Greta Waller and Mike Piggott. The artwork asks the observer to reflect on the relationship between human nature and Mother Nature, Frodeman said.
The centerpiece, an “arresting” painting by Celaya, is the source of the exhibition’s name, as well as its inspiration.
Celaya’s painting “The Abacus” depicts a young girl in summer clothing looking uncomfortably out of place as she stands on an ocean of melting ice fragments. The sky behind her is blood red. The striking image serves as a natural talking point to discuss climate change, but it also digs deeper into the human psyche.
“Recognizing our future with our children is obviously something that really drives humans,” Frodeman said. “How do we protect this land that gives us so much joy for our children? That’s the kind of special conversation that follows.”
Celaya has work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Art in Houston and dozens of other public collections around the United States and the world. He also has another work on display, “The Glass Flowers,” which employs similar motifs about the fragile strength of nature.
With his work as a starting point, the gallery brought on Piggott and Waller paintings to round out the exhibition’s theme.
A man who wears many hats, Celaya is an artist, author and scientist. Born in Cuba and raised in Spain and Puerto Rico, he grew up nurturing a love for writing and philosophy.
His erudite background inspired the gallery to place Waller’s painting, a study of light through three blocks of ice, next to Celaya’s. Waller has long been fascinated by ice, Frodeman said, and her dedication to the exploration of light in ice adds “another intellectual layer” to the exhibition. Her watercolors of avalanches and penguins in Antarctica, where Waller has visited, are also on display.
Mike Piggott, the gallery owner’s former husband, contributes his own commentary on the beauty of winter landscapes by experimenting with textures and patterns. This round of paintings features joyous ice skaters, somber owls tucked in snowy trees and still aspen forests at sunset.
“His studies of ice skaters highlight the wonder and pure joy of ice skating on a lake in the middle of nowhere,” Frodeman said.
For Frodeman the appreciation of Mother Earth hits close to home. One afternoon before the holidays, she and her team closed the gallery early and went ice skating on Jackson Lake to take advantage of its frozen state.
“Life is short,” she said. “We need to respect and enjoy nature and the quality of life the mountains give us. Everyone in Jackson really grasps that.”
“Abacus” opened Dec. 16. Private showings for select clients and for those who inquire are available by arrangement. Virtual viewing rooms are also available at TayloePiggottGallery.com. ￼