Altamira

Utah painter Ben Steele, whose "I Love This Western Look" is shown here, shares a showcase with fellow Utahn Jared Sanders at Altamira Fine Art on Center Street. The two artists' work hangs through Aug. 29, and a reception is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Vibrant art decorates Diehl Gallery

Catching eyes with vivid colors, Curtis Olson and Cyrus Walker take over Diehl Gallery’s walls for the next three weeks.

While both are colorful, however, Olson and Walker have completely different styles.

Olson’s body of work, represented with the show “Cartographic Dreams,” came from a childhood dream of exploring the world and creating maps. His pieces are loosely inspired by drone mapping, and he makes them using marble dust on a wood panel to create his desired look. As a former architect, Olson’s love for geometry and color balance the abstract and concrete.

“I’m interested in creating powerful objects that have a weightiness and age,” he said, “significant, real pieces infused with unapologetically non-digital imperfections.”

In contrast, Walker’s show, titled “Boy Howdy,” offers viewers a peek into his cowboy culture-saturated imagination. Mixing unlikely colors with comic book-like characters, Walker’s art resembles that of Andy Warhol. His works are dramatic and offer the viewer creative liberty to tell the story behind the captured scene. Walker invites anyone who sees his art to “fall in love with the Western genre.”

Both shows opened last week and hang through Sept. 8. Diehl Gallery requires a face mask for entry and is open by appointment only. To schedule a visit call 733-0905.

— Lauren Teruya

Astoria brings the outdoors inside

Thursday is the last day to see Colorado native Jill Soukup’s and nature enthusiast Josh Clare’s work at Astoria Fine Art.

The dual exhibitions feature both artists’ love and passion for the outdoors.

Soukup grew up with an affinity for horses, and her work mostly features them, both domesticated and in the wild. Her paintings capture a balance between opposing elements with color, texture and consistency.

“I constantly work to hone and develop my craft by challenging the abstract components of a painting to come to together in an intentional, representational way,” Soukup said.

Focusing less on subjects, Clare enjoys capturing the setting. From vast mountains to small streams, he finds beauty in his surrounding atmosphere.

Growing up in the Rocky Mountains, Clare always felt an urge to create and holds on to sacred images of the outdoors to share with others.

“I want to see more clearly. I want to comprehend more fully. And I want to help others do the same,” he said. “That’s why I paint.”

Astoria Fine Art’s next artist showcase opens Sept. 1 with works by G. Russell Case.

The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. For clients looking for a private appointment outside of normal business hours, call 733-4016.

— Lauren Teruya

Wilcox back for his 37th Prix de West

During this time of uncertainty it’s important to be able to count on at least a few things.

Like Jackson painter Jim Wilcox participating in the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale at the national Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Wilcox, who has been painting and running his Wilcox Galleries in Jackson Hole since 1969, makes his 37th appearance in the prestigious show, which at 48 years old has become one of the most anticipated events in the Western art world. A past winner of the show’s top Prix de West award, in 1987, he also has won its Frederic Remington Painting Award twice, in 2002 and 2007.

Joining fellow masters such as William Acheff, Scott Christensen, Bonnie Marris, Howard Post and more than 80 others, Wilcox has five oils in this year’s show of 270 works, including his classic, atmospheric perspectives on the Teton Range as well as closer, more intimate settings and scenes.

The art, which went on display Aug. 1 and remains up through Sept. 13, is up for auction as part of this year’s “Purely Proxy” Prix de West sale. Visit PDW.NationalCowboyMuseum.org to view the complete catalog and for information about bidding.

— Richard Anderson

Sanders, Steele offer Western visions

Equally exacting in their depictions of the West, painters Jared Sanders and Ben Steele could not be farther apart in their approaches to their subject matter.

Sanders’ view tends to be muted, weather-worn, the line between man and nature blurred beneath bottomless skies and against depthless landscapes.

Steele, on the other hand, revels in the West as invented by humans: the bright, commercial icons, the larger-than-life characters, the myth that endures in our culture even as it vanishes from reality.

Altamira Fine Art offers a chance to compare and contrast the two Utah artists with showcases that run through Aug. 29.

Steele’s show — cheekily titled “Best Western” — and Sanders’ “Natural Design” opened Monday. The gallery will host an opening reception for them from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 172 Center St.

Steele writes of his latest collection, “The title piece of the upcoming show ‘Best Western’ — a painting of a colored pencil box with John Wayne on the cover and coloring pages of Clint Eastwood from ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ as well as Robert Redford and Paul Newman from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ — introduces my theme for thinking about the West and Western culture through many of the icons that shape our perception of it. These characters evoke that old, tough, take-no-crap-from-anyone type of personality.”

But that type is harnessed, tamed and contained in the pencil box and the black-and-white sheets ready to be colored by the viewer’s childhood imagination.

“I’m trying to shift my perspective,” Sanders said of his newest work, “to simplify the content and strengthen the design.”

“Natural Design,” he said, encapsulates that effort, “having removed everything except the subject of the painting — the part of the landscape that I have focused on as the most important. … All of my usual elements are there — the barn, the landscape, the cows — but I’m coming closer to what I would like those elements to say in each painting. More natural, more simplified, quieter, but also a little more random and a little less literal.”

Preview the work at AltamiraArt.com or call 739-4900 for information.

— Richard Anderson

Contact Lauren Teruya via lteruya@jhnewsandguide.com

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