Jackson has no shortage of art galleries, but even with its surplus of beautifully decorated showrooms, painter Carrie Wild felt something was lacking.
“I really felt that I was missing out on just the relationship between art collectors and admirers, and me creating my art,” she said.
Wild paints abstract wildlife paintings. What has fueled her passion for art the most, she said, was connecting with those who admire her work. She recalled the joy she feels when patrons walk into a showroom, see her paintings and take a deep breath or smile.
“I wanted to be able to have that all the time and really give art lovers access to the process,” she said, “so that it’s more than just a painting hanging on the wall that magically appeared there. ... I think with that connection, it makes art mean even more to collectors and people.”
With that mission in mind, Wild and her husband, Jason Williams, a wildlife photographer and the owner of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, opened Gallery Wild in 2018. Its collection of contemporary art inspired by wildlife, landscapes and conservation has been well received by Jackson, she said, and she soon felt the need to expand.
But even as the gallery has grown, Wild has not forgotten her goal to foster intimate relationships between artists and collectors. She accomplishes that with events called Studio Takeovers, in which she invites an artist to move into her personal studio in the gallery and create new work.
This weekend painter Bridgette Meinhold will have the honor of the first Studio Takeover of 2021. Wild has long admired Meinhold’s work, she said. She was one of the first artists to be represented by Gallery Wild.
The Park City, Utah, painter dabbles in watercolor, but her passion is encaustic painting, a technique that involves using a blowtorch to melt beeswax onto a canvas or prepared wood. Wild said Meinhold’s visit will make Gallery Wild smell “nice, sweet, and warm” during the show — perfect for a cold winter day.
Meinhold titled the show “There Is Always Light” after watching 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s speak at the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden. She found Gorman’s performance deeply moving and inspirational, and felt the line from her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” was appropriate for her show.
Light is something Meinhold frequently considers as a landscape artist. She said many traditional landscape artists tend to focus on beautiful, sunny bluebird scenes, but she prefers capturing inclement weather.
“Storm days are a particular favorite, because I think they’re just so full of mood and interest to me,” Meinhold said. “There’s a lot going on in them.”
Also, she said, “not every day is a sunny day” either literally and emotionally. She tries to capture the feel of blustery weather, something Jackson knows well.
“I feel like everyone has seen some sort of magical snowstorm,” Wild said, “especially if you’re in the Tetons, like driving the pass when it’s foggy and the sun’s coming through and the snowflakes are going down. Bridgette captures that perfectly.”
Meinhold is no stranger to snowy mountainscapes. She lives in a small cabin community so off-the-grid that a trip to town requires an hourlong snowmobile ride. Living in remote place has many perks for the landscape artist. She can backcountry ski or hike and find scenes to “fall in love with” and create on a canvas.
Looking at the land with an artist’s eye allows her to always find new things to appreciate, even if it’s a place she’s seen hundreds of times.
“Maybe it’s just that the light is different,” she said. “Maybe it’s a different time of day or the weather has changed or something like that. And that’s what I like about it. I like finding new things out of places that I know well.”
Meinhold is excited to take over Gallery Wild. Most people don’t get to see the encaustic process in action, she said.
“I think getting to see it in person is really far different than what you expect it’s going to be,” Meinhold said. “I think it’s really important to share that process with people so they have a better understanding of how the paintings come together.”
Armed with her beeswax, torch and scraping tools, Meinhold will be creating from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Gallery Wild. Art lovers are welcome to peruse the gallery, ask Meinhold questions and watch her work. Should they have the time, Meinhold recommends they come back several times to witness the progression of the pieces. ￼