From winter to summer, from eagles to elk, Jackson Hole’s wildlife migration patterns cannot be told in one linear way.
A new exhibit, “Migration,” featuring sculptor Bryce Pettit and painters Jennifer O’Cualain and Jim Bortz, is set to tell the story of the patterns in three ways.
Open to the public at Mountain Trails Gallery, a reception will be held for the show on Saturday, when the exhibition opens. Pettit’s, O’Cualain’s and Bortz’s pieces will hang until Aug. 10.
The place-based show features new work by the three artists, concentrating on local wildlife and Jackson Hole migration patterns.
“It’s a wildlife show but kind of crossing over both mediums,” gallery owner Adam Warner said. “And they’re also going to be basing it off the Jackson region, as far as what types of wildlife would be migrating through here.”
Even with similar subject matter, the three artists’ works vary greatly in medium and place wildlife in different worlds. While Bortz’s paintings depict movement and vast landscape, O’Cualain isolates her subjects into soft still-lifes of grizzly bears and blue jays alike.
“We’ve done group shows before, but we’ve never done a group show with bronze wildlife incorporating oil painters,” Warner said. “I’ve been doing this 25 years; I’ve never done a show like that.”
With subjects ranging from butterflies to bison, Bryce Pettit’s award-winning bronzes intricately depict his subjects in all of their detail. His sculptures vary in size and demonstrate movement, all with bronze uniformity. Pettit’s Southwest jackrabbits and regal panthers transcend his current base in Durango, Colorado, and his galleries across the country.
Complemented by Pettit’s sculptures, the show’s two painters’ work draw the viewers’ focus into different aspects of the complexities of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. All three artists’ work allows onlookers to investigate Jackson’s changing landscape and seasonal inhabitants from different perspectives, complete with background context and embellishment.
In addition to his new work, Pettit will be featuring sculptures-in-progress. ‘
Just as migration is a constant cycle of creation and change, so is the artist’s process of depicting it. In his work, “migration” may look like a bison moving across a field or a specific study of an eagle in a still life or tactile sculpture.
“Through its great variety I feel like I can use the animal form to convey any message,” he said.
When these three artists’ styles come together for the show’s opening, their distinct ways of depicting the natural world will give Jacksonites the opportunity to witness the mystical complexity of the Yellowstone ecosystem’s migrations briefly frozen in time. ￼