The river that snakes through Jackson and across Idaho, Oregon and Washington has slithered across the walls of the Art Association of Jackson Hole for the “Upper Snake River Basin” exhibition.
Centered on the roaring tributary of the Columbia, work by photographers Jonathan Long and Darren Clark and mixed media based on field samples from Michael Sherwin will adorn the Art Association from Friday’s opening reception through the end of February.
The implication of human impact is digested, and associated lands are portrayed in the purest forms, Gallery Director Thomas Macker said.
“It’s an exhibition that is investigating, positively and potentially negatively, our natural resources, and from the standpoint of a critical eye of the man-made nest in our current ecosystem and also glorifying that raw, natural, sublime beauty,” Macker said. “I think it really is nice because it has these three different interpretations.”
Clark takes a conventional approach, using large-format cameras to process black-and-white shots of the liminal space between the natural and man-made.
“He tries to explore those spaces that are pure and those spaces that are encroached on,” Macker said.
Mostly, he said, these scenes are quiet and represent the tradition topography distilled when considering artistry of the winding river.
Compared with Clark, Long captures something more panoramic, and he does it in grandiose color format using digital techniques.
“The centerpiece installation is this round room, which he’s going to construct ... out of these modular walls that create almost a full circle,” Macker said.
The landscape will wrap nearly the full 360 degrees of an 18-foot-diameter structure that fully immerses the viewer with peripheral-to-peripheral views.
Yet Sherwin was the impetus for the exhibition. A teacher by trade, and a former Art Association instructor, Sherwin brings students to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to take photographs and field samples. Video, collages and designs these river particles he and his students have collected will fill his segment of the exhibition.
“His offering to show human analysis of the Snake River Basin is kind of a hodgepodge of different ways of seeing or absorbing sensorially an actual little still life of materials he’s collected,” Macker said.
On Saturday all three artists will lead an all-day workshop about the shared space that struck them with the tidal wave of inspiration for this show. Artists should show up at the Art Association gallery at 10 a.m. prepared to photograph different areas of the Snake. Attendees should bring their own camera and be ready to collect tips directly from the horse’s mouth, Macker said.
The course costs $130. Register at ArtAssociation.org or by calling 733-6379.
People who want to meet the artists in a more economical manner can attend the gallery opening at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the gallery.