Amid Wagon Days festivities and Labor Day celebrations, this holiday weekend is set to be a busy one in the Wood River Valley.
For art lovers, the Sun Valley Gallery Association has picked today, Aug. 30, to host the final Gallery Walk of the summer.
From 5-8 p.m. tonight, various galleries around Ketchum will open their doors, offering a free opportunity for the artistically minded to peruse, converse, soak up the area’s abundant creativity and enjoy a modest amount of complimentary wine in the process.
More than a dozen galleries participate in the three-hour event. Among them, they represent topnotch work by local, state, national and international artists, covering a variety of artistic media, modes, subject matters and styles. Moseying through Gallery Walk is like surveying a microcosm of global visual art.
View the map printed above for locations of most of the Gallery Walk destinations. Keep reading below for a few choice highlights.
For more information on Gallery Walk, the Gallery Association, participating galleries and future events, visit svgalleries.org.
Frederic Boloix Fine Arts
351 Leadville Ave. N.
Frederic Boloix will be showing works at his gallery in the Galleria Building by European artists spanning from 1924 to the present, in styles ranging from classical portraiture to cutting-edge materials studies.
The work of contemporary Austrian artist Martin Herbst contains both. He explores paintings on various shapes, including convex mirrors. In “Hidden Treasure,” an oil painting is hidden in crumpled aluminum. The complex folds in the mirrored surfaces mean most of the actual painting is only seen in reflection.
“As soon as the beholder begins to explore its secrets by moving from side to side, the work unfolds a surprising array of subtly shifting reflections of the painted image,” Herbst states. “These reflected paintings are a unique contribution to the centuries-old art-historical and philosophical theory of considering painting as a mirror of the world.”
The opposite wall features French Postimpressionist great Edouard Vuillard along with Hungarian-born School of Paris artist Emile Lahner.
Standing guard toward the rear of the gallery is a “quantum sculpture” titled “Slender Woman” by German artist Julian Voss-Andreae that seems to vanish in front of a ghost ship lost in the Arctic, by Cuban Artist Julio Figueroa-Beltrán.
Boloix performed as a symphony trombonist for many years before taking to art collecting and sales. His gallery shares space with a grand piano, an instrument on which he has also gained proficiency. His 11-year-old son, Tristan, recently won third place in a statewide piano competition.
“I love having the piano in the gallery, but we probably shouldn’t play it during the Gallery Walk,” Boloix said.
Well, maybe only on request.
661 Sun Valley Rd.
Travel to this easternmost gallery on the tour route and you will be rewarded with “This Is the Place,” a showing of Wendel Wirth’s newest photographic series at Gilman Contemporary.
Wirth explores the stark lines of agricultural buildings in rural Idaho; think rippled metal, sun-soaked and wind-ravaged wood punctuated by sharp slices of sky and landscapes informed by minimalist compositions; a single upturned bale of straw in a winter field becomes a totem to the American West.
The photographs in this series celebrate the geometric forms and textures of a threatened agrarian world as it interacts with prairies and skyscapes familiar to Wood River Valley residents.
“Each image in ‘This Is the Place’ has been photographed with a deadpan aesthetic and set inside a Polaroid-inspired border, allowing the essence of the Polaroid to imbue the photographs with emotion,” Wirth wrote about the show. “Polaroids speak to nostalgia and travelogue; their essence is both fleeting and disposable, much like iconic farms on open land today.”
“‘This Is the Place’ documents a vanishing landscape that once defined the fabric of our rural collective,” the show brochure states. “Wirth’s hope is that through these forms and shapes, shadows and light, the abstracted images will defamiliarize this once common backdrop and create a compelling reconsideration of what is lost when we lose these spaces.”
Gallery owner L’Anne Gilman noted that farmlands are being obliterated in many ways.
“According to Wendel Wirth, they are disappearing at three acres a minute to urban sprawl and development,” Gilman said. “She is trying to draw attention to that and I think this is very important.”
Gail Severn Gallery
400 First Ave. N.
The impressively large gallery of Gail Severn exhibits an wide array of artists, headlined by Victoria Adams’ large-scale landscapes and small intimate jewel-like oil paintings on linen. The small side gallery of her work features her signature lucent skies and aqueous reflections. Adams’ landscapes are found in museums and private collections throughout the country.
“Adams’ focal point is the inherent radiance of light found in nature, transforming its effects through clouds falling on the land and water below,” the show brochure states. “In her masterful hands, Adams creates images that connect us with our own past experiences of place and more often than not evoke personal moments of stillness and meaning.”
In a separate gallery as if from another world, Robb Putnam’s multimedia sculptures of animals evoke playful, whimsical characters found in children’s books, only more physically and psychologically vulnerable. Like overgrown, stuffed toys or imaginary friends, these misfits evoke an odd sense of playful melancholy, made from cast-off blankets, shirts, fake fur, rags, thread, plastic bags, leather scraps, glue and thread.
“Putnam’s drawings create images that carry associations with simplicity, innocence and play, but as if experienced in a dream,” the show brochure states. “In these works, cartoon heads drift, collide and overlap in space. These orphaned characters in search of a body attempt to reassemble into a larger whole—but sometimes never quite manage the feat.”
Two large group shows feature established artists with diverse approaches. “Color & Form as Metaphor” has Gary Komarin, Pegan Brooke, Squeak Carnwath, Rana Rochat, Delos Van Earl, Marcia Myers and the fabulously surprising local multimedia artist Pamela DeTuncq.
“This exhibition is composed of paintings and works on paper that are concerned with form and color as a metaphor and the power that a color and/or a rather basic, minimal form or text can exert on a viewer,” states the show brochure.
The second group show, “Light & Shadow,” features contemporary painting and photography by Daniel Diaz-Tai, Kathy Moss, Laura Wilson, Laura McPhee, Raphaëlle Goethals, Theodore Waddell, Pegan Brooke and Lisa Kokin.
420 Fourth St.
The father-son team of Jeffrey and Kyle Lubeck at the Heritage Hall building shoots and produces high-quality digital prints (150 megapixels) of the exquisite natural environment in the Wood River Valley and surrounding mountain ranges.
Known for hanging from cliffs to shoot mountain goats, the Lubecks will today bring out a new show titled “Greenhorn’s Return to Magnificence,” featuring a progressive study of Greenhorn Gulch south of Ketchum, which was ravaged by fire in 2013. The show focuses on six years of recovery since the blaze and the resilience of nature. Jeffrey Lubeck, the principle photographer of the exhibit, photographed the Greenhorn region extensively before, during and immediately after the fire. Kyle Lubeck said MESH Art was the only organization permitted by the U.S. Forest Service to document the 2013 fire and its aftermath.
Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson said Greenhorn’s recovery has been pleasantly surprising.
“From an ecological standpoint, the fires were a good thing,” Nelson states in the show brochure. “Aspen tree growth has taken off. The same thing can be said about wildflowers.”
Another pleasant surprise has been the impact on the trail system.
“The Greenhorn region and surrounding drainages have better and more fundamentally sound trails than existed before the fires,” Nelson said. “So much so that what was once a local’s favorite is now a regionally and nationally recognized destination for top-level recreation activity.”
According to MESH Gallery, the current state of the forest and trails in Greenhorn is the result of a highly coordinated effort to identify additional funding and volunteers outside the normal U.S. Forest Service channels who banded together quickly and successfully, including Blaine County, the Blaine County Recreation District, the Wood River Trails Coalition, the Idaho Conservation Corps, the National Forest Foundation, REI and Patagonia.
Sun Valley Center for the Arts
191 Fifth St. E.
The Sun Valley Center for the Arts will host an opening reception tonight for its new visual arts exhibition, “Marketplaces: From Open Air to Online,” which is one component of the multimedia Big Idea project of the same name.
“‘Marketplaces’ provides fascinating opportunities to explore the changing nature of commerce around the globe, and also consider how our exchange of goods and services has, in many ways, remained essentially the same over time,” curator Courtney Gilbert said.
This exhibition, like all that go up at The Center, views its topic from every available angle. Some artists zero in on local, small-town marketplaces. In the case of Conrad Bakker, the art even looks critically at the Wood River Valley. Others take a much broader perspective, considering national and international commerce.
Perhaps the most expansive point of view is adopted by artist Mark R. Smith, whose project “The Silk Road” examines the past, present and future of trade.
Diving back into ancient history, Smith analyzes the impact of the Silk Road, the famous trade route between Europe and East Asia. He considers how land trade between such diverse cultures affected global politics, traditions and economies.
He also examines the online black market. A notorious website called the Silk Road operated from 2011 to 2013, moving a wide array of illicit goods around the world.
“As Mark Smith’s artwork illustrates, the global economy has existed for centuries,” Gilbert said.
Smith and participating artist Chad Erpelding will be present for the opening reception. Visit sunvalleycenter.org for more information.
271 First Ave. N.
The Kneeland Gallery will highlight the works of three distinct artists during tonight’s Gallery Walk. Each painter captures nature, but their styles and approaches differ considerably.
Jean Richardson is especially interested in horses as subjects. Large-scale acrylic-on-canvas paintings tackle these majestic creatures not in realistic or literal terms, but more as metaphors for the greatest qualities shared between nature and the human spirit. Richardson invokes senses of unbridled, wild energy and a drive to explore, and presents her subjects with a strong presence of nobility.
Her paintings use rich colors and thoughtful brushstrokes to generate a sense of movement. Though somewhat abstract, the paintings inspire particular feelings within the viewer.
Where Richardson tends toward the abstract, landscape artist Neal Philpott creates strikingly realistic paintings of the American Northwest. His objective is to chronicle the ephemeral beauty of the area, almost producing time capsules of nature, capturing specific moments in time before they fade from memory.
As the West becomes more of a destination and populated areas sprawl, work like Philpott’s takes on an additional quality of urgency. He captures the landscape as it is, but eventually his paintings will come to represent what was.
Douglas Aagard rounds out the trio with paintings that capture a wide variety of landscapes from Utah. Whether painting towering mountain ranges, lush forests or rolling farmlands, Aagard approaches his subjects with the same affinity for color and attention to detail, capturing all that makes the Utah landscape beautiful.
Warm colors invoke and peaceful scenes invoke feelings of calm, even solace at times. Were the Wood River Valley itself not quite so beautiful, one would crave the quietude of Aagard’s Utah.
Stone Art Gallery
631 E. Second St.
One of the newest galleries in Ketchum, the Stone Art Gallery first opened its doors in 2017, but has carved out a prominent place in the Ketchum arts scene in just a short amount of time.
Founder and owner Jeff Homchick is a globally celebrated stonemason, lapidarist and artist. He began studying the trade nearly 40 years ago, training as an apprentice under famous Italian stonemasons. Since then, he has established himself as an artistic force.
Homchick’s own creations frequently exhibit in the gallery alongside works by other master stone artists, including Sabah Al-Dhaher, Robert Cruce, Salvador Duran, Zee Haag and Luigi Talara. For tonight’s Gallery Walk, Homchick will especially feature work by German artist Marlies Stroes von Thun, now a resident of Smiley Creek.
A worldly, well-traveled artist, von Thun has worked, studied, lived and honed her craft in many countries beyond the borders of her native Germany, including Australia, Ireland and England, before moving to the San Francisco Bay area. She eventually settled full time by the scenic Sawtooth Mountains.
A versatile artist, von Thun has produced eye-catching works in a vast array of forms, using countless different supplies, styles and methods to capture her subjects. Her portfolio includes oil on canvas, oil on board, carved copper plates, charcoal drawings and mixed-media experiments, plus sculptures in Italian marble, soapstone, alabaster, red Italian marble and other types of stone.
Her works with stone almost seem to defy the laws of physics. Smooth, carved surfaces curve and weave in bands; they spiral and fold, despite the fact that each has been produced from a single slab of rock.
Those more abstract sculptures are impressive enough, but she has also hewn carvings of faces, human figures and animals in action.
A smattering of von Thun’s extensive catalogue of creations will display at Stone Art Gallery during the Gallery Walk. To learn more about the gallery, the art and the artists, visit stoneartgallerysunvalley.com.
Gallery Walk begins at 5 p.m. tonight and will be the last such event of the summer. Visit svgalleries.org for details of future Gallery Walks.