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Journal

News from Dowd House Studios: places to find our pottery, exhibitions, classes & workshops, new forms and exciting projects.

Filtering by Category: Art Exhibitions

1 week, 2 shows

Jenny Dowd

Sometimes it works out this way, I have work in 2 exhibitions and they both have receptions this week…

Animal Shelter opens on November 1st at Mystery Print Gallery in Pinedale, WY. For this invitational exhibition artists were tasked with interpreting the theme of animal shelter - how do animals find shelter, especially in the shared spaces occupied by humans, other animals, etc?

I focused on the tiny: snake, spider, bird, mouse. These critters can be seen as pests or pets, and I like the idea of them having flexible found shelter - each has an indoor option and an outdoor option.

The little critters are made from porcelain, multiples were made in case someone lost a tail or beak. The little drawings were done in a local coffee shop- another reason I like to work small!

4 tiny sculptures resulted. I’m looking forward to seeing how the other artists interpreted the theme. This show will be on display until the end of the year, so check it out if you are in the area.

The cookbook project, a year in the making, is now an actual printed cookbook! (Check out my past post Illustration project sneak peek for some behind the scenes.) The cookbook is available to purchase in the Jackson CWC office in the Center for the Arts.

I never imagined that my sketch - how to butcher an onion - would make the cover! (I took a knife skills class a few years ago, a short evening class through CWC. Learning how to chop an onion blew my mind! Plus… I’ve only cut myself in the kitchen a few times since this class.)

All of the original illustrations are on display and available for purchase in the Theater Gallery located in the Center for the Arts in Jackson until November 5th.

This Friday November 3rd, from 5:30 - 7:30, the culinary arts students will be serving tastes from the cookbook at the reception. Come by to see (and taste) the recipes that inspired drawings by me, Jocelyn Slack, and Cal Brackin.

Illustration project sneak peek

Jenny Dowd

I’m excited to share a peek into a project that has been in the works since late last year…

In collaboration with the Culinary Arts Program at Central Wyoming College, located at the Jackson campus and illustrators Jocelyn Slack and Cal Brackin, I’ve been working on a cookbook! The three of us have been illustrating a collection of recipes developed by the culinary arts students.

The end result will be a published cookbook and an exhibition with some of the original illustrations as well as actual recipes made and served during the opening by the students.

Wrapping my head around how to create illustrations for the recipes was a challenge. It didn’t take long to realize that composing the image right there on a piece of paper was causing me to stall out and I would be more confident if working dimensionally.

I thought about the story each recipe told and how to best give visual instructions, then drew the components. After cutting the pieces out I was able to play with the composition and relationship of each object. Some images came from memory, while some- the 1950’s pink convertible- needed a source image.

After the initial composition on scrap paper, I moved onto ink on drawing paper. The next part seemed the most scary- I don’t usually use much color and rarely use watercolor. I had a few drawing drafts that didn’t work out, so they became confidence building practice pieces.

Pictured here- how to chop lemongrass for Thai Masala Squash Soup, Taco Soup, and Asparagus Soup with Cream- for that one I imagined a budding romance between asparagus and a pitcher of cream. (I got sick of my brushes rolling around on the table and making a wet mess, so I made a quick brush holder with foam and push pins. I made a sea monster brush holder out of clay earlier in the summer, but haven’t glazed it yet.)

For some recipes, I picked out a few key ingredients, like a shallot and mint for the Cucumber Mint Salad. Some are more visual how-to’s, like the middle illustration- Winter Vegetable Hash (Scrub veggies before peeling, do not rinse after!) and some are about telling a story- Thai Coconut Rice- gateway to the taste of another country.

The Cuban Chicken recipe was influenced by the grandmother of the chef… so I couldn’t resist a 1950’s pink caddy being driven by a chicken on a mission! The Singapore Fruit Salad made me think of a market full of exotic fruits which led to fruit eager to travel the world. Mixing pasta dough like a volcano of flour filled with eggs… well, that’s my visual definition anyway.

Some recipes got more color than others, I still love the simple black line of pen on paper, so I highlighted that in a few of these drawings. Especially the Meatball Sub- the meatballs are waiting for the toast to be perfect.

I still have several more illustrations to finish, so stay tuned for an update! And if you are in Jackson, be sure to stop by the Theater Gallery in the Center for the Arts to see the exhibition. The work will be on display from October 20 - November 5. The opening reception will be November 2 from 5:30 - 7:30pm. And the cookbook will be available at that time too!

Stickum Up!

Jenny Dowd

Friday evening the alleys of Jackson got plastered with large prints of local art! Thanks to JH Public Art these temporary murals were installed during the Palates & Palettes art walk and will remain on view through Fall Arts Festival.

After a little wheat paste practice we hit the streets...

In the alley behind Eddie Bauer and Pinky G's Pizza you will find "Peaceful Inputs" by Sophie Stoessel and "Thrilling Wyoming" by Walt Gerald.

My tiny drawing, "Some things should not have wheels" is now huge in comparison to the original, and is right across from Sophie & Walt. And just down the alley behind Trio: "Holding Steady" by Katy Fox.

There are 7 more! So if you are in Jackson walk around and find them all, they will be up until the 22nd. One is even going to be a permanent painted mural, the artist will be starting on the 17th.

I'm so excited to see my little characters suddenly large! Stop by my booth at the Takin' it to the Streets Fair tomorrow to see the original- it's about 4 inches x 10 inches.

FoundSpace 2018: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

FoundSpace 2018 is ready to be explored! 

Now in its Fourth year, this project is a collaboration between the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art. FoundSpace offers the opportunity and challenge of interpreting conserved public land in creative and interactive ways. This year FoundSpace is at Emily Steven's Park just outside of Wilson, WY.

Last year I collaborated with Matt Daly, (see our project here) we had such fun that we decided to work together again. Inspired by the optical combination of words and images in thaumatropes, Matt wrote 12 short poems, one for each month, that highlight the overlooked (and often introverted) mini-fauna found in this area. 

I illustrated each poem, which has been challenging since the magic behind the thaumatrope is 3 drawings- one on each side, plus a combination of the 2 when the disk spins.

The image had to be clear enough to read, yet the multiple parts allowed for slightly more information. I was so excited about telling the stories that I missed an important step- the image has to be perfectly registered on each side so that when the disk flips the image is not blurry. Oops.

I drew the image on paper, transferred it to plywood with carbon paper, then registered the image using holes in the side of the disk. (As seen by the highly technical use of drill bits...) 

Each little critter has such personality and imagery created through Matt's words, it was easy to imagine the story and what I wanted to visualize. I am so excited to be part of this project and to work in collaboration with another creative who sees the world from a different angle. I'm already learning a lot about some of the mini-fauna that I was not aware of! 

The thaumatrope is made cut disks from plywood in a diameter to fit discarded bike wheels that Matt scavenged. I drew and painted on the primed surfaces and made cranks so they can be turned by hand. The stands were made by Matt from discarded fence posts, and all stand at different heights.

We've started with 4 thaumatropes, and will install all 12 within the next month. So stay tuned for updates, and if Emily Steven's Park is part of your normal routine be sure to check back periodically.

There are 3 more artists who have installed artwork in the park: Bronwyn Minton, Bland Hoke, and Brittany Hill. Check back for my post on Saturday June 9th for a full update!

And if you are in the area, stop by Thursday June 7th from 5-8pm for the opening event. (You'll be able to make your very own small thaumatrope!)

Ensemble

Jenny Dowd

It's time for the Laramie County Library annual book arts exhibition, Inspiration and the Artist Book. As usual, this year's theme left me stumped for a few months: Ensemble. I rolled the idea around in my head as I worked on other projects and brainstormed with my dad (now you know my secret!)

This time I went tiny, deciding to make an ensemble of clothing. But it's not just any clothing- these items are made from the pages of an old book.

I started out by making tiny patterns and testing how to fold the paper with the fewest number of folds or overlaps. 

I really wanted a hat as part of this wardrobe, it took me a few tries to figure out how to display it. At first I made a stand-alone hat rack, but that seemed too complicated. In the end I added a little hook onto the clothing stand so all the little pieces would be together.

The clothing rack and hangers are made from black wire. I like the gestural line quality and felt it fit well with the pages of text.

The final piece is very small, 8 inches tall by 10 inches long.

Book Jackets

Each person is a book. We are each an ensemble of ideas, information, fact, fiction, stories, dreams and musings. In order to face the day we wrap ourselves in what we have, leaving space in the wardrobe for more items and changing styles.

By mixing and matching we create a story to be presented to the world, adding and sharing pages and pieces through conversation, reading, living, and researching.

This tiny delicate piece was also a challenge to pack for shipping. In the end it occupied a much larger box than I would have imagined for such a small piece... but the box only weighed 4 pounds!

Visit this book sculpture in person and see how all the other artists interpreted "Ensemble." The show will be on display at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, WY from June 8 - August 8, 2018.

Whodunnit?

Jenny Dowd

Whodunnit? is my favorite event & fundraiser at the Art Association, and it was last night! This yearly event is a celebration of tiny anonymous art. Around 200 artists create and donate 6x6 inch artworks that are signed on the back.

One reason I like this event so much is that I find the 6x6 inch format difficult. After my usual struggle, the final piece often marks the exploration of a new idea in my studio. The small canvas becomes a sketch for a new path or it helps me figure out a problem to work through an idea I've been mulling over.

I've made several pieces over the past years for this event, but haven't managed to photograph them all. Here's what I found... 

2010

Tooth Fairy Notes

At this time I was trying out some new materials and working to make the canvas feel more like clay. I was also writing some funny little stories and haiku about the Tooth Fairy.

2015

Envy

I think this was the first time I made the "canvas" instead of using the provided canvas. But most importantly, this piece was the first time flowers or little mischevious vases showed up in my sculpture!

2016

Remember when?

I'm still mulling this idea over, of adding depth by combining drawing with sculpture. This was the piece that started me thinking about that idea.

2017

Books

This was a tiny version of a small piece I had made in 2016 for a book arts exhibition at the Laramie County Library. (See that piece Here.) I had lots of leftover little books and wanted to revisit the idea and keep the background open. I added the flowers because as much as I love having flowers around the house, they have to be put up on high shelves or else my cat knocks the vase over. So I'm often finding wilted flowers here and there. 

2018

The flower stage

This time I wanted to make something that would change with different backgrounds (I only made one, but photographed it on a few different papers.) I've been thinking a lot about stages and invented settings. I've also recently discovered that I love working with cardboard and I like showing some of the "how" behind the craft.

I'm still excited about the ideas behind each of these pieces (and the ones I forgot to photograph) and am looking forward to seeing what these ideas lead to!

Utopia/Dystopia

Jenny Dowd

Yesterday I visited Mystery Print Gallery and Frame in Pinedale, WY to check out the exhibition Utopia/Dystopia: Inspiration and the Artist Book.

This exhibition started out at the Laramie County Library earlier this year and now a smaller section of the work is on display at Mystery Print.

The invitational bookarts show was curated by Sue Sommers, with the theme of Utopia/Dystopia. 

Here's a peek...

Camellia El-Antably: Experiments in Utopia

"Experiments in Utopia" reviews the American experience with communities dedicated to a utopian vision.

Mark Ritchie: Imperfect Circle

The practice of group equine groundwork is as close to utopia as may be possible.

Cristy Anspach: Highway Reliquary - Mule Deer

This work is inspired by a desire to address the human/animal struggle that plays out daily on our roadways.

Conor Mullen: Facts About Fallout

A hand-made PSA that compares ideas of utopia/dystopia through a repurposing of words/images once published by the U.S. FCDA and the DoD.

Holland Morelli: Dystopian Flora

A study of plants as sentient beings, leaves as fresh and plant forms/structures as art.

Tawni Shuler: Warrior Rabbits

After recently moving to the southwest desert, my attention has turned to the jackrabbit and the folklore of the Jackalope, a mythical creature with the body of a rabbit and sprouting the horns of a deer. Jackrabbits can live in the extreme heat of a desert environment due to design of their feet, fur, ears and most importantly behavior adaptation.

Susan Durfee: Mystery

Sue Sommers: Liberty Walking Part 1 & Part 2

Liberty Walking: coin albums full of drawn feet. Honoring the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus, immigrants, and walking women everywhere.

Nyla Hurley: The Railroaders

Patterns of consumption, dominance and production over people, wildlife, resources and the land.

Nyla Hurley: Nativist Nostalgia

My way of thinking is an addiction or even a disease: a disease of nostalgia.

Nathan Abel: Excavation: Found Scroll

Created from scraps of old work, this book illustrated the tenuous nature of the relationship between utopian and dystopian ideals.

Jenny Dowd: Flowers still grow

This altered book represents a dystopian world of redacted and heavily censored information. Growth is still possible.

(Check out my earlier post here for a little behind the scene peek into my concept and process.)

If you find yourself in the Pinedale area in the next month, be sure to stop by and see the show in person!

FoundSpace 2017 - Part 2

Jenny Dowd

It's here, FoundSpace 2017!

Invited by the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art I joined 4 other artists to create artwork designed to engage and enhance the pathway from the Wilson School to the Stillson lot. This busy pathway is a beautiful spot for walking and biking, enjoyed by dogs and their people, and even horses!

Matt Daly and I have been collaborating on a project that features lost objects and the stories behind their loss. Mailboxes became collection points for these objects and also added to the surrounding nostalgia. Living in a small mountain town means mail is not home delivered, so most of my days include a trip to the post office to check my PO box. Plus a mailbox in the middle of a field with a red flag up invites a look-see.

After months of thinking about this project and making plans our installation day finally arrived! Matt delivered the mailboxes to spots along the path where we attached them to fence pots and trees. With all the parts involved we were lucky to have an assistant, Brittany Hill helped immensely! 

Each mailbox contains a kit for writing love notes to objects that have been lost- tags to tie onto found objects plus pencils and sharpeners. You will also find paper that can be used to make rubbings from the poems on the ceramic tiles. (Check out last week's post for details on how these were made.)

During the opening event Friday night we hung a collection of found objects (lost items as well as some natural found objects) in the JH Public Art Mobile Studio. We invited people to write poems to the objects and place them in the mailboxes so they can be found. It was such fun watching people interact with the mailboxes and to hear about what they found inside!

There is much to discover along the path...

Silent Fallen Tree: Ben Roth carved a tree into a chain and also a bench, a perfect spot to sit and contemplate.

Get-togethers have been carved by Bronwyn Minton and create places to find interesting objects both found and made. An invitation to play, perhaps they with gather different objects over the summer.

Willow Wheel by Bland Hoke is a kinetic sculpture woven from willow, while turning in the wind it makes a beautiful and subtle sound as it rustles and glides through the water. Interesting from any angle, however I should have crossed the creek to take a photo!

There is plenty of time to experience the artwork along the path, come back to interact, see what has been changed, find something new! The artwork will be on site until August 14.

FoundSpace 2017 - Part 1

Jenny Dowd

This year I am joining artists Matt Daly, Bland Hoke, Bronwyn Minton, and Ben Roth in the FoundSpace Project. This is the third year that the Jackson Hole Land Trust has partnered with Jackson Hole Public Art to bring art to conserved public land in a surprising and engaging way. I think of it as finding or rediscovering a place.

This year the project is taking place along the path between the Wilson Schoolhouse and the Stillson parking lot. This is truly a found space for me because before this project I had never been to this pathway!

Last year I participated as an assistant (check out the details here.) This year I have been collaborating with Matt Daly to create an interactive sculpture that highlights objects that have been lost (and perhaps found.)

Matt and I began this collaboration during a conversation about lost objects. The snow was just melting and we were noting the funny way lost objects are lovingly placed on a fence post or sign where they were found. We thought this geolocation and obvious hope for reunion was an interesting point for our FoundSpace project.

Matt wrote 12 stanzas to a Ghazal, a poem that can be read in any order. Each is part of a love note to an object that has been lost. I collected different voices by asking 12 people to write the stanzas on paper. I then carved each into a clay tile then stained and fired each.

This past Friday evening I participated in a Gather with families from the Doug Coombs Foundation. We hiked around a Land Trust property at the base of Munger Mountain looking for interesting found objects to incorporate into our installation.

So, how will it all come together?

Check back next week for an update, or come to the opening celebration on Friday June 9 from 5-8pm at the Hardeman Meadows. Food, music, art, and beautiful open spaces, plus you never know what you might find!

Flowers still grow

Jenny Dowd

Earlier this year I was invited to participate in the Laramie County Library's summer exhibition, Inspiration and the Artist Book. I was especially excited partly because this exhibition has a yearly theme. This is a challenge I look forward to, knowing that it will take me out of my current box. The 2017 exhibition, curated by Sue Sommers, is Utopia/Dystopia. 

Since I don't usually make art with a theme in mind, I find this addition at first jarring and then liberating. I must pass through a few stages:

1. Shock: What?? How do I do That? 

2. Acceptance: Hmmm... but it could mean this... or it could mean that...

3. Problem solving: I've looked at several angles, now how do I say what I want to say within this frame?

4. Grateful: I've stretched, learned a bit, and have made something that I would not have come up with otherwise.

While thinking about how to interpret Utopia/Dystopia I kept coming back to books and information, and not only because this show is in a library! I thought about the porcelain books I used to make (see them here) and thought about what a dystopian landscape would look like to me: a heavily censored world with nothing to read.

In order to execute this idea, I decided to alter a book. I recognize that this is a weird process. I love the tactile feeling of books. They offer escape and education all in one place, so destroying a book seems like the last thing I would want to do. However, I see this an an opportunity to redirect the life of an object that has been produced in multiples and has been discarded. (This book was found at the Teton County Library where I have taught book altering classes in the past, they let me pilfer the collection of books that will be in an upcoming book sale.)

For this project I found a particular sized book with a black, hard cover. After distressing the cover I went to work cutting away the interior to create a niche for my hidden utopia.

I made hills out of the discarded pages and used correction tape to obscure any words with meaning, leaving behind only a few pronouns, articles, and indirect objects. 

Gluing everything together was interesting: 

When I was finished, I had a little fun making a stop-action video:

Flowers still grow

One book is an infinite, hand-held universe. It has the ability to introduce unknown places and ideas with questions, experiences, and thoughts. Just one book is capable of leading a reader on a lifetime of learning and searching.

This book represents a dystopian world of redacted and heavily censored information. While this could be a diagram for the ideal, utopian meadow, it still contains an element of dread. Set like a stage with delicate clouds hanging from thread over rhythmic hills, the subject of the book remains unknown and creates a suspiciously dull scene.

White flowers reflect what little nutrients are available to be gleaned from sanitized, stripped soil, but they are growing. Hope and the ability to evolve will always be found where something grows.

The exhibition will be at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming from June 9 - August 7, 2017. If you are in the area be sure to stop by and see how several artists interpreted this theme!

Place/Settings: Part 2

Jenny Dowd

This is the 2nd part of my journey to Concord, North Carolina where I installed my sculpture in the exhibition Place/Settings. Check out last week's post for details on my artwork in this group exhibition.

12 artists from across the state of Wyoming were invited by co-curators Connie Norman and Do Palma to explore the theme of place. Check out this article by the Independent Tribune of Cabarrus County for more thoughts on this theme.

The show is hosted by The Cabarrus Arts Council and is on display at The Galleries, in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse from May 5 - July 7, 2017. The Artist Reception will be on June 9th. 

The exhibition is spread throughout 4 galleries, creating intimate conversations between the artwork in each space.

Starting out the exhibition in the Jones Gallery is artwork by Bronwyn Minton, Jenny Dowd, Georgia Rowswell, Dandee Pattee and Sue Sommers.

The Lockavitch Gallery features artwork by Connie Norman, Do Palma and Wendy Lemon Bredehoft.

The Grant Gallery contains artwork by Susan Moldenhauer, Leah Hardy and Georgia Rowswell.

The Dusch Gallery features the work of Jennifer Rife, Ashley Hope Carlisle and Jenny Dowd.

Here are some details of the work:

I am honored to be part of this exhibition and to have had the opportunity to travel to Concord. I came back to my studio full of energy and ideas... a great way to start out the busy summer season!

Place/Settings: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

This past week I traveled to Concord, North Carolina to install my sculpture in the exhibition Place/Settings. Co-curators Connie Norman and Do Palma invited 12 Wyoming artists to explore the theme of place in our artwork. How do these settings or childhood memories shape our outlook or artistic spirit?

The show is hosted by The Cabarrus Arts Council and is on display at The Galleries, in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse from May 5 - July 7, 2017. The Artist Reception will be on June 9th. 

 Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, Concord, NC

Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, Concord, NC

I am so excited to be included in this beautiful exhibition and honored to be in such good company. The exhibition includes artwork by: Wendy Bredehoft, Ashley Hope Carlisle, Leah Hardy, Bronwyn Minton, Susan Moldenhauer, Connie Norman, Do Palma, Dandee Pattee, Jennifer Rife, Georgia Rowswell and Sue Sommers.

Check back next week for details and images from the whole exhibition. Since there is so much to say about this show I've decided to split it into 2 posts.

My thoughts on Place/Settings led me to explore the dream-like moments that follow me wherever I am. Thinking back to childhood, I spent a lot of time reading and living in my imagination- and still do. Lately I have been trying to define these dreamy moments without pinning them down too much.

My travel schedule allowed 3 days to install my work, luckily everything arrived safely. (To see how I packed and shipped my pieces, check out this blog entry from April.)

Where the ground meets the sky

Experimenting is a large part of my process. Where the ground meets the sky only lived in my head before last week. I worked with porcelain, silk and vellum to create a subtle palette and relied on shadows to add depth and attract attention. The silk and vellum clouds hang from thread attached to entomology pins, creating a deliberately orchestrated scene. While I'm not sure if this is a real place or not, it is important that it seem hauntingly familiar. The clouds flutter as people walk by, attracting attention and sometimes creating a weather pattern- big gusts cause some serious tangling, which I hadn't expected but really like. (Although, now the piece needs to be de-tangled regularly!) 

Where the ground meets the sky is made of porcelain, wire, silk, vellum, silk thread and entomology pins. In this installation it is 7 feet wide.

Passages

Passages is a flexible sculpture that I have been working on since 2009. I had an idea of a piece that could change over time in response to display in a variety of spaces. With each installation I learn more about these pieces and try different solutions. This is the 5th installation of Passages, and it's first trip outside of Wyoming. (Last fall Passages was installed outside in the courtyard of Persephone Bakery in Jackson, WY, check out the blog post here.)

The installation process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I enjoy working around different site obstacles and allow them to shape the course of the piece. For this installation I had limited time (which is a great way to make me focus and commit to decisions!)

This time there were lighting fixtures to work around and a plaster ceiling which made adding extra hooks difficult, plus I wanted to make sure I was not distracting from the other artist's work in the space. All of these "obstacles" are actually what makes installing this piece fun, I think of it as adding to a good conversation.

Even though Passages and Where the ground meets the sky are 3-dimensional, I also see them as drawings.

Heavy anchor wire attaches the boats and allows them to visually move through their environment. This wire makes a beautiful line and I feel that I am drawing in space. I compare the cluster of boats to leaves, a flock of birds or school of fish and the shadows expand the space they occupy. I also see these pieces as something familiar, though not quite recognizable, seen just out of periphery. 

In this installation, Passages, is made up of 120 (ish) welded steel boats dipped in Egyptian Paste.

On May 4th Curator Rebecca Collins held a gallery talk to discuss the artwork and show concept with the docents. On the left she is discussing Ashley Hope Carlisle's piece Carried Away. I spoke about my pieces and answered questions. I never think I want to talk about new artwork, especially when it is so fresh, but it is actually very insightful as it helps me put my ideas into words. 

I am grateful to the amazing staff at the Cabarrus Arts Council for all of their help and for allowing me such freedom to experiment!

To make the whole experience even better, my parents met up with me in NC and attended the gallery talk! Here they are trying to figure out what I did.

Check back next week for more images from the exhibition as well as photos of all the other artwork!

Packing for a show

Jenny Dowd

This summer I will be included in an exhibition of artwork by 12 Wyoming women. The exhibition, Place/Settings, will be in Concord, North Carolina at The Galleries, located in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse and curated by the Cabarrus Arts Council.

In May I will travel to Concord to install my pieces. One is Passages, which has been installed 4 different times in Wyoming since 2009. This flexible sculpture was designed to have several lives and I'm excited for this new chapter in NC.

Passages is made up of over 300 boat forms that are made from welded steel then dipped in Egyptian Paste and kiln fired (See some of the past installation here, plus check out this past blog post about the installation last fall at Persephone Bakery.) Each installation is different and I am looking forward to working within the gallery space and tying my work in to that of my colleagues. 

For this installation, I've packed about 125 boats, 2 spools of wire, a ton of screw eye hooks and some wire snips. Not sure how many boats I'll use, just want to make sure I have options. I've also never shipped this work before. I padded them in tissue paper and packed them tightly in boxes with old sheets and bubble wrap. You can see that Merlin is unsure of this packing method. I think it will be ok.

The other piece I will be installing, Where the ground meets the sky, is a new and also very flexible piece. There are lots of little parts and pieces for this one: silk and velum clouds suspended from pins by silk thread, little porcelain hills plus hills with porcelain and wire flowers. (I lovingly call them hillettes.)

I am equally excited to install this piece as I am to install Passages. And I can't wait to share the process! I had to be really careful in my studio- I found all these little pieces to be particularly attractive to the studio cat, I know he probably thought he was being helpful, but I really didn't need the flowers or clouds to be perforated. Playing with and installing this piece in a cat-free space is much needed.

Now the boxes are headed to NC, I'll see them in a month! (Boxes photographed with large studio cat for scale. Thanks Merlin, always so helpful.)

Stay tuned, I will post details of my installation and also the show!

If you are in the Concord, NC area, be sure to check out the show from May 5 - July 7, 2017

A Literary Landscape

Jenny Dowd

Last week I traveled to Bozeman, Montana to install an exhibition of my new work at the Ecce Gallery. The show also features work by Shannon Troxler and Valerie Seaberg. Shannon and I installed the work and gave a short talk about our inspiration and process during the opening reception on October 14.

Shannon is inspired by books and her love of reading. The layers of encaustic, oil and drawing bring the characters from these books to life. 

We had some fun with the installation, I brought a lot of extra "hillettes" (little porcelain hills with flowers) and we scattered them around her encaustics.

Valerie and Shannon collaborated on a series of vessels; Valerie made the clay forms and wove horsehair around the tops, while Shannon brought the surface to life with birds painted in oil on gold and silver leaf.

I have been creating porcelain sculptures that tell stories and highlight the lives of inanimate objects around us.

Do vases get jealous when one vase is selected for a beautiful bouquet? Could flowers have memories of the fields they came from before landing in a vase?

"That moment" is composed of several small pieces in an attempt to capture the very instant a connection is made between two people. Or, in this case, flowers and an empty vase noticing each other for the first time. 

That moment

Porcelain, wire, ink

I saved a little space in the gallery for a new idea I've been considering. What if hills and flowers dreamed of flight?

I imagined hills and hillettes with flowers looking up to a sky full of puffy clouds. One day, flowers and hills merged with the clouds as they learned to fly. 

Where the ground learns to fly...

The exhibition will be on display until December 3, be sure to check it out if you are in the Bozeman area. The Ecce Gallery is in the Emerson Center, which is also a great art destination in Bozeman with lots of galleries, studios and other art happenings!

Aesop's Fables

Jenny Dowd

Sam and I are part of an exhibition that will open on Thursday October 13th at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY. The reception is from 6 - 9pm and all are welcome!

25 Fables: Aesop's Animals Illustrated is an invitational exhibition curated by Bronwyn Minton. 25 artists were each assigned a fable to illustrate in black and white. The show will start with a sneak peek and artist talk on Thursday from 11:30 - 12, Sam will be one of the artists speaking about his process. 

I illustrated "The crow and the pitcher" and Sam illustrated "The two crabs." Our interpretations and the fables are below: 

THE CROW AND THE PITCHER  

In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in it. But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water. The poor thing felt as if he must die of thirst.

Then an idea came to him. Picking up some small pebbles, he dropped them into the pitcher one by one. With each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it was near enough so he could drink.

In a pinch a good use of our wits may help us out.

 

The Two Crabs

One fine day two Crabs came out from their home to take a stroll on the sand. “Child,” said the mother, “you are walking very ungracefully. You should accustom yourself to walking straight forward without twisting from side to side.”  

  “Pray, mother,” said the young one, “do but set the example yourself, and I will follow you.”

   Example is the best precept.   

The show is on display until April 23, 2017, so if you are in the Jackson, WY area be sure to stop by and check it out!

Western Design Conference 2016

Jenny Dowd

Earlier this year Agnes Bourne invited several Jackson artists to work with her on a project for the 2016 Western Design Conference. We were asked to create artwork for the foyer of the Designer Show House, on display during the conference, September 8 - 11.

The theme of the room, Flying West in Summer, served as inspiration as we met and discussed our vision for the space. Sam committed to making a coat rack and I took on the challenge of a chandelier.

The cool end of summer / early fall weather was perfect; we turned our driveway into an extra studio for welding, fabrication and even wood burning.

The Designer Show House is composed of 9 rooms, each featuring a different designer. The foyer celebrates "New Arts" in Jackson, with new and repurposed objects offering a welcoming space full of ideas and reflections. Visitors are met with a large shelving unit filled with fascinating objects: a Cabinet of Curiosities. To the right in the lower bank of photos, Ben Roth's Aspen Coat Rack, fabricated from steel and spoons. At the top and lower shelves of the Cabinet of Curiosities is The Grand Pan, created by Bland Hoke. Small paintings by Lee Riddell are tucked between the curiosities. 

Inspiration for Sam's steel and wood coat rack came from the current fire season in Wyoming and throughout the West.

My inspiration for the Wyoming Sky Lantern came originally from the little white birds seen at a distance in Yellowstone National Park, usually around Grand Prismatic. I also incorporated the silhouette of the ever present mountains and stars that pierce the night sky.

Also in the image below is a plein air painting by Kathryn Mapes Turner. And surrounding the room is a giant image from Triangle X Ranch, printed on fabric.

This project stretched the imagination- the first time we saw all of the components together was during the installation on Monday before the show opened! With a bit of magic and a lot of trust this project came together to offer a space full of vision, as written by Agnes Bourne:

listen to the light

in the tent of early dawn

under the cover of quiet sunrise

the Wunderkammer of deepest dreams

reflects the shadows of living memories

in the museums of our minds

flying West in summer

listen to the light - listen to the light

Passages

Jenny Dowd

A few weekends ago, with the help of Jackson Hole Public Art, I installed Passages over the patio of Persephone Bakery. This installation will be up through Jackson's Fall Arts Festival, so if you are in Jackson be sure to stop by!

Passages is part of a series I have been working on since 2009, each installation is unique with its own challenges (see them here.) This is the first opportunity I have had to install these pieces outdoors, I found the main challenge to be working in a public space. I strove to find a balance between visibility while not creating hazards in a busy, popular restaurant. 

Each form is welded steel that has been dipped in Egyptian Paste and fired in a kiln. I strung them from a spiderweb of wires stretched between the canopy of trees that makes this patio so cozy and inviting. The boats (or leaves or fish or birds or bats...) form lines and groups, drips when they meet a tree and swirl around overhead. Sometimes they seem to hide in nooks between branches, offering moments of discovery.

I am so happy to have been able to add something extra to one of my favorite spots in Jackson; every installation of Passages offers new ways to activate space. This has been beautifully written about by Katy Niner on the Persephone Blog

Next time you are looking for a coffee or beautiful baked treat, be sure to stop by Persephone... then see if you can find all the boats!

Spiders!

Jenny Dowd

Last weekend I participated in a unique project: Spiders! Interconnectedness, Innovation and Stewardship. Organized by Sarah Kariko, Research Director of Gossamer Labs, this project brought together a team of artists and scientists with the mission to explore the biodiversity of spiders found in Grand Teton National Park.

The setting for this exhibition was the Berol Lodge at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. The pop-up exhibition was kicked off last weekend with a talk at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY as well as an opening reception on August 21st. While I helped with some of the installation, I ended up missing the reception, so unfortunately I did not take photographs of the exhibition. 

These tiny sculptures were my contribution to the exhibition. I took inspiration from the daily lives of spiders:

Crab Spiders hang out on bright yellow clumps of Arrowleaf Balsamroot while they watch for prey:

This detail of a layered velum drawing is my representation of the afternoon activities of orb-weaving spiders as they repair and rebuild webs. Then in the evening, between hunting and repairing webs, I imagine that a spider would admire her collection of silk wrapped prey- reminiscing over large captures and particularly tasty meals.

DG House created a painting of the Crab Spider sunning itself on the Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Chef Oscar Ortega fabricated a beautiful solid chocolate spider sculpture!

I learned a lot from this project, from the daily spider activities that inspired my sculptures, to venom research and spider silk synthesis innovation. I even had the opportunity to see a recently discovered spider in person.

The Mason Spider is currently being studied, yesterday I met up with Sarah Kariko to see Maggie Raboin's research site. After the Mason Spider attaches her egg sac of spiderlings to a rock, she builds a mound of objects around it: pebbles, grass stalks, seeds, flower petals... These tiny mounds (1 - 2 inches) blend right in with their surroundings and are beautifully built. As an artist who takes inspiration from collected objects, I found this fascinating! (Look closely in the center image for a tiny snail shell)

This project has only just begun, in 2017 the exhibition will travel to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I hope to have the opportunity to see these artists and scientists again, who knows where this inspiration will lead!

Tiny Art Show

Jenny Dowd

This week a mobile pop-up gallery opened its doors at the Jackson Hole People's Market. The gallery features a Tiny Art Show composed of tiny art created by 10 local artists and curated by Alissa Davies and Meg Daly.

For this show I played off the theme of a Farmer's Market and made a 16 x 16 inch flower stand out of corrugated cardboard. The stand includes tiny porcelain vases and flowers and customers are invited to make their own bouquet or select from a variety of handmade vases with arrangements.

 

The Tiny Art Show will also be at the People's Market August 10 & 17, from 4 - 7pm. Be sure to come by and check it out! I'm not sure what flowers will be available next week, perhaps some different colors will pop up in my studio.

A few details from the Tiny Art Show, plus work by a few of the artists:

Rendezvous in Pinedale

Jenny Dowd

On June 30th the exhibition, Rendezvous, opened at Mystery Print Gallery in Pinedale, WY. The show features the art of Wyoming artists, Christy Anspach, Babs Case and myself.

Given the theme of Rendezvous, I thought of my little furniture sculptures- groupings of objects coming together and often caught in the act of misbehaving.

From left to right: First Kiss | Longing | Time Out | Was it murder? (click on the image to see the whole piece)

I love the color in this gallery, now I want color behind my work all the time!

 "Dearly Beloved" by Christy Anspach  

Each line is a family- a group of pinch pots with similar yet unique features. (Christy's Obvara firing process is totally new to me and something I would like to try.)

This detail and studio photo lends a peek into the intricate collages made by Babs Case. My photos from the show were blurry, so I grabbed these from Mystery Print's Facebook page. 

Continuing the theme of Rendezvous and coming together over a shared meal or drink, Sam and I also have pottery in the gallery.

This show is up until September, so if you are in the Pinedale area be sure to stop by!