A View of Nature Through Art
A Lens to the West
by Sabina Dana Plasse
Photo Above: Surrender | Amber Blazina | Oil on Linen | 40” x 30” | Gallery Wild
Gallery Wild & Medicine Bird Gallery offer a Lens to the West
Connecting to nature and wildlife in the West, Western Home Journal presents Gallery Wild and Medicine Bird Gallery as two distinguished establishments for fine art photography, paintings, and regional creators. Gallery Wild offers a roster of artists, all unique in their connections to nature, with several artists having exhibitions in the coming months. At Medicine Bird Gallery, the exceptional photography of Gary Crandall, especially for the “buffs” and other wildlife in nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, is extraordinary. Read through and learn more about these galleries, the artists, and more in this focus on two Jackson Hole galleries.
Connecting to what is Wild
Gallery Wild offers a fine art experience in nature
“…‘wild’ is more than just a name. It’s a philosophy that permeates every aspect of our work.”
—Jason Williams, Artist, Gallery Owner
As the founders of Gallery Wild, with two locations in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, artists and owners Jason Williams and Carrie Wild found that their dedication to wildlife art is not in name only but also in work and life.
“The original idea for the name Gallery Wild came from owner/artist Carrie Wild’s last name,” explains Jason. “But to us, ‘wild’ is more than just a name. It’s a philosophy that permeates every aspect of our work. It encapsulates our artists’ deep-rooted passions for nature’s untamed beauty, the wildlife that thrives within it, and the necessity of conservation. ‘Wild’ symbolizes our artists’ raw, authentic experiences during countless hours in the field, studying and observing wildlife and landscapes. These experiences inspire our artistic expressions, translating into powerful, thought-provoking works of art.”
Exemplifying Jason and Carrie’s gallery philosophy for openings and exhibitions this summer is artist Doyle Hostetler. His focus is on wildlife and its beauty, especially in his realistic oil paintings of North American big cats and hoofed animals, including the iconic bison. Hostetler’s show Whispers of Wild with new works will take place July 7-17.
In addition, contemporary wildlife painter Nealy May Riley will also present work at Gallery Wild on August 4. Riley’s work frequently combines oil and gold or metal leafing, harmonizing three-dimensional form and graphic patterns and shapes. Riley creates a balance of expression and realism, capturing the spiritual essence of animals and placing them in an ethereal symbolic space.
“Our mutual focus on wildlife and wilderness forms a synergistic theme, bridging the gap between two distinct artistic mediums — painting and photography.”
—Carrie Wild, Artist, Gallery Owner
“The work in our gallery is the perfect catalyst to trigger favorite memories and fleeting moments that our guests have experienced themselves,” says Carrie. “Our gallery locations, in the heart of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem of Jackson Hole and the vast desert landscape in Santa Fe, are a seamless transition from the wilderness experienced by visitors and locals alike. We aim to merge those open spaces with a fine art experience that inspires collectors to take a piece of the wild home. We hope that adding Gallery Wild artwork to a collection will endlessly evoke awe in natural beauty and the necessity of conservation.”
In August, new works by George Hill and Larry Moore will be part of a dual show, Interfaces. Hill is a contemporary realist painter based in Missoula, Montana. His portrait painting style demonstrates a strong reverence for his subjects. Blending realism with contemporary elements in his paintings, he creates a uniquely engaging and emotive experience for his viewers.
Moore’s diverse background as a visual communicator in advertising and design, fine art, plein air, and 35 years of illustration has allowed him to work in almost every medium and style. Through his exploration, Moore has discovered that the creative process behind these approaches is ultimately similar.
“All of our gallery artists use their art to interpret their experiences of time in nature in their own ways,” says Carrie. “That’s the great thing about contemporary Western—even with abstract qualities, there is a sense of familiarity with the subject and excitement in the unexpected, making it easy to feel invited to share in the artist’s passion, to feel the pulse of the wild and, in doing so, to foster a greater appreciation and commitment to preserving these precious habitats and creatures.”
On September 8, Carrie and Jason will present their Dual Spectrum show at Gallery Wild together. “Jason and I will be teaming up for our first show together during one of Jackson Hole’s favorite events, Palates and Palettes, part of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival,” says Carrie. “Our focus will be our shared devotion to capturing the raw beauty and spirit of the natural world and expressing our shared experiences in our unique language. Our mutual focus on wildlife and wilderness forms a synergistic theme, bridging the gap between two distinct artistic mediums—painting and photography. Jason’s photography captures fleeting moments in the wild, freezing them in time and allowing the viewer to focus on the finer details of the moment. At the same time, my vibrant paintings delve into the enjoyment of animals within their landscape, taking in their surroundings in an abstract way that communicates the emotional connections of their presence.”
Carrie adds, “My work is a vivid manifestation of my time and experiences within nature. Each piece is a testament to my deep-seated respect and love for the natural world and its wildlife. My use of vibrant color, texture, and nuanced detail breathes life into my subjects, capturing their physical likeness and their spirit and presence as they stand within their color-filled landscape. Jason shares the same values and passion for the natural world. He has traveled the globe searching for landscapes and subjects that fascinate him. Each image shares an adventure and special experience he had communicating with his subject in the wild.”
As Carrie describes,“My current work, most notably in the Rendezvous series, is an investigation of the symbiotic relationships occurring in nature. Breaking down my subjects into gestural lines and placing them within an abstracted, ethereal landscape emphasizes subtle movements and moments of connection. Each composition tells a story of family, movement, and time breaking down the wall between humanity and our wild neighbors.”
She adds, “The first step to any painting or creation is observation of the subject and finding something that stands out as an idea or concept. From there, the artist may start with a study or sketch to plan the composition. The final piece, whether a painting, sculpture, or even a photograph, is started by forming structure and working and building the piece back and forth with outward movement to have a place for the final details to shine. Processes are based on trials, errors, and achievements throughout a lifetime of experimentation as an artist finds their way to developing a style that is unique and reflective of them.”
Gallery Wild has an extraordinary schedule of shows planned for this summer. The lineup places its gallery artists in pairs, complementing each other’s style or thought process while highlighting their individuality.
“Each composition tells a story of family, movement, and time disposing of the wall between humanity and our wild neighbors.”
—Carrie Wild, Artist, Gallery Owner
Whispers of Wild
Nealy May Riley
George Hill & Larry Moore
Palates & Palettes at Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival
Carrie Wild & Jason Williams
Art Walk at Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival
Jeremy Bradshaw & Patricia Griffin
Other artists included for the Jackson Fall Arts Festival include Aaron Hazel, Silas Thompson, Caleb Meyer, and Amber Blazina.
Connects the Art of the West
The sole exhibitor of Gary Crandall’s photography
Based in Livingston, Montana, Alex Meador and Sean Love own Medicine Bird Gallery and Jackson Trading Company, a multi-generational family business of Love’s in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the former Gray Crane Studios.
As collectors and purveyors of Western fine art, Meador and Love are also the only exhibitors of Gary Crandall’s photography. It’s an art partnership and friendship that spans decades in Jackson Hole and Livingston. For more than 30 years, Crandall has been photographing the scenic landscapes and wildlife of the West, especially in the Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks in the Northern Rockies of Montana and Wyoming. As a celebrated regional photographer, when Crandall met Love, they became lifelong friends, and Love is a consummate supporter of Crandall’s work, especially his Grand Teton and Yellowstone collection.
Most of Crandall’s images that are available at Medicine Bird Gallery were photographed in and around Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole, with the addition of locations in Utah, South Dakota, and Alaska. Although there are older images, which include Crane Flats, Morning Calm, and Autumn Along the Snake, that were photographed on film, Crandall shoots digital photographs. He does edit but not alter his subjects or the images’ color to accurately reflect the day and place the photograph was taken. The prints range in size, including four primary aspect ratios—standard, panoramic, and super pano.
“Essentially, Sean started the galleries to honor and support Gary’s work,” says Meador. “At this point, it’s like having a big family business. Gary is a gentle spirit, which shows in his work and the intimacy he captures in his wildlife subjects and landscapes. His photography is often mistaken as a painting, but he represents the vibe of our galleries.”
Adding to the family, Medicine Bird Gallery’s General Manager Wyatt Bradford, who was also a former Director of Retail at Grand Teton National Park, sold Gary Crandall’s photographs through his business relationship with Sean Love at Jackson Trading Company, which was formed through a previous boss of Bradford’s over 20 years ago. “It’s a great story on how all these people came together,” says Bradford. “And Gary’s work is still available at retail locations within the local National Parks.”
As the sole photographer represented by Medicine Bird Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Livingston, Montana, Crandall’s body of work captures the wildlife and the many seasonal changes of the Northern Rockies and beyond. Also based in Livingston since 2021, Crandall prints, mats, and frames all his images for Jackson Trading Company and Medicine Bird Gallery at his home studio and workshop in Livingston.
“I shoot when there’s the best texture, so it’s usually bad weather, snowing or raining, and the best light is before or after a storm comes through,” says Crandall. “I print on watercolor paper, which helps my images and how I shoot, especially for the look I like to achieve. I can print it, tear it, and do other things, but it enhances my photography.”