Up and Coming

Gallery directors keep spaces fresh by bringing in new talent.

By Kelsey Dayton

Mariam Diehl, owner of Diehl Gallery, immediately contacted Claire Brewster when she saw her work—birds created from maps—in London last fall.

“Her work is stunning,” Diehl said. “It is intricate and detailed and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it” is the expression gallery directors use when talking about the new and emerging artists they represent.

Brewster is just one of several new up-and-comers you’ll see in galleries in Jackson this year whose work will likely elicit the same expression.

Galleries are always trying to stay current and bring in new talent, said Maryvonne Leshe, an owner with Trailside Galleries.

Last year her gallery introduced wildlife artist Ezra Tucker and collectors loved him. This year they’ll be promoting him in June showing six to eight of his paintings.

The challenge is finding talented artists that aren’t similar to what a gallery already carries, said David Navratil, gallery manager with Mountain Trails.

“We want someone who knows art, knows what they are doing, but also who is doing new and original work,” he said.

At Mountain Trails this year that’s Amy Lay and Jeff Pugh.

Lay’s work has been steadily growing in popularity. She handles oil paint like it’s watercolor in creating wildlife portraits, working in thin layers light to dark, leaving a feeling of motion, Navratil said.

“We want someone who knows art, knows what they are doing, but also who is doing new and original work.”
– David Navratil, mountain Trails gallery manager

Pugh depicts rural landscapes using a palette knife, but in an unusual graphic way, opposite of work normally done with a palette knife.

“I don’t see anybody else doing what he does,” Navratil said.

Tayloe Piggott Gallery has represented Patrizio Travagli for several years, but will host his first solo exhibition at the gallery in August.

“He’s super edgy, really contemporary,” said gallery staffer Alex Keenan.

Travagli creates lightboxes. His work has inspired a clothing designer and is gaining traction internationally, Keenan said.

“We hope to be on the forefront of that as he continues to explode,” she said.

As for Brewster, who will show at Diehl Gallery, Diehl sent her a list of birds indigenous to Wyoming. She created birds from the list, using 1910 geological survey maps of Yellowstone National Park. She’ll show the colorful birds, many pinned to backboards to create shadows, during Fall Arts Festival in September.


June 1 – 30: Ezra Tucker will be featured in “Out of Africa” at Trailside Galleries
August 18 – 25: Amy Lay hangs solo show at Mountain Trails Gallery, reception 5 to 8 p.m. August 18
September 1 – October 31: Claire Brewster at Diehl Gallery, “A Conference of Birds”
August 16 – September 30: Patrizio Travagli at Tayloe Piggott, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” reception 6 to 8 p.m. August 16