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Who: Thais Beltrame What: Gravity When: Artist talk noon Friday; Opening 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday; show hangs through March 14 Where: ArtSpace Main Gallery, Center for the Arts How much: Free Web: By Katy Niner

STEPPING OUT Jackson Hole News&Guide, Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 9

Ideas germinate, images grow for Beltrame

to load its branches with their own ideas and perceptions. For Beltrame, art filters life, but once created, art lives a life of its own. The tree joins a slew of her drawings spanning five years. Compulsively drawing ever since she can remember, Beltrame used to apply her pen to the blank pages of her parents books. Then, as now, her drawings channeled childhood: its peculiarities, its melancholy, its darkness, its discovery. I dont get my inspiration out of art, she said. I get my inspiration out of living. space, features the same distillations of life that now define her work. Even then, Beltrame rejected colored pencils. As a teenager, she rebelled against the artist identity everyone expected her to embrace and didnt draw again until college in the U.S. She feels the time away dissolved her early arrogance as an artist. At Columbia College Chicago, her loyalty to drawing garnered her the label of illustrator and placed her in the shadows of noisier, conceptual artists. Someone once suggested she frame her drawings in red to lasso attention. After graduation, she returned to the embrace of Sao Paulo street artists. Part of an artists collective known as the Famiglia, she added her imagery to city walls. She credits street art with elevating respect for drawing. Now, her art enjoys rave reviews, including a January spotlight as an Artist to Watch in Juxtapoz, an underground art magazine. Despite the acclaim, she feels coming to Jackson, at the invitation of former Art Association director Jennifer Crawford, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her career thus far. She marvels at the valleys silence, a word she also applies to her art. Despite the jarring cold, she feels at home here, where she has seen deer cross Kelly Street, a moose saunter by, magpies crowd a tree. Of a walk up Cache Creek, she observed, You can hear yourself. ... Its just very powerful, humbling really. I know I will be digesting this experience for quite a while. A lot of people consider success as selling your pieces, she said. To me, success is having this exchange. Keep an eye out for interactive components to Gravity, which will pop up throughout its hanging.

tree is dying outside Thais Beltrames apartment in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a tree that survived decades within its concrete corral. Beltrames neighbors complain that it blocks their view of the bakery. Her building superintendent thinks the city poisoned it. Nature as nuisance. An irony in a neighborhood known as Tree Square. An irony for Beltrame, who has taken to drawing trees despite their scarcity in the city. An irony considering she had already started talking with David Gonzales of TreeFight about the plight of the whitebark pine ahead of her then months-away trip and solo show at the Art Association. When she realized the tree was sick she tried to save it by contacting the city, which offered to chop it down. The day its death set in, she couldnt draw. She felt like she was just standing by, watching as if a person were being killed. She had nightmares and woke to the sound of a saw gnawing away at another tree. You should pay attention when something moves you, she said. Her tree drawings bear the weight of such an experience. Such is the Gravity felt by an artist, exerted on their art, and hence the title of her Art Association show. Beltrame has inked a 30-foot-tall tree on the wall of the ArtSpace Main Gallery the tallest drawing she has ever done. She invites viewers

To me, success is having this exchange.

Thais Beltrame
Brazilian Artist

Intuition guides her art, leading to subconscious parallels: Bears began appearing in her work long before she received the invitation to come here, to bear country. For Gravity and to benefit TreeFight Gonzales nonprofit committed to saving the whitebark pine Beltrame did a Teton drawing from her imagination only to find her intuition had honed in on a real site; she titled the piece Lake Solitude long before she saw the blue pool on a map last week. She trusts her intuition even on a line-by-line level: She did not map out her Jackson tree and only penciled its trunk and branches, leaving needles and details to the moment. Life is about mystery after all, she said. The parallels run even within her own oeuvre: A childhood drawing of an eerily alone child, standing in a sea of negative

Brazilian artist Thais Beltrame works from a lift to sketch a tree at the Art Association on Monday. Im trying to do a very loose presentation of a whitebark pine tree, she said.


Watercolor stalwart rounds up local artists for show

Who: Nearly 30 local watercolorists What: Midwinter Watercolor Magic show When: Reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday; show hangs through Feb. 11 Where: Theater Gallery, Center for the Arts How much: Free By Katy Niner Just as no two signatures are exactly alike, no two peoples paintings are the same. This famous Fred Kingwill-ism shapes the watercolor show he has curated for the Art Associations Theater Gallery. Art as an avenue for individual and personal expression is what he finds so exciting about the creative process. To celebrate Kingwills 30-year tenure teaching watercolor painting at the Art Association, the nonprofit offered him a solo show. Echoing his credo that art is something you share, he decided to share the wall space with his friends. Eschewing competition, he issued invitations, and some 30 artists accepted. True to its title, Kingwill wanted the exhibit to stimulate the midwinter watercolor magic that lies within the valley. The show represents a creative cross section of the community. Some participants are professional painters, while some pursue other types of careers in addition to being creative. We are very excited, because it is a communitywide showing of all sorts of artists the people in our community who do all sorts of things but are also artists, Kingwill said. This sentiment echoes another Kingwill-ism, uttered to each one of his students: No matter what you do in life, I will forever think of you as artists. Lawyers, acupuncturists, teachers, writers and art administrators have contributed two paintings each, as have mainstays of Jackson arts like Greg McHuron and Georgie Morgan. The group is the community, Kingwill said. Some people paint every day, some paint occasionally. Those who dusted off their watercolor paints for the show have felt some stress. I dont know whether to kiss you or kill you is a refrain Kingwill heard several times since sending invitations. Even Kingwill felt the pressure. He painted many more scenes than the two he chose to display: a new painting of the old clock tower at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and another of Firehole Falls in Yellowstone National Park, a piece he selected because it utilizes many different watercolor techniques and says something special about winter.
See WATERCOLOR on 12 Tina Closes Losing It is in the show.