J GO’s ‘Winter Sol’ is the gallery’s biggest exhibit of the year | ParkRecord.com

J GO’s ‘Winter Sol’ is the gallery’s biggest exhibit of the year

Show features paintings, sculptures and multi-media

Winter has arrived and J GO Gallery will celebrate with the "Winter Sol" exhibit that opens Friday.

The annual show will feature new works created by the gallery's artists, said sculptor Curtis Olson, who co-owns the gallery with Jude Grenney.

"This is the biggest show of the year and we really curate and work hard to get significant, great pieces from each artist," Olson said. "That's what's fun about this show."

Olson created three new works for the exhibit.

"They are all individual sculptures, but can work together," he said. "I often work in series and groups at a time because I feel like the pieces communicate with each other even though they are not a triptych or diptych when they are hung in a gallery."

The round sculptures play with relationships between shapes, which represent objects of power.

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"I explore the idea of circles within squares and then use color to divide the works in half," Olson said. "That's really interesting to me."

The individual works measure three 3 by 3 feet, and can put placed together to make a larger 9-by0 work.

"When I start a work, I come up with the concept and go through different versions in my head, but the finished works never come out the way I pictured," Olson said, laughing. "The reason is that while I do try to control the process, there ends up being a lot of accidents as well. So, the pieces end up having a natural look that happens by chance."

All of Olson's art juxtaposes precision and roughness, and he'll carve deep grooves in the plaster to distress the work.

"I'll make a mark and then I respond to that mark with a different mark and so forth," he said. "That's how the piece evolves."

Olson's creative method doesn't just include one piece at a time.

"I work on so many different projects at once and having all of these things in various stages of completion affects my process," he said.

The thing that keeps Olson working is curiosity.

"I never know what the piece will look like after each stage," he said. "I'll have an idea, but never really knows what it will look like after I sand it or add a color.

"It's always a surprise," Olson said. "It's like seeing what's around the corner."

Ragland's abstracts inspired by travels

In addition to Olson's sculptures, former Park City resident Greg Ragland, who has lived in Ivins for the past three years, will show two new paintings — a diptych, or a two-panel pice, called "Avignon France" and a horizontal called "Park City" — in the show.

The works mark a departure for Ragland.

"'Park City' is 36 inches by 64 inches, so it's a little different than what I generally do, which is a square format," he said. "The diptych is comprised of two paintings that measure 27 inches by 18 inches."

Both works abstracts were inspired by Ragland's travels.

"There was a variety of places we went, and we stayed in some places for an extended amount of time, but the thing that I noticed that made each place similar, was the time of day when the sun was either setting or rising," he said. "At those times, the sky was light and the landscape was dark. It seemed to like the scenes were in black and white and I wanted to capture that in an abstract and gestural way, like how Franz Kline did his art back in the old days, and then add my own twist with some color."

The medium for both pieces is acrylic-based, but also features elements of multi media.

"The surfaces are more developed than in the past because I have created textures on paper and other materials and attached them to the canvas by laying paint over them," Ragland said. "Once I attach the textures, I layer over them more or I scrape back to reveal the color through the other paint.

"I also did them in a way that if you wanted to, you could turn the paintings on their sides and they would still work as abstract works," he said.

Jay Kelly's works tell stories

Like Greg Ragland, Jay Kelly did two new pieces for the Winter Sol show.

Unlike Ragland, Kelly's works are created out of torn pieces of paper from books, magazines, newspapers and different found materials.

"These the two works are from the torn-paper series," Kelly said, "and unlike some of my past works, there isn't anything political in them."

"I had the thought of what I wanted to do and finished them up last week," he added.

One work, called "The Vanishing," is a depiction of a wolf.

"It's part of a wildlife series that I'm doing," Kelly said. "The materials I used were from classic novels and writings: more subdued texts from Homer, Hemmingway and I think I've got [Jack London's] 'Call of the Wild' in there."

Kelly also used passages from outdoor magazines from the 1960s.

"I've got a whole collection of Field & Stream and some old hunting magazines," he said. "I like turning those things into animals."

Kelly usually finds the title of the work in the clips he uses.

"I won't know what the title of a piece will be until I go through the work and find a passage or combination of words that stick out to me," he said.

The artist came up with the torn-paper idea years ago when he was a painter.

"When I first started out dabbling in paint, I worked with a couple of people who taught at art school," Kelly said. "Since I'm a self-taught artist, I would ask them about artists I should be aware of."

Kelly would hear about artists such as Edward Ruscha and Robert Rauschenberg.

"I would do my own little course on art by reading textbooks and history books and if I came across something that inspired me, I would cut it out and stick in on my canvas," he said. "I started liking the way that looked and began doing that more and painting over the things that I stuck on the canvas."

Eventually, Kelly got rid of the paint altogether.

"I hate paint brushes and I hate cleaning things," he said with a laugh. "And working with something tactile was appealing to me.

"Years later, I've sort of honed the craft and got them to the point where they are verging on the realistic at 10 feet away," he said. "Then when you get up close, you can see they are all made out of paper."

"Winter SOL," a multi-artist visual art exhibit, and "Sparkle," a multi-jewler show, will open simultaneously with an artist reception from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 30, at J GO Gallery, 408 Main St. For more information, visit http://www.jgogallery.com.