Joshua Tobey & Ewoud de Groot

Mod­ern aes­thet­ics


Asum­mer­time tra­di­tion at As­to­ria Fine Art in Jack­son, Wy­oming, is its an­nual Fourth of July show­case fea­tur­ing the con­tem­po­rary wildlife of sculp­tor Joshua Tobey and painter Ewoud de Groot. While work­ing in dif­fer­ent medi­ums, the artists high­light their in­ter­est in the nat­u­ral world through el­e­ments such as fluid forms and vi­brant col­ors to el­e­vate their pieces be­yond clas­sic aes­thet­ics.

Tobey, who grew up in his fa­ther’s sculp­ture stu­dio in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, says he be­gan sculpt­ing wildlife when he re­al­ized he could re­veal as­pects of the hu­man con­di­tion through an­i­mals. “My work is smooth, and there­fore I spend a lot of time on each sculp­ture. Sculp­ture be­gins with shape—one of my fa­ther’s prin­ci­ple lessons,” he shares. “The sculp­ture sub­ject and the com­po­si­tion are the other el­e­ments that cre­ate a nice sculp­ture. The sec­ond part of my cre­ative process is the patina. I have al­ways loved pati­nas and color. I de­sign all of my patina com­po­si­tions for my work, and I do a lot of the pati­nas on my work my­self.”

Among his pieces in the show is Joy of Life, which was in­spired by the preda­tor char­ac­ter­is­tics of the fox. In this sculp­ture, the fox is de­picted in a pre­cise mo­ment in time as

it jumps to catch its prey. “Foxes hunt mice by lis­ten­ing for them in the grass and then jump­ing high in the air to land where the mouse is. I think the ca­nines ex­hibit the joy of the hunt like no other preda­tor,” says Tobey. “Us­ing this amaz­ing tech­nique and awe­some sub­ject of the fox, I wanted to cre­ate a ver­ti­cal sculp­ture that de­picted both the joy of life from the fox’s per­spec­tive and a ver­ti­cal com­po­si­tion that would be dy­namic from any an­gle.”

De Groot’s wildlife paint­ings dis­play his in­ter­est in a pain­terly aes­thetic by “cre­at­ing an at­mos­phere whereby the sub­ject, a bird, is painted more real­is­ti­cally and the back­ground has a more loose or ab­stract feel­ing to it,” he says. “It’s this at­mos­phere but also a ten­sion be­tween the en­vi­ron­ment and the sub­ject that I’m in­ter­ested in.”

Grow­ing up in the Nether­lands, waders and wa­ter­fowl have been con­stant in­spi­ra­tions for de Groot. The avian crea­tures along­side the wa­ter and the ef­fects of light against the two sub­jects have long ap­peared in his paint­ings. “Later I started ex­plor­ing ways to paint move­ment, as in the owl paint­ings, which is a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the serene, rest­ing birds in the wa­ter, of course,” de Groot shares. “For my show at As­to­ria, I will mix these two styles.”

This year’s ex­hi­bi­tion will take place July 1 to 10. Greg Ful­ton, owner of the gallery says, “Not only does Joshua Tobey un­veil his new sculp­ture for the year at our show, but Ewoud de Groot brings an in­ter­na­tional fol­low­ing. Put­ting these two ex­cit­ing artists to­gether has proven to be an amaz­ing draw for the gallery.”

Joshua Tobey, Go with the Flow, bronze, 20 x 63 x 13”

Ewoud de Groot, Tak­ing Off II, oil, 43 x 43”

Ewoud de Groot, Rest­ing Avo­cets II, oil, 43 x 43”

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