Amy Lay

Cre­ative free­dom

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - AMY LAY

In her Au­gust solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Moun­tain Trails Gallery in Jack­son, Wy­oming, Amy Lay presents wildlife paint­ings that burst with en­ergy, move­ment and the per­son­al­i­ties of the crea­tures. They also high­light her jour­ney in be­com­ing freer with her work. She elab­o­rates, “[I am be­com­ing freer] in the line draw­ing, in the use of color and an over­all de­sire to move away from photo ref­er­ence and draw from my own cre­ativ­ity as a ref­er­ence. I feel I can be more cre­ative and braver as an artist by let­ting go of the con­straint of photo ref­er­ence.”

One of her lat­est pieces, The Stag and The Steller’s Jay, is an ideal ex­am­ple of the di­rec­tion Lay wants her art to take. She says, “[I want

to show] the join­ing of dif­fer­ent species of an­i­mals and their en­vi­ron­ment and how they flow and com­mu­ni­cate in their en­vi­ron­ments. I love to cre­ate lines of graphite and char­coal, which can join an­i­mals to­gether to cre­ate strong en­ergy. I also en­joy com­bin­ing el­e­ments that we don’t nec­es­sar­ily see hap­pen in na­ture, like elk and jays danc­ing. I think, why not? I don’t think my job as an artist is to nec­es­sar­ily be a nat­u­ral­ist; that’s al­ready been done. I feel my job is to bring us all closer to an­i­mals, more as a vis­ual sto­ry­teller.”

Lay also will harken back to older con­cepts, such as the land­scape Re­newal in Red. “I spent some time in my early 20s work­ing for the U.S. For­est Ser­vice as a wild­land fire­fighter and dur­ing that time, I was for­tu­nate enough to see both the de­struc­tive and cre­ative qual­i­ties of a for­est fire,” she ex­plains. “Not too many things in this world are as pow­er­ful and beau­ti­ful to me. Now, as a wildlife artist, the en­ergy of a fire is the an­i­mal and I love that it has the abil­ity to cre­ate and re­new. Re­newal in Red is a land­scape which is alive but has so many dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions.”

Sev­eral smaller-scale pieces are in the show as well, in­clud­ing Lit­tle Antlers. These works are based on “cre­at­ing quick, en­er­getic ges­tures of an­i­mals to re­ally high­light their per­son­al­ity,” Lay shares. “I love small pieces for this rea­son; they are more rem­i­nis­cent of a sketch. There’s just more en­ergy in a small space.”

Lay’s ex­hi­bi­tion will be on view Au­gust 15 to 23, with a re­cep­tion from 5 to 8 p.m. on Au­gust 16.

For a di­rect link to the ex­hibit­ing gallery go to www.west­ernart­col­lec­

The Stag and The Steller’s Jays, oil and char­coal on can­vas, 72 x 36” Lit­tle Antlers, oil, 12 x 9”

Top: Guardian and His Ghost, oil, 40 x 30” Right: Lit­tle Fire Fox, oil, 20 x 20”

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