Dustin Van Wechel & Bonnie Marris: A Wild Encounter
September 1 - 30, Open House: September 16, 4-7pm
Jackson, Wyoming
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Press release

Trailside Galleries is pleased to present “ A Wild Encounter,” a show of all new works featuring acclaimed wildlife painters Bonnie Marris and Dustin Van Wechel.  The show coincides with the annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, when the town of Jackson Hole welcomes a great number of collectors, magazine editors, museum curators and fine art enthusiasts.  Both painters will be in attendance during the reception which is scheduled for Saturday, September 16 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm.   Each artist will introduce a collection of 8-10 new works created specifically for this event. 

From the time she was a child, Michigan based Bonnie Marris had an affinity for drawing and was particularly drawn to animals.  Although she pursued art classes in college, she eventually earned a Masters degree in Zoology and animal behavior, but she never veered far from her dream to pursue an art career.  Over time, her photorealistic paintings of wolves, foxes, bears and various other wildlife began to garner attention. Marris particularly credits workshops taken with renowned sculptor Ed Fraughton throughout the 1990’s for helping her to learn how to bring her paintings to life.  She also cites British painter and preservationist, David Shepherd, as her hero and mentor.

As of late, Marris’ work, while still realistic, has taken a more painterly, loose approach, which she says comes from the confidence and self-assurance to leave things out and create an illusion of detail. In an article featured in Southwest Art magazine she notes, “When your skill begins to meet your vision, then you can leave out detail.  In doing so, you can make the illusion of detail and make it even stronger than if you had painted the minutiae.”

Since leaving a successful career in advertising to pursue fine art on a full time basis, Dustin Van Wechel has rapidly ascended to the top in the genre of wildlife painting. As a young boy growing up in Arizona, trips with his father into the high country instilled a deep love of the mountains and appreciation for nature, the environment and the animals.

Influenced by such iconic wildlife artists as Carl Rungius, Bob Kuhn, Tucker Smith and Ken Carlson, it is clear Van Wechel has a very thorough understanding of his subject matter in addition to excellent drawing skills, bold, painterly brushwork and a strong sense of design.

The newest works by Van Wechel are inspired by his many treks through the Northern Rocky Mountains.  Focusing primarily on large North American mammals, the paintings for this show will be narrative in nature, conveying the stories of the landscape and wildlife of the region.  He notes, “I want the paintings to be intimate, presenting the viewer with a portrayal of the subject matter and ideas in each painting that they could, in some capacity, connect with emotionally.”

Since 1963, Trailside Galleries of Jackson, Wyoming and Scottsdale, Arizona has been regarded as one of the pre-eminent dealers in American representational art, specializing in a rich and varied collection of works by the leading western, wildlife, figurative, impressionist, and landscape artists in the country. The artist roster includes members of the Cowboy Artists of America, National Academy of Design, Oil Painters of America, Plein-Air Painters of America, Prix De West, Society of Animal Artists, National Sculpture Society and Masters of the American West.