JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited (JHTU) and the Diehl Gallery have announced that a new solo exhibition titled Trout by contemporary Canadian painter Les Thomas will benefit Trout Unlimited’s local conservation efforts.
The exhibition opens on Friday, September 11 during the Fall Arts Festival and will be available for viewing through October 31. A portion of the proceeds from each piece sold during this time will benefit JHTU’s on-the-ground projects through the Snake River Headwaters Initiative.
Award-winning artist Les Thomas is a Diehl Gallery favorite who was originally introduced to the Jackson art scene 10 years ago. Born in British Columbia and educated at the University College in London, England and the University of Calgary in Canada, Thomas is inspired by a wide variety of visual sources for the imagery in his work.
His dynamic wax & oil animal paintings allow him to play with the relationship between culture and nature.
For his new show, which will be unveiled during the 2020 Fall Arts Festival, he has drawn inspiration from an animal subject that is at the same time familiar and elusive to him as both an avid angler and artist: trout.
Thomas only recently began to feature fish in his work. For this show, he drew particular interest in the connections between the rise of photography in the 1850s and the rise of trout farms during the same time frame, as well as the challenge of depicting an animal that is the most vibrant under water.
“My paintings are usually built up, and in layers,” said Thomas. “I work primarily from photographs. I think about this as it pertains to my studio work, much in the same way an angler might ‘read’ the surface of a river or stream, in order to get some idea as to what lies beneath.”
“I derive a certain amount of information from photography, until reading that surface will no longer suffice. Then I have reached a point of departure, whereas I have to rely on my abilities to translate a printed image, and then move into deeper waters by trying to recognize what an artwork needs from me.”
The Diehl Gallery typically works with featured artists to collaborate with and support local nonprofits that align with the artists’ interest or works. Portions of the proceeds from collectors that purchase a piece of art during the Les Thomas: Trout show will be donated directly to the show’s nonprofit beneficiary, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited.
“Once we heard Les’ concept for the show, we felt as if Trout Unlimited was a natural choice for the nonprofit,” said Jesse Cole, Diehl Gallery sales manager. “The amount of thought and research he did on his quest to complete this exhibition shows within the work. Les Thomas: Trout will make any angler stop and want to take a deep look.”
The show will therefore directly support JHTU’s local conservation work to restore habitat and reconnect streams for Snake River cutthroat trout in the Upper Snake and Salt River watersheds projects through the Snake River Headwaters Initiative, which includes eight active projects.
“We are incredibly grateful to Les Thomas, the Diehl Gallery and private collectors for this opportunity to highlight and support JHTU’s conservation work for our local trout,” said Tote Turner, JHTU President. “It’s a beautiful show, a unique and colorful perspective on trout that we hope art collectors and anglers alike will take the time to explore.”
The Les Thomas: Trout show is available for private viewing by appointment from September 11 through October 31, as well as during the Fall Arts Festival Art Walk from 11 a.m-1 p.m. on Sunday, September 20.
Masks are required for entry into the gallery and are available for guests that do not have their own. To arrange a private viewing (small groups of up to six are allowed), please contact Jesse Cole at (307) 733-0905 or [email protected]. The exhibition will also be available virtually on the Diehl Gallery website.
Those wishing to support JHTU with a direct donation can also make a gift through Old Bill’s Fun Run to “Trout Unlimited – Jackson Hole Chapter” until September 18.