A new exhibit is brightening up the walls at the Center for the Arts. Carrie Geraci, an artist and the director of Jackson Hole Public Art, is bringing her new collection, titled “Where have you been?,” to the Center’s hallway, right off the main lobby.
An opening reception will be held at the Center from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, in conjunction with the Art Association’s Holiday Makers Market. Geraci joined us in the KHOL studios ahead of the reception to discuss what inspired the collection.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity. It was recorded on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Hanna Merzbach/KHOL: You’ve described your work as a surprising juxtaposition of color that reveals moments in time. How would you describe this collection in particular?
Carrie Geraci: This is really a couple bodies of work. Two summers ago, I started working on a series of trees that were backlit, and there are a couple larger paintings from that series. And then I am a plein-air painter, so I go out in the summer with my big hat on, stand by the side of the road in the sun and paint a lot of scenes. So, there are a lot of local ranches and some of our favorite recreating places. And really it’s just all of the places I’ve been, favorite swimming holes, things like that. So, really this body of work started a couple of years ago during the pandemic. I decided that my heart was really aching to be making art again. And so I made a promise to myself that I would start dedicating a lot more time to art making. And that’s what I’ve been doing.
KHOL: You have another role as the leader of Jackson Hole Public Art, a nonprofit which commissions public art in Jackson. How do you balance producing your own work while also running this nonprofit?
Geraci: Well, that was part of my realization during the pandemic. We have offices here in the Center for the Arts, the public art program, and everyone around me is multi-talented. I just saw that people have their work, their day-to-day creative director work, and then they also have their artistic work that they’re very dedicated to. And those people were very inspiring to me, in addition to a lot of other locals that wear many hats and are multi-talented. My children are older now, and I just was really inspired to get back at it. So, the public art program is amazing and we have a great team, and I really focus on my art after work and on the weekends.
KHOL: Your new exhibit is titled “Where have you been?” Where does that title come from?
Geraci: Well, it comes from two places. One is where have I been the last 10 years because I used to show in Jackson as an artist, and over the past 10 or 15 years, I had younger children that were graduating from high school. I really wanted to focus on being there at their basketball games and really supporting them. So, that is one of the places where that title was pretty literal. And then I also grew up with a father who was a Bob Dylan fanatic. And “Where have you been my blue-eyed son” is one of the first lines in one of his really quintessential songs [Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall]. It resonates, as much of his work does, with where we are right now in terms of how the world is going, how the environment is changing. And these paintings are also hopefully about helping people remember that our actions can have a really enormous impact. We are teeny tiny and the environment around us is so big and beautiful and powerful, and we really have to live in balance with that and be more respectful and thoughtful and try to be small and not be so big on the environment.
KHOL: What do you hope viewers take away from your exhibit?
Geraci: What I hope they take away is just really a smile, to feel happy, to feel the warmth of the color that’s on the walls, to maybe remember a spot that they haven’t visited in a long time and put that back on their list of little recreation spots to go to. But mostly just to feel good looking at some different and new, fresh perspectives from somebody who’s lived here a long time.