POWELL, WYO. — Sculptor Linda Raynolds and photographer Elijah Cobb are two local artists whose works are likely to be familiar to anyone tracking the art scene around Park County over the last two decades.
Raynolds is acclaimed for her flowing and organic sculptures of horses and other animals, rendered in an elegant and simple style that focuses on curves and flowing forms. Cobb is known for photographs that capture other-worldly scenes using the interplay of color and light, often projected onto animal bones.
But despite their regular contributions to Wyoming’s art world, the married couple have never staged a joint showing of their art.
“I guess the simple answer is no one had ever asked us before,” said Cobb, who also works as a commercial photographer specializing in studio product images.
“In terms of space, a show like this works well, because we can show off both the ‘wallpaper’ and the ‘doorstops,'” with the works divided among wall and floor space, Raynolds said.
Their show, Double-Take, runs through March 26 at Plaza Diane in Powell.
Making a living as an artist can be tough anywhere, but especially challenging in small-town Wyoming.
“Brick-and-mortar galleries have been really suffering in most parts of the country, and we’ve had a lot of galleries open and then close here in Cody,” Raynolds said.
The art world has faced challenges following the 2008 financial crisis, as well as from changes the Internet has brought in how art is bought and sold.
Like most artists anywhere, not just in Cody, Raynolds and Cobb look for other ways to help pay the bills. They started Stone Soup Studios more than a decade ago, offering rental spaces where sculptors, painters and other artists can work and collaborate.
They were the first people in Cody to spin their electric meter backwards, using solar panels to power Stone Soup,. They later added a solar water heater, and even a makeshift passive solar chicken solarium made from double-paned sliding glass doors.
The chickens, a source of entertainment, food and barter for the couple, also show up as subjects in works by both artists.
Neither artist creates works that fit the traditional mold of “Western art” for which Cody is best known. But their efforts are informed by the animals and landscapes found just east of Yellowstone National Park.
While there is potential for Cody to grow a reputation beyond its traditional Western art framework, part of the challenge lies in how the town is different from year-round resort destinations like Jackson or Aspen, Colo., Cobb said.
“If you’re an artist in Cody, it’s necessary to reach beyond the community to build up a clientele,” he said. “But I’ve come to the generalized realization that I like what I do, and think it has some value—even if I’ve never found a big market for it.”
“Luckily, we don’t make our livings on our artwork, because we wear various other hats. But that’s a lifestyle choice worth making, because we like living here,” Cobb said.
If You Go…
Double Take: Sculpture and Photography by Linda Raynolds and Elijah Cobb, runs through March 26 at Plaza Diane, 211 Bent St., in Powell. Visit plazadiane.org for details.
Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].