Carli Holcomb turned the back of her late grandfather’s pickup into a camper for an adventure a couple of years ago in the Canadian Rockies that would inspire her art. That’s where she fell in love with the milky-blue of the glacial silt-filled lakes.
Every night, she’d watch the moon rise and the waves crash and pull back to reveal rocks, fallen trees and sand she wouldn’t have seen beneath the opaque water.
“And I just thought that was so powerful and so mysterious,” she said.
She describes her show “By the Light of the Moon,” on display through August at Scarlow’s Gallery in downtown Casper, as “a mediation on thresholds, edges, lines and the spaces where one thing shifts to become another,” in her artist statement.
No reception is planned because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Holcomb has talked with people about her work at Scarlow’s Art & Coffee.
“I’m happy to meet anybody who wants to chat and just have a cup of coffee and experience the exhibition,” she said.
Thresholds have long been a repeated element in Holcomb’s art throughout her career with highlights including the cover of Metalsmith Magazine, a mention in the New York Times and teaching at Casper College. She draws inspiration from her home state of Wyoming, travels abroad and experiences out in landscapes.
She created most of the pieces for her latest show in the spring and summer amid the isolation of the pandemic, which felt like a boundary in a sense, she explained. The art has a lot to do with wanderlust.
“I was really thinking about that idea of separation and thinking more about the poetic memories of traveling and actually getting to see new things, and that sort of feeling of awe when you are experiencing something new,” she said.
‘By the Light of the Moon’
Holcomb spent about a month exploring the Canadian Rockies with her best friend. But when one lives in a truck with another person for a month, they need to take some time for themselves, too.
“My ritual was always to kind of sit by the lake shore and watch the moon rise,” she said, “And I just fell so in love with that kind of slow pace of life and life on the road.”
Crossing a boundary or a threshold has long held spiritual meaning for the artist.
“And that’s what really inspired thinking about this exhibition, is just that relationship between the water and the shorelines, and just edge lines in particular, even watching the moon come up above a horizon, that was crossing a threshold,” she said.
“By the Light of the Moon” includes direct monoprints and experimental pieces she created by hand-cutting paper into elaborate patterns and placing them over monoprint backgrounds of layered ink. She begins with an X-Acto knife and no drawing or even a plan.