Mike Piggott | i've never been here before

15 Oct - 28 Nov 2021

TAYLOE PIGGOTT GALLERY is pleased to present ‘i've never been here before’, an exhibition of oil paintings and iPad print drawings by local artist Mike Piggott on view from Friday, October 15th through Sunday, November 28th, 2021. 


With a rich understanding of art history, Piggott creates compelling and curiously biographical works that document the qualities of life in the American West that span old and new. The works nod to folk art and faux naïf, while toying with two-dimensional abstraction and color-field painting approaches. Mike Piggott’s images bring a haunting air even as they are pleasantly nostalgic—a celebration of nature and humanity rendered in paint.


When Mike Piggott arrived in the Snake River Valley he drove in from Grand Teton National Park in the North and stopped at the lookout very close to where Ansel Adams took his famous photo of the Tetons. A bald eagle soared through the air and Piggott knew something was afoot. Once convinced painting en plein air in the national park was somehow too conventional (even pedestrian for his taste) Piggott recently conceded that his flat-out refusal to paint the Tetons for so many years excites him to capture the landscape even more.


“I mean, hell, they’re why I’m still here, he says. “I’ve tried to ignore them for years, but I just can’t.”


As such, ‘i’ve never been here before’ reflects a deep-seated sense of place, a kind of colloquial sonnet to these gargantuan gneiss and granite monuments, and to the Wydaho lifestyle local settlers have sought for over a century on both sides of the Tetons. Compositionally, the spatiality reflects something very much intrinsic to the romantic notions of the American West. In the large-scale diptych painting titled Rendezvous, the Teton Range rises up to frame two riders, male and female, their mounts nose to nose amid a vast swath of green under a brilliant blue sky. It’s a meeting imbued with purpose, yet one which remains a mystery.


There is a mercurial fascination with the fragility of life that Piggott communicates with his deft brushstrokes. He admits that he likes to skirt the mysteries and complexities of life for which we have few words that never seem to define the experienced sensations. He conveys this with his shadowy figures, be they ice skaters or cowgirls, desolate or cozy cabins, and with the adumbrations of lakes or streams. Inspired by diverse forebears like Milton Avery and David Hockney, Piggott doesn’t just paint—he plays with perspective and color, both in paint and printmaking, and more recently with his breakthrough iPad drawings.


Mike Piggott was born in 1963 in Charlottesville, Virginia. He received his BA at Virginia Commonwealth University and studied at the Winchester College of Art, Winchester, England.  Mike Piggott has had numerous solo exhibitions at the Tayloe Piggott Gallery, Jackson, WY, the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center, Lynchburg, VA, and at the Neapolitan Gallery, Richmond, VA, and participated in various group exhibitions.  Mike Piggott lives and works in Victor, Idaho.