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First Friday Artwalk gets icy at W Gallery

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — This month’s First Friday Artwalk features a new exhibit at W Gallery — seven images from artist JC Buck’s series, “The Ice Collection,” will be on display beginning Friday through the end of May.

Buck, a Denver- and Silverthorne-based photographer, recalls his ice series coming about randomly in 2019.

“I had set out to explore Lake Dillon, and the lake had just frozen over,” he said. “The ice was thick enough that I figured I could attempt to walk out on it.”



Being born and raised in Minnesota, Buck had some experience with frozen lakes. He walked several feet offshore and looked down to study the new winter ice.

“I was impressed by the details, the cracks, the bubbles between my boots,” he said. “It was equally as beautiful as the expansive landscape around me. An entire world I had never really paid much attention to revealed itself to me.”



He began taking pictures of ice and became increasingly fascinated by it. Ice, he points out, is many things — damaging, deadly, broken, but at the same time, beautiful, magical and serene.

In 2020 when the world stopped due to COVID-19, the ice collection took on a deeper meaning for Buck.

If you go

What: The Ice Collection: photographs by JC Buck

When: On display beginning Friday, April 2, through the end of May

Where: W Gallery, 115 Ninth St.

“The ice symbolized the slowing down, the coming to a stop, but still so full of life, just more contemplative and still,” he said. “Then, come spring, it will melt just as we hope the world around us begins to wake into its normal self again.”

Buck solely shoots in black and white, saying monochromatic photography is timeless and both modern and nostalgic at the same time.

“I aim to subtract in my compositions from realism, towards the abstract, and by removing color, I am one step away from reality,” Buck said.

He was introduced to photography in a high school darkroom film class and was instantly hooked. As a child, he found himself drawn to art and creating, but it took years, he said, for his career to circle back to the creativity of his childhood. The first decade of his adult working life was spent in the corporate world after studying business in both undergraduate and graduate school.

But eight years ago, he decided to make a career change and opened his photography studio.

“It has been the best decision of my life to work as an artist,” he said.

Buck met W Gallery owner Katherine Kiefer through social media; this is his first exhibit at the gallery.

Other new exhibits

This month’s First Friday Artwalk will also include several new additions:

• New downtown gallery Zanobia Shalks Fine Art features Shalks’ paintings of aspens and local scenes.

• Gallery 89 will display new work from local artist Kathryn Fresques.

• Audrey Bortz will be the featured artist this month at the Depot Art Center, and the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition will be featured in the center’s Bliss Hall.


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