In their first two-person exhibition since Touchstone Laramie 2004, artist Wendy Lemen Bredehoft and photographer Susan Moldenhauer presented their most recent work in a new gallery space in Laramie, WY called SΘK (soak). The two-day pop-up style exhibition, NEW WORK: Wendy Lemen Bredehoft and Susan Moldenhauer, followed the tradition of the biennial Touchstone Laramie presented by the Laramie Artist Project with an invitation-only opening and two days of public viewing.
The artists’ 2004 exhibition was presented in the Horse Barn of the Wyoming Territorial Park, the site of the historic Wyoming Territorial Prison. The impulse for Bredehoft and Moldenhauer to present their work in an alternative gallery space was that both were arts administrators; Bredehoft was the Director of Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources and Moldenhauer was the Director of the University of Wyoming Art Museum. As such neither were able to present their work in the organizations they ran. But both were practicing artists and it became important to become known in that way also.
The exhibition garnered a great deal of attention which led Bredehoft and Moldenhauer to explore ways that might create new opportunities for other practicing artists in the Laramie / Albany County area. In 2006 the first Touchstone Laramie was presented at the then Ramada Inn motel, where 20+ artists transformed as many hotel rooms into individual gallery spaces. The Laramie Artist Project, an all-artist all-volunteer collaborative, was formed.
The Laramie Artist Project has continued to present Touchstone Laramie as a biennial exhibition ever since and until COVID-19 arrived. The 2020 version of the exhibition became an online-only adventure as the artists tried to learn and adapt to a virtual exhibition format. With the lingering pandemic, the artists decided not to present an in-person event in 2022 and will be convening in the weeks ahead to explore the future of Touchstone Laramie.
It is noteworthy that the Laramie community truly embraced the Laramie Artist Project with their financial support which made it all possible. The Wyoming Arts Council and Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund have also been continual funders.
For Bredehoft and Moldenhauer, 2022 seemed like an important time to find a new space and a new way to present their current work. And how fortunate that Bob Moore of Right Angle Rehab has been working on a line of contemporary tables made by reimagining old doors for new purposes and has been transforming his storefront on S 2nd St into a showroom called SΘK Gallery. What an honor for NEW WORK to be its inaugural exhibition.