The bare naked truth about Telluride Arts‘ First Thursday Art Walk is that the August 2nd event is PG 13-rated. Or at least some of it is. Head over to the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art to see what I am talking about.

Art Walk marks the opening of a show of sensuous nudes featuring oil painter Malcolm Liepke, and iconic photographers Jerry Ueslmann and Ruth Bernhard (1905 – 2006).

Liepke’s shows are always doozies. The artist is an unrivaled recorder of feminine beauty, luscious and uncensored. His richly textured canvases celebrate pulchritude in the fleshy forms of a harem of models who tend to confront us with come-hither looks that would melt steel. Liepke is known to quote a legend scrawled on the back of a Rembrandt: “I yield to no one.” But we, the spectators in the thrall of his sirens yield once again to the artist’s smoldering brush.

Uelsmann is widely considered one of the great masters of modern photography, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Steichen, Stieglitz, Kertesz, Adams, White and Cunningham. In his signature work, myth and reality, fact and fiction, achieve detente, peacefully coexisting in visual poems that somehow manage to display both gravitas and a palpable joie de vivre. The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art is also part of an exclusive fraternity: one of only eight galleries in the country selected to represent the Uelsmann’s compositions, work as emotionally and psychologically enticing as it is technically flawless.

A chance meeting with Edward Weston on a California beach in 1935 marked the turning point in Ruth Bernhard’s life. After seeing Weston’s objective yet personal images, Bernhard understood for the first time that photography was more than a seminal medium for the 20th century. It was also a legitimate form of fine art. From then on, Bernhard’s art imitated her life. Discovery excited her and got her to focus (literally). Rediscovery through the lens created an image that duplicated all she saw and felt. Photography became Bernhard’s language. In the 1950s and into the 1960s, the artist began to pursue her twin passions: the study of the nude body and teaching, but each luminous print is a testimony to her real subject, light, which she used to refer  to as “my paint, my brush.”

“Light,” Bernhard once told me in an interview, “caresses the essential superlative curves and lines. It is the essence of this planet and the thing that makes visible what your reason is for photographing a subject in the first place.”

During Art Walk, in addition to the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, venues all over town are open their doors from 5 – 8 p.m. to introduce new exhibitions and artists. The following are a few examples of what’s in store at this month’s meet and greet.

In the Daniel Tucker Gallery at the Ah Haa School for the Arts, works by acclaimed British photographer Michael Ward are on display through September 28, a joint venture with Shot Images of Chicago. Ward had an uncanny eye for news and social commentary. His work captured the mood of Britain from the 1950s to the 1980s. This exhibition features over 40 of Ward’s most famous photographs including, actors, writers, painters and politicians, as well as rarely seen pictures of The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Queen Elizabeth. This summer marks the first time Ward’s work has been exhibited in the United States since he passed away in April 2011.

Gallery 81435 hosts a colorful exhibit for the month of August with a dynamic exhibit that is all about texture, shape and color: oils by Margaret Hixon-Griffith are complemented by the exquisite ceramic sculptures of Goedele Vanhille. An exciting, brand new 9’ tall mixed media hanging sculpture about flight and freedom by Flair Robinson, “Fly Away Home,” is also on display. And continued this month are the captivating wire and fabric hanging pods, or cocoons, by Judy Kohin, entitled “Family”.

Lustre, an Artisan Gallery, hosts a very special trunk show featuring the art nouveau jewels of Lluis Masriera, the precious gemstones of James Breski and contemporary enamels of Bagues from Barcelona. Art Walk is the kick off the show, at Lustre Gallery through Sunday.

“Each of these artists is part of our permanent collection, and this show is a favorite for the wide collection of art jewels presented” says gallery owner, Christine Reich.

The Steaming Bean hosts a show by former Telluride local Karla Van Huysen Trapp. The show, “Saints and Sinners,” reveals a wide variety of human emotions captured on small, brightly colored paintings done in watercolor and acrylic. The faces in the 37 portraits are meant to embody the challenges of everyday life.

Stronghouse Studios & Local Artist Gallery features “Cloud Series, new painting by Corinne Scheman.

“Recently, I’ve been intrigued by painting something intangible and making it solid on the canvas. You can walk thorough a cloud, there is nothing there, just vapor. My challenge was to keep the atmospheric quality but also bring the viewer to the surface of the canvas at the same time by keeping the quality of paint visible. I wanted to focus on the beauty of the variable light, shape and ethereal quality of clouds; create work that is soft, light and dreamy. My goal was to get lost in the paint, the colors and the clouds.”

Attend a Fireside Chat on the subject of “Weird & Notorious Telluride with authors Carol Turner and Charmaine Ortega-Getz at the Telluride Historical Museum. Works by another painter in the stable of the Telluride Gallery of Fine, Robert Weatherford, (also a popular teacher at Ah Haa), are on display too. The chat begins at 5:30 p.m.

Tweed Interiors is pleased to host local artist Ally Crilly’s new paintings of birds.

“I started with elephants. This series is birds. I still like to capture an expression in them. They are not human, but I still manage to feel some emotion from the birds as I did with the elephants. It’s nice to contemplate another species. Painting is a long full journey. I’m learning to make it a practice. When the flow is happening, I know I’m supposed to paint. When it’s not, it’s excruciating. I’m learning to paint regardless and wait for the moments that it makes sense in, and just ride the rest of them out. I’m also learning to do this in my life.”

At the Wilkinson Public Library, art by Veneta Nikolova is features in the Music Section. Sue Hobby’s newest yarn creation and Flair Robinson’s hanging sculpture Time Machine are on the stairway. Upstairs and Palmyra Room are new paintings by Marishi. And in the teen section, fine new paintings by students in Ally Crilly’s Art Camp.

Some of the town’s finest restaurants – Cosmopolitan, La Cocina de Luz, La Marmotte, New Sheridan Chop House – feature Art Walk specials.

For more information about Art Walk or Kids Walk, pick up a free brochure at any participating venue and around town or call Telluride Arts 970-728-3930,, or Telluride Arts on Facebook and Twitter.

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