Telluride Arts: Art Walk Highlites, August

No doubt the two featured artists at Arroyo, 220 East Colorado, Alberto Murillo and Chriss Crossen, owe a debt to artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Ken Noland, Morris Louis, who were among the superstar Color Field painters of the 1960s. Their stains, veils, and disembodied stripes of pure, untextured pigment, which got soaked into the weave of unprimed canvas like monumental watercolors, represented the last word in “high” decorative art. They waved their “art for art’s sake” banner on high, which meant their work was devoid of recognizable content. It was all about the unapologetic sensuousness of color, plus line and form, and not much else.

Painting by Alberto Murillo

Painting by Alberto Murillo

Murillo’s paintings in particular also owe a debt to the work of Mark Rothko, whose Color Field paintings were often described as transcendental landscapes and by one critic as “a unified atmosphere of all-encompassing, awe-inspiring spirituality.”

Murillo’s work, however, is more representational than the work of the aforementioned Sixties purists: his images rendered in acrylic paint read as landscapes or seascapes, the variations in the “sky” reflecting the changing light, their lush surfaces preserved forever like fossils caught in amber under a protective coat of UV resin.


Albert Murillo is a native of Madrid, Spain where he lived and operated an Interior Design company and showroom. His work emerged into the United States contemporary art market around 2007.

Crossen’s work is characterized by the interactions of cells, waves, circles and other shapes, delivering sensations of contrast and balance, movement, depth and stasis. The paintings arise from an impulse to capture color and form within basic compositions and patterns, so color and form, the Holy Grail of the Color Field painters of yore, dominate.

“Take an object, do something to it, do something else to it. What you do alters what you want to do. In seeing one thing, we probably see many,” said artist-philosopher Jasper Johns.

“Patzcuraro: by Chriss Crossen

“Patzcuraro: by Chriss Crossen

The gallery at Arroyo is curated by local artist Amy Schilling, whose signature images pay tribute to petroglyphs long-associated with prehistoric peoples – only her work vibrates with color and razzle-dazzles with metallic paint. Think rock engravings on steroids.

Amy’s show at Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery is part of Telluride Arts‘ First Thursday Art Walk, August edition, a festive celebration of the arts in downtown Telluride and a meet-and-greet for art lovers, community and friends. This month, 18 venues host receptions from 4 – 8 p.m. to introduce new exhibitions and artists. A free Art Walk map can be founded at Telluride Arts District offices, located in the historic Stronghouse building, 283 South Fir, as well as at all participating venues. Listen to Open Art Radio on KOTO from 12-1pm on first Thursdays to hear interviews with the artists.

Another outstanding August Art Walk show features new sketches and studies from the early 1960s and 1970s by the iconic artist Bernie Fuchs (1932– 2009), acquired by Telluride Gallery of Fine Art (130 East Colorado) director Barbel Hacke during a spring visit to Connecticut to visit Mrs. Fuchs, a long-time friend.

bernie fuchs

Fuchs came from modest beginnings in the small, Midwest town of O’Fallon, Illinois. By age six, he had determined to become a musician in Glenn Miller’s band. Had it not been for an industrial accident that cost him three fingers on his right hand he might have become a leading jazz trumpeter like his friend Jack Sheldon. Instead, a tough love art teacher at Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis taught Fuchs how to draw holding the chalk with his remaining fingers. A prodigy, Fuchs wound up turning the field of commercial illustration on its head, becoming the youngest artist ever to be elected into the Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Over the years, Fuchs worked regularly and steadily for all the major automobile companies, publications from Sports Illustrated (25 years) to The New Yorker, McCall’s, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, and TV Guide, as well for advertising agencies and large corporations from Rolex to Citigroup. He illustrated dozens of children’s book. Fuch’s illustrious clients included political titans – JFK, Queen Elizabeth, Lyndon Johnson, the Reagans – and celebrities, among them, Frank Sinatra, Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, and Pablo Cassals.

bernie fuchs 2

Throughout his career, Fuchs was agnostic about which instrument or medium he used. He was always about the best tool for the job. The man has worked with equal facility in casein, acrylics, watercolor, pastels, pen-and-ink, commercial film, and varieties of mixed media.

Fast forward to the present, with another look at the past, Telluride Arts’ Stronghouse Studios & Gallery, 283 South Fir, features the work of beloved local photographer and writer Ingrid Lundahl. In conjunction with Lundahl’s book release, the exhibit “Telluride Outlaw,” showcases some of the artist’s favorite Telluride moments and people

Image, Ingrid Lundahl

Image, Ingrid Lundahl

“Telluride, The Outlaw Spirit of a Colorado Town,” is a photographic retrospective of the wild and woolly energy surrounding Telluride, Colorado, particularly from the “outlaw years”  of the late 1970s and 1980s, up to the present day. It includes images from the Telluride Bluegrass, Telluride Jazz, Telluride Blues ‘n’ Brews and Telluride Film Festivals, and more. The art, history, photo, fun book features over 500 black-and-white and color images.

Ingrid Lundahl, a corporate copywriter dropout, moved to Telluride early 1978 and began her freelance photography career. A series of makeshift darkrooms culminated in her darkroom/office at the top of the stairs, Nugget Building.

(The book will be available for pre-sale during the show in addition to the select prints. The exhibit will run through September 2. Gallery is open noon-six daily or by appointment.)

Other highly recommended shows for July Art Walk include:

The Ah Haa School for the Arts,  300 South Townsend, is exhibiting the work Anjali Sawant. Her “Meditation” series is primarily done in mixed media on canvas or paper. The layering of materials creates patterns of color and texture that incorporate abstract design with the beauty of traditional Indian iconography. Buddhism, yogic Mudra hand positions and written Sanskrit are the main themes in the work.


Painting, Angie Sawant

Painting, Angie Sawant

“The paintings are truly my form of meditative yoga. It is this sense of serenity and reflection that I hope to share with you.”

Anjali Sawant was born in Coventry, England and after some time received her BFA from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California.  She lived on the West Coast for many years before settling in Telluride, Colorado in 2001.

Also on display, Nori Pepe’s “Carving Out a Place.”

The first time Pepe carved one of her photographs into linoleum, it was from the tree house her grandfather built outside her childhood home in New Hampshire. Where the photograph alone didn’t manage to tell the story, the carving brought the story to life. This metamorphosis marked the beginning of her ongoing project; reinterpreting photographs of places through carving & printmaking. Using wood and linoleum, Pepe carves the details from photographs that she’s taken all over the world.

"Through the Tunnel Bridge,” Nori Pepe

“Through the Tunnel Bridge,” Nori Pepe

Ah Haa’s East Gallery showcases the work of regional fiber artists.

Baked in Telluride, 127 South Fir, features the work of Jerry Oyama of Ophir, Colorado. Jerry’s ability to express his interest in music, through painting is magical and enlightening. Also a wonderful sculptor, Jerry became a student of painter Robert Weatherford, attending his popular “Painting From Within” class at Ah Haa.

 Dolce, is now at a new location at 224 Colorado Avenue. For Art Walk (and running through the weekend), owner Beau Staley joins forces with friend and colleague Caci Grinspan of CashmereRED, 221 East Colorado, to put together a trunk show of fabulous jewelry by Simon Alcantara and the sensuous textiles of Mengly Germania Hernandez.

A native New Yorker, Simon is a self-taught designer whose work is all handmade in his studio. His jewelry is crafted using natural elements: precious and semi-precious stones, mother of pearl, and precious metals. His whimsical pieces have talismanic properties that convey bold, yet balanced, exotic, yet imaginative aesthetics. His background as a dancer is a source of inspiration:

South Sea mother-of-pearl marquis  pendant, handwoven with gold cord by Simon Alcantara

South Sea mother-of-pearl marquis pendant, handwoven with gold cord by Simon Alcantara

“Having been a classical dancer for many years developed my eye for balance, proportion and movement with the body, as well as how to visually create a sense of lightness within a very bold piece.”

Also a native New Yorker, Mengly brings a unique perspective to her textiles. Her extensive experience as a multi-media artist and fashion stylist helped to cultivate a unique aesthetic. Mengly’s company, Linea Germania, is primarily a scarf collection with an ultra-feminine yet unconventional, sophisticated look. Mengly creates her own prints by exploring various mediums such as hand-silk screening, block printing, watercolor painting, drawing, digital printing and photography.

Spotted Labyrith, by Mengly Hernandez

Spotted Labyrith, by Mengly Hernandez

Simon has visited Telluride many times. This is Mengly’s first visit to town.

Telluride Arts’ Gallery 81435, 230 South Fir Street

, presents Los Angeles artist Dave Pressler in August. His “Robots” opens during Art Walk with an artist’s reception. 

Dave uses sculpture and illustration to fuse two of his primary passions: fine art and the world of pop entertainment. His unique brand of robots meet the viewer on an emotional and humorous common ground, telling us that life can be tough, but finding the silliness in the perils is the key to existence – even for robots. 


Dave has spent the last 20 years designing characters and worlds for such companies as Kid’s WB, Nelvana, Disney Jetix, Fox Kids Network, Wild Brain, and The Jim Henson Company to name a few.  Most recently he dove into the universe of TV animation. Co-creating and designing the Emmy-nominated “Robot And Monster,” a new animated series currently airing on Nickelodeon.
In addition to his kids’ media projects, Dave is an accomplished painter and sculptor whose work shows in Los Angeles galleries. He also lends his sculpting talents to the collectable vinyl-art toy world. With the success of Dave’s various limited-edition resin creations his character, “Angry Clobber Monkey,” has become his first vinyl collectable.

The artist is currently undergoing treatment for his weird robot obsession.

(The exhibit will run through September 3.  Regular hours are noon – 6 p.m. daily or by appointment.)

Lustre, an Artisan Gallery, 171 South Pine Street, introduces the newest “Barcelona Collection” from Bagués. Fresh from Barcelona, this collection will have its U.S. debut at Lustre  during Art Walk and will continue at the Gallery through Saturday. Lustre also hosts a trunk show of Masriera Art Nouveau jewels. Imagined and created in Barcelona, Spain with the rich and colorful pliqué-a-jour enamel, a hallmark of both of these contemporary and historic collections. Artfully designed and exquisitely crafted wearable art.

Melange, 109 West Colorado Avenue, features “High Point,” the equine artwork of Cheri Isgreen and Barbara Haynie. This year-long traveling art show visits Mélange in Telluride during the month of August. Both Isgreen and Haynie are life-long equestrians, passionate about their horses.

Horse, Cheri Isgreen

Horse, Cheri Isgreen

Though Isgreen works in watercolor and Haynie in acrylic, both artists love bold color, using unusual color mixtures to convey the power, energy, and nobility of the horse. Defined as contemporary Western art, both artists work loosely to suggest ideas and imagery, while maintaining fidelity to equine anatomy.

“I see my paintings as somewhat narrative, yet I strive for a sense of mystery. Mystery engages my viewers, giving them a way to connect,” states Isgreen.

Telluride Historical Museum, 201 West Gregory, offers far more than artifacts behind glass. From historic walking tours, Hike into History programs, engaging lectures and special events, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Explore the history of the Second World War through the unique lens of Telluride residents at the Museum’s annual exhibit, Voices of Wartime: Telluride during World War II.






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