Telluride Arts, Art Walk: April 2015 Highlites
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up,” Pablo Picasso
A mashup of the celebratory and the fanciful and frankly off-the-wall can be found on the walls of the Daniel Tucker Gallery at the Ah Haa School for the Arts during its Spring Youth Art Exhibit & Youth Art Awards, which opens Thursday, April 2, 5 – 8 p.m., with Telluride Arts’ First Thursday Art Walk, the last Art Walk of the winter 2015 season.
The Telluride Art District’s Art Walk is a celebration of creativity in downtown Telluride and a meet-and-greet for art lovers, community and friends.
April Art Walk features a whopping 21 venues, hosting receptions from 5 – 8 p.m. to introduce new exhibitions and artists. A free Art Walk Map, available at participating sites and at the Telluride Arts offices located in the Stronghouse Studios + Gallery at 283 South Fir Street, offers a self-guided tour.
In keeping with the theme of Spring, new life and fresh perspectives, Telluride Arts in collaboration with Ah Haa, declared April “Youth Art Month.” And so continuing with the subject of precocious young people exposing the products of unbridled imaginations, the work of 15-year-old Kevin Pashayan is in the spotlight this month. Kevin’s show, “The Young and Arrested,” is all about graffiti.
Graffiti writing is nothing new: examples date back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Graffiti can be simple written words or elaborate wall paintings and drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in public places.
Kevin’s debut exhibit challenges the audience to consider the artistic merits of graffiti writing despite its notoriously illegal execution on public property.
“True, graffiti is illegal. But it is also art. Why doesn’t graffiti receive the same respect as other art forms?,” asks the artist.
Following in the tradition of artists like Banksy, Sofles, Augor, Ewok, and Obey, Kevin creates graffiti/street-art-related works on canvases and other objects. His style is mixed, at times consisting of the traditional use of spay paint on walls or markers in a black book, but he also creates elaborate works with multi-layered, hand-cut stencils that produce a more realistic painting, he describes as the “Banksy Effect.” Kevin’s works range from commentaries on sensitive topics to aesthetically pleasing designs, but they all lend themselves to a deeper meaning intended by the artist.
Kevin Pashayan is a 15-year-old student at Telluride High Schooll, who has been making art in some form since age four. Kevin’s intrigue and fascination with art has always motivated him to strive for perfection in his craft. When not at Telluride High School, Kevin can be found in his personal studio at Telluride Arts’ Stronghouse Studios + Gallery or practicing his gloving and performance art.
At 13, Pashayan came to the Stronghouse Studios + Gallery to inquire if there might be a free studio through the “Studios for Students” initiative, a program designed to provide studio space to local students in exchange for volunteer hours. At the time of his inquiry, the Stronghouse Studios was at full capacity. Not content to accept defeat, Kevin returned the next day, armed with a portfolio of his work to share with Telluride Arts staff. Still, no soap. But Kevin returned on the third day and finally convinced staff to allow him to carve out a small space under the historic elevator shaft, where he maintains an artist studio to this day.
Sandy Skoglund creates subversive room-size installations such as “Radioactive Cats” (1980), a post-nuclear tableau starring a swarm of eerie chartreuse felines, which have invaded the drab gray kitchen (and drab gray lives) of an elderly Midwestern couple.
Sandy’s “The Grey Foxes” has a pack of animals wreaking havoc in an all-red restaurant or cafe from hell. That fine example of staged photography – Skoglund is an innovator in the genre – was originally exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. We saw the dramatic installation one recent trip to the Mile High City, on display on the 3rd floor and now part of the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection.
“Foxes don’t belong in a restaurant, but they would come in and leap from tables to chairs just as they’re doing in the photograph. They don’t see them as tables and chairs,” the artist was quoted as saying in one online source.
Examples of unsettling fantasies such as these, combinations of installation art, tableau and sculpture, all products of a fecund imagination, are part the 30th anniversary celebration at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art. (Skoglund’s last solo show at the Gallery was in 2001.) The show opened in March.
Sandy Skoglund was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1946. She studied studio art and art history at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts from 1964-1968. Skoglund went on to graduate school at the University of Iowa in 1969, where she delved into filmmaking, intaglio printmaking, and multimedia art, receiving her M.A. in 1971 and her M.F.A. in painting in 1972.
Skoglund moved to New York City in 1972, where she started working as a conceptual artist, trading in repetitive, process-oriented art production through the techniques of mark-making and photocopying.
In the late 1970s, Skoglund’s desire to document conceptual ideas led to teaching herself photography. That developing interest in photographic technique became fused with her interest in popular culture and commercial picture-making strategies, resulting in the directorial tableau work she is known for today.
A review in The New York Times sums up Skoglund’s influences:
“(She) seems inspired as Pop artists were by the whole kitsch and caboodle of American low culture: science fiction and horror movies, comic animations, shrilly colored signs and packaged products, television commercials, fast-food parlors, dumb-dumb ad repetitions, glitzy malls and the general Disneyfication of the landscape, physical and psychic. The difference between her work and Pop, however, is that where Pop ran to blandness, hers is infused with wit and nightmare,” wrote one critic.
Skoglund’s work recalls the dark and unsettling Surrealist dreamscapes of the 1930s; the Theatre of the Absurd of the 1950s; and the ironic room installations of world-famous 1960s artists such as Claes Oldenburg.
The artist has been known to sum up what she creates as “theme park,” those massive installations, colorful sculpture (she fashions all the critters that populate her work) and photography that juxtapose the mundane with repetitious, out-of-place figures to create dramatic tension in an alternate reality.
The long arm of Ah Haa also reaches across town to Baked in Telluride, where large paintings created by students of the school’s Painting Academy are on display.
Joan K. Russell is featured at Telluride Arts’ Gallery 81435.
Joan’s show, A Wave in the Mind, consists of large abstract paintings and sculptural installation. The title is based on a Virginia Woolf quote: “A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it.”
Joan Russell has long been interested in the subtle dance between control and spontaneity. Process is high on her list of priorities, developing a method that accommodates both planning and risk. Movement, energy, and gestural marks all play into the emotive qualities of the work. Layering in the work comments on history, materiality, and depth.
This month, Joan added mixed media sculptures to her original exhibit, freshening up the gallery for the transition to Spring.
Her mixed media “Meditation Boxes” are porcelain boxes with hand painted rice paper torn into strips, then folded and wrapped tightly to form a spiral, which is fitted into the opening in the ceramic box. Joan implements very spare, unglazed porcelain, with a little texture on the front. The rice paper center then becomes the focal point, which has varied tonalities of one to two colors.
Telluride artist, Dalen Stevens, will be at Lustre Gallery to showcase his fine porcelain platters, vases and vessels. An avid outdoorsman and accomplished musician, Dalen’s artistic talents can best be described as fluid and robust from the hand mixing of the porcelain sands, to seasoning the clay for a year, throwing of the vessel and ultimately glazing and multiple kiln firings, each piece becomes a magnum opus. Dalen’s signature crystalline glaze imprints unique formations during the firing process that results in a one of a kind creation. Hand made with love and song in Telluride.
For more about what’s happening and where for the March 2015 Art Walk, visit Telluride Arts here.
About the Telluride Arts District:
Art Walk is an initiative of the Telluride Arts District, a Colorado Certified Creative District, www.TellurideArts.org
The Telluride Arts District offices are located in the historic Stronghouse at 283 South Fir Streetand at Gallery 81435 at 230 South Fir Street
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