June Art Walk: Weatherford & More

June Art Walk: Weatherford & More

The “Wild Boar” will be at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.

“To me, the boar represents our completely grounded, muscular, tough personality manifestation. Great for being a successful hard-charger in life,” says artist Robert Weatherford.

"Wild Boar," Robert Weatherford

“Wild Boar,” Robert Weatherford

Robert’s other paintings, a new body of work, will animate the the walls of the Daniel Tucker Gallery at the Ah Haa School for the Arts in a blockbuster show that opens June 4, 5 – 8 p.m., with the Telluride Arts District’s First Thursday Art Walk of the summer season.

Art Walk is celebration of creativity in downtown Telluride and a meet-and-greet for art lovers, community and friends designed to introduce new exhibitions and artists. The event features a whopping 21 venues, all hosting receptions. (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.)

The title of Robert Weatherford’s show, “Strut and Fret,” is a reference to lines from Act 5, scene 5 in Shakespeare’s “MacBeth”:

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

Three of Weatherford’s new images at Ah Haa feature a Japanese porcelain, a German with a rucksack, and a baby rabbit, familiar objects from the artist’s vast collection of tchotkes (bric-a-brac), which he sets like a director inside a 19th-century architectural model of a theatre front, each gewgew standing in for different personae we assume to help get us through life:

“The ‘Japanese Porcelain Landscape’ represents a way of life that continually wants to remain in a state of Transcendent Awe of Nature, true for lots of us Telluriders. To be in the middle of one of the world’s most beautiful places is a fulfillment all by itself.”

Japanese landscape, Robert Weatherford

Japanese landscape, Robert Weatherford

The painting entitled “German Wanderer with his Rucksack,” Weatherford explains, speaks to another aspect of the Telluride persona.

“German Wanderer with Rucksack,: Robert Weatherford

“German Wanderer with Rucksack,”  Robert Weatherford

“‘The Wanderer’ is like a lot of German youth, like a lot of locals. His identity lies in perpetual movement. The only goal is to keep moving toward the next great place to discover.”

“The “baby rabbit” is a symbol for those of us who identify with our innocence and vulnerability. That takes a kind of moral courage and ultimately, it takes strength.”

Baby rabbit, Robert Weatherford

Baby rabbit, Robert Weatherford

In other words, everything that moves Robert Weatherford as a painter – also what he derives from influences ranging from late-Baroque period artist Alessando Magnasco (1667-1749) to surrealist/expressionist James Ensor (1860-1949) and  cartoon realist Philip Guston (1913-1980) – celebrates imagery rich in psychic and social content that transcends modernist formalism or mere art for art’s sake. But the images Weatherford paints are never about the objects themselves. They are about the force fields emanating from the object.

The goal?

“For me, art’s highest purpose is to subvert the ordinary, to at least momentarily signal what lies under all the layers. My job as an artist is to surrender to the will of the objects I paint.

Weatherford works in the style of the Expressionists, a movement in art history in which traditional ideas of naturalism and representation take a back seat to exaggerations of shape and color. The idea is to express compelling emotions with a high degree of urgency – otherwise the artist’s inner fire might just burn out of control. The resulting distortions and exaggerations captured in paint, like the shapes reflected in a fun-house mirror, elevate subjective responses above simple record-keeping of the external world.

“For me, technique is completely in the service of emotions, from  the grotesque in Magnasco, to horror at mankind’s cruelties in Ensor and Guston, and a call for compassion in my work. I see the act of painting as prayer.”

(Finding your voice, not just mastering technique, is also the point of Ah Haa’s Telluride Painting School, a destination program Weatherford founded four years ago, with professors sympathetic to Weatherford’s vision hired from the New York Studio School. The sole idea of the two-week immersions is to help artists find the answer to one burning question: “What am I trying to say?”)

When he is cooking on all four burners, Weatherford ratchets up intense to explosive. He is not after beauty. He is after truth. Which is beauty.

The artist was born in Laredo, Texas, a member of the only Anglo family for miles around. A prodigy, by age five Weatherford was painting with model car paint. At seven, he became an abstract expressionist wannabe. By 11, the artist and teacher had completed over 100 images, his style clearly based on the expressively intense nature of the Mexican culture. At 13, he crashed and nearly burned.

Years later, a friend at the Arts Students League in New York helped Weatherford into AA. As a last-ditch effort at conventional respectability, he put himself through undergraduate and graduate school to become a minister. A blackout drunk on graduation day, Weatherford finally had to admit out loud what he had secreted away in his heart: he was called to become a professional artist.

Robert Weatherford first came to Telluride in the mid-1970s. Over the years, he served on Town Council, chaired the CCASE (the Community Council on Arts and Special Events) and Historical Museum boards, and taught at the Ah Haa School for the Arts, where he remains on the board and continues to teach.

Weatherford is exclusively represented by the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.

Other shows of note:

Ah Ha, East Gallery: Ann O’Brien Gonzales

Gonzales at Ah Haa

Anne O”Brien Gonzales at Ah Haa

Ann O’Brien Gonzales is intrigued by the way still-lives offer a slightly voyeuristic, private glimpse into another world. In love with the common objects that make up our daily lives – flowers, food, a cherished vase – her paintings depict shallow space and unusual shapes in inventive colors. Gonzales’ art heroes are Cezanne, Van Gogh and, of course, Matisse. Like them, her work relies on color, form, and pattern – in that order. The artist can be best described as a colorist, who works in oil and mixed-media using collaged elements, beeswax, dry pigments, graphite, and/or pastels. In addition to usual brushes, she employs scrapers, brayers, and many other mark-making tools. The process involves multiple layers and responding to what appears on the surface as the painting evolves. The aim is to evoke the sense of joy she experience when she creates.

Adam W. Carlos Fine Art:

"Cloud Kissed,” Adam Carlos Fine Art, downstairs, 398 W. Colorado

“Cloud Kissed,” Adam Carlos Fine Art, downstairs, 398 W. Colorado

Art Walk marks the grand opening of this gallery, which is also the working studio of Adam Carlos, who recently relocated to Telluride from Nashville. A second-generation artist, Carlos specializes in highly detailed, graphite portraiture and landscape drawings. Because of his ability to capture the personality of his subjects, the artist has developed a nationwide clientele. In addition to his custom portrait work, Carlos is also known for his Hands of Music series of Bluegrass and Americana musicians, in addition to his equestrian and landscape works.

Betsy Chaffin is featured at Telluride Arts’ Gallery 81435.

“Genesis,” Betsy Chaffin

“Genesis,” Betsy Chaffin

Betsy Chaffin is a mixed-media artist who lives and works in Spring Island, South Carolina, and Snowmass Village Colorado. In 2003 and 2005, she was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Intuitive experiments in mark-making and composition, her drawings make their way into the vocabulary of the paintings, which are responses to reality, especially place, and memory. Chaffin’s work often begins with a specific idea or reflection, but like an improvisation, evolves to take a life of its own.

Stronghouse Studios + Gallery, Mary Ellen Long – Icons and Elements: Works on Paper

“Icons and Elements.” Mary Ellen Long

“Icons and Elements.” Mary Ellen Long

“Icons and Elements” is series of framed collage and mixed-media work combined with unframed, nature-altered paper works. Long’s assemblages of leaf forms vary in subject matter and materials ranging from natural elements, antique and handmade papers to mixed-media that incorporates charcoal, pencil, sands, and imported papers. In addition to her wall hangings, Long’s installation of small-image collage presents interesting groupings of her varied materials.

Mary Ellen Long was born in Los Angeles and lived in North San Diego County, but she moved to Durango, Colorado 34 years ago. As a multi-media artist creating for almost 50 years, she exhibits throughout the art world.

Telluride Gallery of Fine Art: Lissa Hunter– Crossover

“Coming Home,”  porcelain, underglaze, wood, charcoal, paint

“Coming Home,”  porcelain, underglaze, wood, charcoal, paint

Her show is entitled “Crossover,” because Lissa Hunter combines her well-known contemporary basketry work with clay and drawing. It includes 15 wall pieces, as well as sets of tumblers and cups with corresponding trays.

“The idea of ‘Crossover’ is about moving among different materials (fibers, clay, drawing) to express other ideas I have about nature and beauty. After more than 30 years exploring the expressive possibilities of the coiled basketry form, I found myself looking around for other materials that would inspire a new application of the visual vocabulary I had developed. At the same time, drawing had come back around, like an old boyfriend, to remind me of an early love. Soft hands, developed in textile work, were natural tools with which to work with slabs of porcelain clay. Here, then, is new work and some older, some in clay, and some in basketry, all with the influence of drawing.”

“Forest For Trees,”   porcelain, underglaze, wood, paint

“Forest For Trees,”  porcelain, underglaze, wood, paint

Lissa Hunter’s work is in the museum collections of Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, The Albuquerque Museum, The Arkansas Arts Center, Museum of Arts and Design New York, Museum of Fine Arts Boston  just to name a few. (There is a full CV on her website.)

Telluride Historical Museum: “Forces of Nature: Telluride’s Prehistoric Journey” (through March 2016)

Allosaurus Wall Background

Discover what Telluride was like before people, before the ski resort, before mines, even the mountains. “Forces of Nature: Telluride’s Prehistoric Journey,” delves into the dramatic and volatile powers that built the region we know today.

Uncover carnivorous Allosaurus dinosaur fossils from the late Jurassic period and discover what life was like for these fast, muscular reptiles. Dive into the Western Interior Seaway, the shallow sea that covered Colorado and extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. Test out the principles of plate tectonics; handle real Colorado fossils; and see the gems and minerals formed through millions of years of volcanic activity. Experience how the Ice Age and the pressure of glaciers creeping along the valley of Telluride set the scene for the first humans.

Also on  Thursday, please stop in for a special Wild West Fest exhibit at the Sheridan Opera House (110 North Oak Street). This year’s Wild West Fest artist, Lauren Metzger is a graphic designer and pet-portrait artist, now now venturing into abstract landscapes. Her beautifully textured painting of buffalo grazing wonderfully captures the spirit of the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s Wild West Fest. Come see Metzger’s work, meet the artist and bid on the piece. All  proceeds benefit the Wild West Fest, which supports young men and women from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

WWF for SOh Webste


For further information about other Art Walk shows, go here:

About the Telluride Arts District:


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 is a Colorado Certified Creative District, and works in partnership with the Town of Telluride, Colorado Creative Industries, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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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