Judy Kohin & Highlights, March Art Walk

Judy Kohin & Highlights, March Art Walk

Telluride Arts presents the First Thursday Art Walk , the third of  the winter 2016 season. Celebration of local creativity takes place Thursday, March 3. A free Art Walk map offers a self-guided tour that can be used at anytime to find galleries that are open most days. Listen to Open Art Radio on KOTO from 12-1 p.m. on first Thursdays to hear interviews with the artists. Maps and gallery guides are available at participating venues and at the Telluride Arts offices located in the Stronghouse Studios + Gallery at 283 South Fir Street.

Judy Kohin’s artist talk and Heartbeat starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.

“Thrive,” mixed media, artist Judy Kohin.

“Thrive,” mixed media, artist Judy Kohin.

The end result of an intense, linear, and very physical process involving printing, collaging (cut-up fabric or prints); glueing (to a board); waxing; and then manipulating the surface, these mixed media works read like jazz improvisation, shapes – colored blobs, squares, rectangles, circles, swirls – bloom, twinkle, dance, and pulse just beneath a beeswax encaustic veneer that both contains and restrains, while adding depth. Squiggly lines etched onto that surface establish the boundary with the real world, adding yet another layer to these rich, robust images. The compositions look abstract, but they are the result of very careful planning: erudition as the handmaiden of feelings. The journey is the thing, not so much the outcome, however razzle-dazzling.

“Bright,” Judy Kohin

“Bright,” Judy Kohin

This body of work is as complex, compelling, and appealing as their maker, whom I first interviewed in 1993 as a freshman journalist on Telluride’s brand new (and first) daily paper. Here is what I wrote (23 years ago) about the artist, whose name twins with the Ah Haa School for the Arts, where she has worked as director from the get-go:

“Throw the adjective ‘Renaissance’ at Telluride’s population and it sticks – and Judy Kohin is the paradigm: an artist, an actor, a cartoonist (her Telluride Valley Cows became a fixture in the paper and morphed into a book); an administrator; and an accomplished athlete. I’ve also heard her sing do-wop. With all those disparate skills wrapped up in a dancer-jock body (yes, that too), she’s surprisingly reserved and quite modest.”

Some things never change: creativity, smarts, and muscle live happily-ever-happy in the person – and in her art.

“Swell,” Judy Kohin

“Swell,” Judy Kohin

Judy Kohin’s new body of mixed-media work, these textile encaustic paintings, feels “Up” – which happens to be the name of the show and a word (per Word Woman Rosemary Trommer) that suggests happiness in every language. The solo exhibition opens in concert with Telluride Arts’ First Thursday Art Walk, a celebration of the arts scene in downtown Telluride for art lovers, community, and friends. The show is a response to a request made by Will Thompson, owner of the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, for Judy to create a new body of work he could showcase. And it will be an evening to remember, featuring Judy’s exhibition, music by Telluride’s all-women a cappella group, Heartbeat (Judy is a member) – the group performs 6:30 p.m. sharp –  and, well, some (very sensual) surprises.

Although Judy began to explore mixed-media in the late-1990s during a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, the more immediate catalyst for “Up” was an Ah Haa class, led by fabric artists Kathy Green and Michele Foote, about deconstructing silk-screen printing.

“As an artist, you generally work on your own, but I found I really enjoyed the experience of printing in a studio with my colleagues. ‘Up’ is a process-oriented show that reflects the joy of creating. I am hoping people come to my show and feel what I feel around this body of work: ‘Up.’”

“Edge,” by Judy Kohin

“Edge,” by Judy Kohin

More about Judy Kohin:

“Art making is one of the most uplifting things I do. I love it and I hope these paintings convey that.”

Judith Kohin studied painting and printmaking at Bates College before heading west and settling in Telluride, in the mid-80s with her friend Barclay Smith Daranyi to cook at the dearly departed Skyline Guest Ranch. After brief but exciting careers in Nordic skiing and mountain-bike racing,the Ah Haa School opened in 1991 and she was hired as director soon afterward—a position she holds today. While at Ah Haa, Judy  has had limited time for her own art making and instead has focused on enabling others to experience their creativity. She considers herself a “dabbler,” having worked in a variety of media—drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, etc. – but lacks enough focused down time to develop a personal vision.

In addition to working in a variety of visual media throughout her career, other creative projects have included a self-published collection of 20 years of her weekly cartoon, “The Valley Cows,” in 2005; numerous performances with “Heartbeat,” an a cappella group she has been singing with since 1994; camera and producer credits for two full-length documentary films, “Bag It” and “Uranium Drive-In,” with filmmaker Suzan Beraza; and wearable art outfits over 20 years for the Telluride AIDS Benefit Fashion Show, including a line of body painted clothing.

When not working or in her studio, Judy Kohin spends time exploring great outdoors—hiking, biking, skiing and river-rafting.


Other shows of note:

The Ah Haa School for the Arts presents “Net/Work,” its 3rd Annual Juried Exhibition of Regional Artists.

This exhibition features work completed in 2015 (or early 2016) by regional artists located within 150 miles of Telluride in all media: painting, ceramics, sculpture, printing, fiber, metals and other (excluding photography and video). Fifty-three pieces were selected by our jurors to be featured in the exhibition. This year’s jurors were Lisa Hogan, an Ah Haa board member, who also serves on the boards of the Amazon Aid Foundation and Computers4Kids; Jon Hubbard, who has a MFA in metal smithing from Colorado State University and a BFA in metals and jewelry from the School for American Crafts at Rochester School of Technology; and Margaret Rinkevitch, a volunteer and acquisitions researcher of African Art for the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

The winners were:

1st place) Andy Knorr, “Pink Town,” Oil on canvas

Pink Town

Pink Town


2nd place) Deborah Sussex, “Finding My Way Back,” Pastel

Finding My Way

Finding My Way

3rd place) Steve Smolen, “The Path,” Marble

The Pat

The Path

Telluride Arts’ Gallery 81435  presents “Second Nature” featuring artist Tania Dibbs.

Covered storm

Covered storm

“I have never considered man to be separate from the environment, either physically or spiritually. All aspects of life and existence are intertwined and interdependent, an idea that was only confirmed by my study of biology in college. A reverence and concern for the planet is not a concern for something external to ourselves.”

The exhibit, “Second Nature,” is comprised of pieces – paintings and sculptures –from Dibbs’ series, “Anthropocene” and “Meta-narrative,” both of which explore the dynamic and intriguing relationship between man and nature.

Entropy and growth

Entropy and growth

“Anthropocene” refers to our current geological era, which is marked by the impact of mankind. This body of work explores the complicated relationship between the natural world and mankind’s endeavors.

Tania Dibbs is an artist based in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen. At the beginning of her career, she was a landscape painter, but  she soon came to realize the genre was meaningless: pretty landscapes seemed irrelevant to the status quo. The relationships between mankind, his endeavors and ambitions, and the physical world are what Dibbs is now exploring in her work.

Veiled Sky

Veiled Sky

“Second Nature” runs until May 20 at Gallery 81435, located at 230 S Fir Street in Telluride, Colorado. Open daily from 12-6 p.m. or by appointment.

Telluride Arts’ Stronghouse Gallery + Studios presents “Early Blooms,” a show featuring the work of artist Joan Russell.

Coral flowers

Coral flowers

Joan Russell’s paintings represents the fusion of two great loves: wild flowers and painting.

In this exhibit, Russell paints long, tall flowers, juxtaposed against a simple horizon line, evoking the beauty and strength of wildflowers; simple flat shapes, an exploration of color.

These paintings experiment with the way the mind observes space. While the backgrounds tend to come forward visually, the mind keeps pushing them back because of the overlapping flowers. The ground is painted to suggest traces of trails or footprints, the implied movement evoking a sense of time.

Joan Russell is a life-long artist who received a BFA from the University of Michigan and a MFA from the University of Colorado. She has furthered her study with residencies at Skowhegan, Bemis Foundation, Anderson Ranch, as well as mentorships under Ed Paschke, Pete Voulkos, Roberto Juarez, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson, Karl Appell, and Alex Katz. Russell taught at Fort Lewis College for six years. Now a full-time painter, she resides in Durango, CO. The beauty of the land inspires her paintings.



“Early Blooms” runs until May 20, 2016 at the Stronghouse Gallery, located at 283 S Fir Street in Telluride, Colorado. Open daily from 12-6pm or by appointment, www.telluridearts.org,  or 970-728-3930.

MiXX Projects + Atelier features the work of Marco Grassi.

20x20 Siena oil Tempura on aluminum

20×20 Siena oil Tempura on aluminum


Marco Grassi was born in Milan in 1966. He studied at the Liceo Artistico B. Luini in Canuto and graduated with a degree in architecture in Milan. Today he lives and works in Mariano Comense.

For the past 10 years, Grassi has been faithful to the figuration, but never allowed his bias to become an object of fashion or simply satisfy the taste du jour. His artistic language has remained constant and connected to his singular vision: Grassi has long depicted fashionable, sexy female figures, delicate and attractive, energetic and resolute, in bold, dynamic color combinations.

In his work, the artist lets color scribble across, bathe and swath the forms, obscuring and therefore further tantalizing. His lines are always perfect though: the artist knows exactly where that body part would emerge from the sometimes empty, sometimes patterned background.

While his images are often labelled Pop, they are not about cultural icons or sequins and shine. They are not brash and manic social commentary. The work speak quietly and eloquently of Grassi’s mood of the moment and over time: They tell his story and reflect his worldview.

Ariana 55x73 Oil on canvas

Ariana 55×73 Oil on canvas

Each of Grassi’s women have big personalities behind their simply drawn expressions, but always seem to express a variation on the theme of happiness: peace, excitement, and “come hither.”

Subject and viewer meet and play the game of their glances.

For more about other shows in the February Art Walk, click here.

List of participating galleries includes:

Ah Haa School

Alpine Wellness

Arroyo, “Murphy Modern”

Gallery 81435

La Cocina de Luz

LDGiles Art & Design Gallery (aka. Happy Print)

Lustre Gallery

MiXX projects + atelier

Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery

Slate Gray Gallery

Stronghouse Gallery

Telluride Gallery of Fine Art

Tony Newlin Gallery

Wizard Emporium


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