Telluride Arts: June Art Walk, Parrish at TGFA & More

Telluride Arts: June Art Walk, Parrish at TGFA & More

Telluride Arts’ First Thursday Art Walk is a festive celebration of the art scene in downtown Telluride for art lovers, community, and friends. Participating venues host receptions from 5 –8 p.m. to introduce new exhibits.

The first Art Walk of the summer 2018 season takes place Thursday, June 7, 5 – 8 p.m.

The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art features the work of Nelson Parrish. In the show entitled “Light in the Canyon,” the artist’s sculptural pieces were inspired by the light and color of the gold mining towns he loves best: Telluride, Colorado, and Fairbanks, Alaska. 

Please scroll down to learn more about Parrish and to listen to an interview with the artists.

Also immerse yourself in the plein air painting close-ups of remembered details of endangered environments by Gregory Botts at Gallery 81435. (From time to time, Telluride Gallery of Fine Arts has also showed Botts’ paintings.)

Telluride Arts HQ features the work of its very own Molly Perrault. Her exhibition,”Regeneration,” is comprised of images created entirely out of magazine paper.

Tune into Open Art Radio on KOTO from 12 – 1 p.m. to hear interviews with the participating artists. Complimentary gallery guides are available at all the venues for a self-guided tour.

A full list of participating galleries is below.


About four years ago, and for the second time in two years, Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver and a group of friends got together in chilly waters along the coast of Santa Cruz Island about 30 miles south of Santa Barbara to perform a Sisyphean ritual that involves gnar exercises like underwater rock running or paddle boarding for miles and miles across the Santa Barbara Channel.

They were practicing misogi, a secret, punishing ritual executed by some followers of Shintoism involving cold water immersion therapy. The benefits have been corroborated by modern science  – and by super-shooter Korver’s winning ways.

Writing about this one day event, Outside Magazine said: “There’s Marcus Elliott, 48, the mastermind behind this sufferfest, a Harvard-trained sports scientist who works with pro athletes and enjoys all-night jogs; Deyl Kearin, 34, a mellow real estate investor who ran 150 miles across the Sahara in 2012 and looks like he could be Laird Hamilton’s clean-cut younger bro; and Nelson Parrish, 35, a sturdy, Alaska-bred, former junior Olympic skier whose artwork, collected by John Legend and Rob Lowe, depicts “the color of speed…”

The term “Action Painting” is often used as a synonym for the work of a loose confederacy of artists known as the Abstract Expressionists, a lineage that became the dominant force in American painting by the end of the 1950s. As a group, AbExers were not unified by much except for the fact that what drove them all – from Mark Rothko to Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollack – was an unbridled sense of freedom of expression that marked post-WWII America.

However, the term “action painter” takes on a whole new, far less subtle meaning when applied to artist Nelson Parrish, who has lived his life in constant motion.

Parrish grew up in Alaska where he spent his youth careening down slopes, pedaling over ridge lines, swimming across lakes, hiking into the backcountry – and years later, practicing misogi, which he once described as “a mental and spiritual challenges wrapped in a physical package.”

That description equally applies to Parrish’s art, flashes of color – how we see a world in motion – captured in planed wooden planks wrapped in layers of semi-transparent and color-infused bio-resin. These works, fusions of painting and sculpture, are very physical abstractions that capture and freeze many of the breakneck moments in the artist’s life when his perceptions of the world are intensified, when colors develop richer personalities.

Parrish’s traditionally nontraditional pieces – for his Telluride show, large hanging totems, wall mounted grids, standing slices and carins, as well as six works from his “21 Flags” series  – are on display at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art in a show the artist entitled “Light in the Canyon.” The opening coincides with Telluride Art’s June Art Walk on June 7 and runs through June 27.

“…with purpose and passion, Parrish’s exhibition brings art and athleticism into graceful contact. That is rare and inspiring. It’s also a mark of Parrish’s originality. And it embodies his eagerness to share what he loves with others, despite society’s tendency to treat art and sports as if they had nothing in common…,” wrote art historian and artist Molly Enholm in an essay about Parrish’s “21 Flags,” a series based on the familiar pattern of stars and stripes, but abstracted almost beyond recognition.

Writing about the Telluride show in a beautifully articulated essay, Parrish pays tribute to the town’s past, while honoring the defining role of color and light as the essence of landscape, of mood, of man’s perception of the physical world, in his work.

…we head into the box canyon for one reason, and then stay for better reasons: the glistening of the San Miguel bubbling through town, the shimmer of autumn’s brisk air shifting the leaves in the fall, the weightlessness of the night’s fresh snowfall glittering in the morning. 

“The warmth of the day’s final rays; radiating the red magenta orange of the alpenglow, cascading atop the ridge line before fleeting into night. True to its namesake, the light of Telluride effortlessly converts the seemingly ordinary into something more.

“Originally from Alaska, I have studied light my whole life. From the Northern Lights to the Marfa Lights, Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Weather Project’ and James Turrell’s ‘Twilight Epiphany,’ the Midnight Sun and now the California Sun, light is an indisputable yet intangible commodity. We all can agree, in some form or fashion, we all need it. For in the beginning, there was light. Living in darkness simply will not do.

As an artist, light and light’s derivate, color, are a language. Color and light are the vernacular that is utilized when traditional words fail. They are the vocabulary we implement to discuss other intangible abstract commodities such as the narrative, memory, time, and our invisible connection to the landscape. Color and light are the universal language for translating thoughts into experiences. Color is vehicle that weaves the magic that is art…” 

Color and light and intense interaction with his surroundings bring focus and clarity to Parrish’s unique artistic expression, works created to evoke the same sense of elation in his viewers the artist feels in motion in the outside world – and in his studio.

In a very real sense, Parrish’s sculpture-like forms encapsulate the pure joy of living fully in each and every moment, about challenging himself  – and us – in unexpected ways to push the envelope: physical, mental and emotional.

Action “painting” writ large.


Gregory Botts at Telluride Arts’ Gallery 81435


Molly Perrault at Telluride Arts’ HQ

Ah Haa School for the Arts
Baked In Telluride
Elinoff Gallery
Gallery 81435
Kamruz Gallery
La Cocina de Luz
Lustre Gallery
MiXX projects + atelier
Slate Gray Gallery
Studio G
Telluride Arts HQ Gallery
Telluride Gallery of Fine Art
Telluride Music Co.
Tony Newlin Gallery
The Turquoise Door Gallery

For further details on all the June Art Walk shows, go here.

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