It’s an established local arts community tradition, but in a sleek, spacious new venue. “This is Colorado” is more inviting and accessible than …
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It’s an established local arts community tradition, but in a
sleek, spacious new venue. “This is Colorado” is more inviting and
accessible than ever.
Curved walls, high ceilings, good lighting present a strong,
varied exhibit by Colorado artists (not necessarily art about
Colorado). The two dimensional art is grouped by category, in so
far as possible, as the Heritage Fine Arts Guild of Arapahoe County
holds its 37 year old “This is Colorado” juried exhibit through
March 24 at the Madden Museum of Art.
Well-known metro area painter/teacher Victoria Kwasinski is
juror and she chose work by 97 Colorado artists — about 100
paintings selected from 300 submitted.
“Youngstown, circa 1964” by Patricia Aaron of Greenwood Village
was awarded “Best in Show.” The abstract cityscape on a birch panel
is one in a series of encaustic and ink paintings that grew out of
Aaron’s youth in 1960s Youngstown, Ohio, a gritty mill town which
has pretty well shut down now.
She recalls a bustling place in the 1960s. Her statement for a
Spark Gallery show in 2010 talks of “the time of Cadillacs and high
heels. Not too far away on the other side of the Mahoning River the
boom of the steel mills made the city churn economically and
“I remember looking at the night sky over the the steel mills
with wonder. The rusted mill stacks released constant fire, smoke
and fumes. Grey skies were the norm even during the summer. I
really didn’t know anything different existed… the city never
really left me, even after I left it.” In a recent visit to her
husband’s parents, she found the Steel Mill Museum there and
brought back old photos of the mills, which she displayed at Spark
Gallery. Her memory of that city and that sky glows in this
Aaron received an MFA in sculpture from the University of
Denver, a time when she “fell in love with the torch,” she says. “I
respect the open flame.” The process for creating an encaustic work
involves a propane torch at times. The paintings are made from
beeswax, Damar resin, India Ink, graphite and palladium fused on
the braced panel.
She begins with a birch veneer panel in a 4-by-5 foot size,
large enough to carry the images she creates. First she covers the
panel with gesso, then begins with paint brushes, applying layers
and layers of colored wax, held at 190 degrees (liquid) on a warm
palette. She uses 12 to 15 colors and doesn’t start with an end
result in her mind.
Sometimes, she must allow an hour for an area to set up, so she
works on two paintings at a time, keeping them flat. When
necessary, she hangs the heavy pieces on a wall and backs off for a
view. The dripped lines that form a network on the top layer over
colored areas are made with ink. “I love the physicality of large
work” she says, adding that she works six to eight hours a day in
She was recently signed by Translations Gallery in LoDo and will
have works in a February show. Watch for her next series— 12
paintings of the same size called “Steel Valley Stories.”
First Place: “Winter Lake,” a large representational oil
landscape by Charlene Roake of Colorado Springs.
Second Place: “Fissure I,” a strong mixed media abstract by Pat
Isaacs of Littleton in earth tones with black lines, giving an
Third Place: “Passion Flower,” a beautifully crafted oil of one
large exotic blossom by R. Garriott of Denver.
Juror’s Picks included:
Lisa Calavera’s “Misty Mountain Sunrise,’ a different style from
her winning series shown at the Littleton Museum the last two
Suzanne Jenne’s “Figuier,” a branch with juicy ripe figs.
“Kolin” an oil by Susan Jochum.
“Alphabet of Longing,” an intriguing clay monoprint by Harriet
Stratton of Littleton.
Honorable Mentions were received by:
Diana Cates Dunn, Diane Edwards, Diane Fechenbach, Pam
Hostetler, Stanislav Siderov and Yelena Siderova.
Also a happy note: there are a great many Choice Awards by area
Juror Victoria Kwasinski writes that as a working artist, she
understands what its like to create a work and send it out into the
world… Instead of trying to guess what a given juror might like,
she advises “enter the work you feel best about… a good juror will
put their personal preferences aside and look for sound art
principals and good technique…
“Personally, I jury on this basis and most times award those
works in which there are not only sound art principals, but also
where I see and feel an emotional response to the work. Perhaps the
artist has used materials in a unique way. Perhaps they have
captured a special sense of time and place. Perhaps the work asks a
question in which I want to know more and get involved with the
‘story’ within the piece.”
Artist Mary kay Jacobus of Centennial is show chairman. Artists
who also were invited to exhibit bin work for sale.
If you go:
The Heritage Fine Arts Guild of Arapahoe County holds its 37
year old “This is Colorado” juried exhibit through March 24 at the
Madden Museum of Art, 6363 Fiddlers Green Circle, Greenwood
Village, just east of Fiddlers Green Amphitheater in the Palazzo
Verde building. Admission free. Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mondays through Fridays.
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