Arts at Denver, February 5-27
This story was featured in the January 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
Tempting though it may be to say that love is in the air during Arts at Denver’s annual Valentine’s show this month, the passion actually is displayed on the walls, about a hundred times over, in works contributed by the 35 artists the gallery represents, plus a handful of guest artists. Many of the painters are on hand for the opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on February 5, timed to coincide with the city’s monthly First Friday Art Walk.
Paula Colette Conley, the gallery’s director and proprietor, chose the title, Love in Color, for more than just the obvious holiday reasons. Though romance may figure overtly in some of the works on view, she says, the broader theme relates to “the love of painting and the love of art,” along with the fact that “a love of color is the primary quality that draws people to a painting and draws an artist to paint it in the first place.”
Lani Vlaanderen, an artist based in Drake, CO, who has shown with the gallery since 1992, enthusiastically agrees with Conley, who in turn prizes the artist for the “feeling of joy or serenity or celebration” present in her creations. Vlaanderen also finds the show’s title wholly appropriate for its more direct associations with February 14. “When you think of love,” she says, “you do tend to think in terms of bright colors, because love elevates the emotions just as color does.” She’s planning as many as five pieces for the show, including a small oil of a male and female sparrow. “The earth tones and green colors express my love for depicting the natural world,” she says.
Nature also figures prominently in at least one of the three or four oils that Pueblo-based Teresa Vito brings. “It is a still life of flowers in bright shades that look like they’re almost right out of the [paint] tube,” she says, adding with a laugh, “I’m Italian, so I’m not scared of color.” A stalwart at the gallery since 1993—and, according to Conley, an artist whose enthusiasm and sheer love of painting are infectious—Vito also looks forward to offering some subtler interpretations of the theme. These include a figurative piece showing “an old couple with white hair, viewed from behind against the backdrop of a little old town in Italy.” The hues in this work, she notes, are more muted, their softness gently expressing “where they are in life and the gentleness of long love.”
As such varied subjects may suggest, visitors to Arts at Denver encounter choices to suit any taste. Conley notes, however, that savvy collectors know to pay a visit before opening night. “Most of my regulars know that I tend to hang my shows as early as the previous Friday,” she advises, while also noting that the gallery is closed Sunday through Tuesday but open by appointment. “So if you want to have your pick, come early,” she says. —Norman Kolpas
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