This story was featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Just as a brilliant ray of light that emerges through billowy thunderheads alters your perception of a familiar vista, the Arts at Denver show titled Earth, Sky, Water allows you to view landscapes with a renewed appreciation. “This show is to demonstrate every aspect of the landscape,” says Arts at Denver owner Paula Colette Conley. “I don’t want people to think of this as a traditional landscape show. If you think about earth, sky, and water, you see the great diversity in the landscape. There is a big variety within the landscape field.”
Earth, Sky, Water opens with an artists’ reception on September 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. and features work from the gallery’s impressive list of over 40 Colorado painters, including longtime gallery artist David W. Mayer, and the first non-Colorado artists to be part of the gallery, Erin Hanson and Jami Tobey. “There was more than one customer of mine who pointed out these artists. I’m thrilled to have them as a part of the show,” Conley says.
Despite earning a bio-engineering degree, Hanson chose to turn exclusively to her art. “My art has just taken over,” she says. “I work 70 hours a week.” The effort shows: “I have one painting that is 18 feet long; it’s a six-sectioned painting of the north rim of the Grand Canyon. So much of my painting is about texture,” she notes. “People have trouble not touching it. I think it’s the best work I’ve done.”
Tobey has taken her memories of living in Colorado and transferred them into her work. “My pieces are representative of Colorado,” she says. “The last time I was there I was struck by the old barns, the new barns; they’re all so beautiful. I fused that with the hills, sky, and colors, and I think it works,” she adds. Tobey brings to the show works of varying size. “The goal is that a little piece can go anywhere,” she says. “They give you hope and are a happy, healing sense of peace and wonder.”
Mayer has been with Arts at Denver since 2002. “David is more of a traditional plein-air landscape artist. He loves the big open skies, huge clouds rolling across the sky, mountains, water. His work is gorgeous,” says Conley.
“I’m working on a whole new series called Western Waters,” Mayer says. “The pieces feature some lakes, shores, some sky; these are more abstract and contemporary with a lot of emphasis on water.” For example, AUTUMN AT HESSIE LAKE focuses on the beauty of water, “with a little background of evergreens, bushes reflected in the lake water, and just a little hint of sky,” he notes. Mayer is known for his expertise in painting water, but this series gives “water its turn.” —Anne Hopper Vickstrom
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