This story was featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art May 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art May 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
On May 3, James Ratliff Gallery unveils 10 to 15 new mixed-media works by Colorado-based artist Lelija (pronounced Luh-lee-yuh) Roy. The show opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. during the First Friday Gallery Tour and with a short talk from the artist.
“The theme of my work,” Roy says, “is anticipating change, be that seasonal change or sunrise-into-day change.” The works feature Roy’s primary focus—the western landscape—but are less representational than they are concerned with emotional or intuitive aspects. “What I really go for is the tempo and the feeling I get when I am in that landscape.” This collection of paintings has more complex layering than her previous works, with each piece having 20 or more layers of paint and collaged materials, including papers, fabrics, beads, and marble dust. Roy is quick to note that all of her pigments and other materials are professional artist-quality. “I used to hate collage because you would see the paper fade and yellow [over time], so I am not using any manufactured or printed papers,” she says.
A significant number of the works depict aspens during seasonal changes. “I am aspen obsessed,” Roy says. “I grew up on the East Coast, and I came out here and said ‘Look at all the lovely birches!’ and quickly got corrected.” Today Roy possesses a much deeper knowledge and awareness of the trees. “An entire grove is a single organism,” she notes, and her works celebrate and reflect the changes that happen to them throughout the year.
Gallery owner James Ratliff says, “People come in and marvel at [Roy’s] technique and how she is able to create her subject matter through her use of those materials.” They also are attracted to her use of color. “Color is so important. Today people are really relating to color and love a lot of it.
“When I look at new art,” Ratliff says, “I don’t see subject matter. I see composition, color, and the way the materials are used”—the elements that make lasting art. “Lelija is a fairly new artist, [but] artistically [her work] has all of that. I am very excited about the show and having her in my stable of artists.” —Laura Rintala
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