Show Preview | Arts at Denver: Intimate Views

Denver, CO
May 18-June 9

Arts at Denver celebrates the intimacy of interiors and still lifes this month with new works by gallery artists. Comprising approximately 60 paintings predominately in oil, the show also includes watercolors and egg tempera among the offerings. An artists’ reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 18.

All 32 gallery artists, whether primarily landscape painters or figurative artists, were invited to participate in the show, which loosely encompasses the idea of interiors—be they interiors of rooms or cities or forests. “We love themed shows,” says gallery owner Paula Colette Conley, “but we always want to encourage the individual artist’s visions. Allowing a theme to be interpreted broadly gives the artist the greatest freedom. When we did the interiors show last year, [landscape painter] David Mayer painted the inside of a barn looking out. This gave him a chance to interpret [the landscape] in a completely different way and explore compositions and light he hadn’t had a chance to explore before.”

Participating artist Teresa Vito says that although she most often paints outdoor scenes, painting for the interiors show has been a great opportunity to broaden her skills. “I am an observer of light,” she says. “I work from photos, but I don’t copy a photo exactly. From my knowledge, I change it up a bit to stay true to what the photo represents, because the camera distorts the color and the figures. I know the outside so well; it’s more unconscious to change it. This gives me a chance to delve deeper—to study the difference of indoor light compared to outdoor light—be it fluorescent or incandescent or light shining through a window.”

Colorist and expressionist Margaretta Caesar also found that interior works offered her a new challenge. “When I started, [I was painting] horses and landscapes because that’s what I knew. I like to paint big. I want to pump color and movement into my works.” When confronted with the concept of interiors, the artist says she thought, “It’s a still life. Who wants a still life? Then I thought, hmm, I can pump that same sort of color and movement into a still life. I’ve gone from this expansive landscape into an intimate interior still life, and my goal was to keep that vibrancy and movement. I didn’t want the works to be fussy. When you get so intimate, you can get fussy. I wanted to keep it loose.”

This is the third interiors show at the gallery in as many years, and Conley says that still lifes and interiors are significantly more popular in the gallery now that it is located in Denver than when it was located in the Colorado mountains. “People who live in urban areas love the intimacy of interiors, whether the small café or the ice cream shop or even their own kitchen. The intimacy of those spaces is the crucial thing. It’s about seeing the chef as he’s working, it’s about being in the front row at the concert, and being able to handle the flowers themselves—it makes everything more immediate.” 
—Laura Rintala

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Featured in May 2012.