VAIL — Through the use of innovative techniques and the mastery of ancient art forms, Houston Llew and Chris Lundy have risen to the top of the long list of America’s most talented and collected young artists. Both artists will show their work at Art on a Whim galleries in Vail Village this weekend.
It was a journey westward that marked a transformative experience in Llew’s life. Fueling his Winnebago along the way with the occasional poker game, Llew eventually landed in Santa Fe, New Mexico and met his mentor, the master enamelist Zingaro, who introduced Llew to the ancient world of vitreous enamel.
Bringing Together FIRED GLASS AND METAL
Vitreous enamel is the luminous combination of fired glass on metal. Its history dates back to artifacts found in the ruins of ancient Greece, China and the Isle of Man. In both Zingaro and Llew’s work, it is the application of molten glass layered onto blocks of copper. When Llew first fired his own designs in a kiln, he knew he had found himself as an artist.
Llew’s discovery of vitreous enamel launched him to the forefront of emerging American artists and spawned his creation of Spiritiles late in 2008. Created with the vitreous enamel process, Llew begins each piece by shaping and sizing a block of copper mined from the American southwest. Next, he forms colored bits of glass into the designs seen on his finished Spiritiles. The tiles are kiln-fired to hold the glass in its final, beautiful resting place on top of the durable copper. For the final part of the process, Llew intentionally cracks each piece to provide a rustic look to an otherwise contemporary looking medium.
Perhaps the most interesting part of each Spiritile is the quote found on its golden sides. For example, Llew’s depiction of fluttering birds titled “Aloft” reads, “To our children we give two things — one is roots, the other wings,” by Hodding Carter. His heart design reads, “I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart,” an E.E. Cummings quote. And Llew’s bicycle piece “Brilliant Ride” states, “I thought of that while riding my bicycle,” since Albert Einstein had some great ideas while riding his bicycle. Llew signs the bottom of each piece.
Works by CHRIS LUNDY
Chris Lundy creates multidimensional, mixed-media paintings that reflect his love for the universe as a whole. As a master and innovator of the modern illuminist technique, Lundy’s work is all about reflection.
Modern illuminism is a far-from-common artistic style. In fact, research shows that Lundy is one of only a handful of people in the world working in the style. While contemporary in approach, composition and form, the art form traces its earliest roots to Renaissance painter Matthias Grunewald and later to masters such as Rembrant and William Turner.
At its core, and at the core of every one of Lundy’s original works, modern illuminism is defined by the art of reflecting light through painting. The glue that holds Lundy’s collection together and truly separates him from his artistic counterparts is the multi-dimensional, luminescent, color changing, light refracting properties found in every new creation.
Lundy combines epoxy resins with various mediums to create his pieces. Many viewers mistake Lundy’s works for blown glass, sand, geodes, marble or other beautiful, naturally occurring materials that have been manipulated and shaped into form on canvas. The reflective quality in Lundy’s work comes from the fact that his pieces are anywhere from a single layer to 15 layers deep. Every Lundy piece changes with the amount of lighting shown on the painting, giving his work a chameleon-like effect as it interacts with the light in the room.
Much of Lundy’s new work takes inspiration from his fascination with crystals and the energy they are said to create. His piece “Whispers of Winter” conveys the beauty the artist finds in nature, while maintaining Lundy’s sense of surrealism and imagination. Incorporated into the sculpted tree Lundy shaped into the piece’s focal point are Swarovski crystals and pieces of amethyst. The movement and cool colors in the piece invoke a sense of the passing of the old while stepping into the new.
Both artists will be in the Art on a Whim galleries throughout the weekend. Llew’s cousin, the talented musician Billy Swayze, will be on hand providing live music upon persuasion as well.