Vail Valley Art Guild highlights winning works in annual member exhibition in Edwards |

Vail Valley Art Guild president Andrew Pranger highlights winning works in annual member exhibition

The Vail Valley Art Guild opes its sixth annual Vail Valley Fine Arts Show on Friday with a public reception tonight at 6 p.m., and the exhibit is hanging at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards until Nov. 15. With more than 200 pieces in the show and nearly 60 participating artists, the walls of the first floor of CMC in Edwards are covered with work by local artists.

This year, the VVAG also invited local gallery owners to judge work. Vail International Gallery owners Marc LeVarn and Patrick Cassidy, as well as Raitman Gallery owner Ross Raitman, selected winners in 10 categories. They also each awarded a Judge’s Choice and a Best In Show.

VVAG President Andrew Pranger organized and hung the exhibition. When he received images of work, he was often surprised at how different the paintings were in real life, and for that reason, he encourages art lovers to come see the show in person.

“Looking at photos of paintings is nowhere near as interesting as seeing it in person,” he said. “You have to see these things in person.”

He walked through the exhibition with the Vail Daily, highlighting some of the winners and each of their artistic talents. Here’s what he had to say.

2D Landscape: Lynn Feiger, “Trees and Stream”

“Trees and Stream” by Lynn Feiger blends elements of landscape and abstraction.
Casey Russell |

“There’s so much movement in her work. You could almost say that this is an abstract,” Pranger said. But line work paired with nods to trees, rocks and flowing water indicates to the viewer that they’re looking at a forest scene. “I think it’s interesting the way that she brings those two together.”

2D Figure – Portrait: Mark Lemon, “Hopi Medicine Man”

“Hopi Medicine Man” by Mark Lemon incorporates Lemon’s signature Western style.
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“Mark’s really talented,” Pranger said. Lemon took part in the Ranch Project, which exhibited at CMC last month, and many of his pieces have a western feel to them. “That shadow on the face is so well done.”

Photo – Abstract: Melissa Lipton, “Ripple Effect”

Melissa Lipton printed “Ripple Effect” on a sheet of brushed metal, which enhances the graphic and abstract quality of her image.
Casey Russell |

This photo of water ripples, Pranger said, wasn’t manipulated to appear abstract, but when Lipton chose to print it on a sheet of metal, it changed the image. “The material that it was printed on really added to the abstraction, which is really cool,” he said. This piece also won Ross Raitman’s Judge’s Choice award.

Photo – Figure/Portrait: Raj Manickam, “Dance and Drama”

The artist captured this photo while documenting a mission group in Asia. This photo was taken at a local market.
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“He is a relatively new photographer,” Pranger said. “He started out taking classes here with one of our instructors. I think he’s gotten better and better and better.” Last year’s show was the first time Manickam had ever shown his work – it won the Juror’s Choice award.

3D Sculpture: Linda Sneath, “Woman’s Choice”

Ceramics usually are coated in shiny glaze after firing, but Sneath opted to skip it and go for a folk art effect.
Casey Russell |

The folk art-inspired figure is a ceramic. “But she didn’t glaze it,” Pranger said, “She actually hand-painted it, with acrylic I believe. It actually gives it a little bit different of a finish than a lot of our other ceramic pieces.”

3D Functional: Ken Kolano, “Basket Illusion with Red and Black”

Ken Kolano uses found wood to carve pieces that look like woven baskets.
Casey Russell |

“This is actually a solid piece of wood that he’s hand-carved to make it look like a basket,” he said. “It’s crazy. It’s really, really amazing.” The artist sources his wood from fallen trees and also makes traditional bowls by wood turning.

Judge’s Choice, Marc LeVarn: Pamela Olson, “Seed Vessels”

“Seed Vessels” by Pamela Olson is all hand-formed.
Casey Russell |

Olson is a ceramics teacher at CMC. “She doesn’t throw on the wheel at all, these are all hand-made,” Pranger said.

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