Vail Valley Art Guild’s 4th annual Fine Art Exhibition at CMC through October |

Vail Valley Art Guild’s 4th annual Fine Art Exhibition at CMC through October

Tom Mullen's "Union Station # 1" won first place at the Vail Valley Art Guild and Vail Valley Art Guild Photographers photo contest. The exhibition is on display, with all art availabe for purchase, at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards through October.
Tom Mullen | Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Fourth annual Fine Art Exhibition by Vail Valley Art Guild and Vail Valley Art Guild Photographers.

Where: Colorado Mountain College, Edwards.

When: Through October.

Cost: Free, all works of art are for sale.

the Edwards Colorado Mountain College campus recently opened the Vail Valley Art Guild and Vail Valley Art Guild Photographers fourth annual Art Exhibition, an exhibition of local artists and photographers which continues throughout the month.

The event features more than 60 members of the Vail Valley Art Guild Photographers of various stages of proficiency, from professionals to amateurs.

The same jurors of the CMC Carbondale 50th anniversary Photo Contest juried the Vail Valley Art Guild Photographers submissions. The photographic imagery on display at the Edwards campus exhibited imagery by instructors, students and VVAGP members. The range of subject matter and sophistication was wide ranging as there was no “theme” to this exhibition.

‘Union Station #1’

Tom Mullen took first place for his entry, “Union Station #1.” This predominantly black-and-white image of Denver’s Union Station has elements or traces of “color” within the image as well as train movement, making it an artistic statement of note. It is a compact viewing of the historic railroad station, created by the photographer’s use of a specific focal length lens, and creates a compositionally tight photographic arrangement with the massive new steel structures of the train station. His angle of view is noteworthy, and it certainly is a “strong” image.

‘Mt. Sopris Early Morning Fog’

Rick Spitzer, a co-founder of the VVAGP, took second place with his colored image of Mount Sopris and Cristal River, “Mt. Sopris Early Morning Fog.” Spitzer’s use of color in this image is very dramatic, an elongated image with the composition leading the viewer to view the image from its foreground, the Cristal River and leads you to massive Mount Sopris in the background, the valley floor draped in fog as the early morning sun lights up the peaks in the distance. The early morning lighting creates a profoundly romantic image depicting an icon image of the West. It likewise is a strong image.

Double Honors

Raymond A. Bleesz, also a co-founder of the VVAGP, took double honors at the exhibition, both images being black and white, his preferred media.

One image, “BBQ, Hanksville, UT. #1” took the Best of Show award. This image, depicting a Burma Shave type billboard, or perhaps a better know local FMLight billboard, is a billboard standing alone in the vastness of the Western landscape which offers a hint of the photographer’s sense of dry humor, juxtaposition or wonderment. It also is in the tradition of a Walker Evans photograph, a photographer who Bleesz identifies with.

The second honor, Best Landscape, is a depiction of a barren landscape as well. It is in reference to the 1960s, 1970s New Topographics School of Photography, that of Denver’s Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore, Edward Ruscha, photographic artists amongst others who viewed the landscape in different ways other than “beauty.”

Bleesz’s work follows this tradition where by the landscape is stripped of its artistic frills and reduced to its topographic state, conveying visual information, but eschewing the aspects of beauty, or emotion. It is an image of a rest station along Interstate 70 sitting on a geographic point with the distant Bookcliffs in the background in the state of Utah, titled “Outhouse I-70 Desert of Utah, #1.” The compositional elements of this image is likewise strong. This image was previously selected by Rebecca Robertson, curator, editor of NYC’s Photo District News to a gallery showing in Denver early this summer.

Merit awards were given out as well to numerous others. Spitzer and Bleesz believe the VVAGP members have offered a strong showing, and this exhibition at the Edwards CMC campus is a testimony and a reminder that photography can be and is art.

The fourth annual Fine Art Exhibition between CMC and the Vail Valley Art Guild and Vail Valley Art Guild Photographers is worthy of a viewing. All works of art are for sale.

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