100 e. meadow drive, suite 27 | vail • 970.477.0600 • mastersgalleryvail.com
featuring Carrie Fell
After a six-year stretch running her own gallery, Carrie Fell returns home. Home, because when art director Rayla Kundolf opened Masters Gallery in 2002, she chose Fell as one of her innovative artists to represent. Now, Fell comes full circle — but with much more knowledge, experience and accolades.
Through gallery ownership, Fell learned personally about the challenges and triumphs of the art business. Now, she cherishes working as a team with Kundolf more than ever, as it allows her to focus on her first love: creating art.
Although she’s back in the “comfort zone” of her studio, Fell continues to grow as an artist. In fact, displaying her paintings in the same gallery known for its unique pop art has inspired her to push the envelope and consider ways to “marry pop art with my style,” she says.
“In my gallery, it was me against me,” she says. “(Now) I feel a little pressure, and I like that pressure. It makes me become better. It makes me feel alive.”
That vitality translates into every boldly colorful painting Fell generates, be it portraying racers, as the official artist of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, or bringing new life to her original cowboy series.
Twenty years ago, she felt a pulse of change in Colorado, so she began to portray cowboys. That transition she intuited has resulted in cowboys, ranches and the traditional Western lifestyle fading away. Her colorful paintings maintain the legacy of Colorado cowboys. Meanwhile, she strives to live by their value system of simplicity, hard work and bravery.
Her original Cool Cowboys, produced in 2008, hung in Masters Gallery before Fell opened her gallery. Now, the revival of her Cool Cowboys hangs at Masters. She has transformed her original black-background screen prints into multilayered, color-on-color pieces that play with the eye.
In addition to her cowboy art, Fell is focusing on animals, from moose and buffalo to a new subject: dogs. Just as Fell’s cowboys and skiers represent courage, her animals act as metaphors. As the wanderer, the eternal traveler, the moose reminds people to follow their passions. Her canines exude the unconditional love and friendship she feels the world needs these days.
Different mediums, such as variation in canvases, have also allowed her art to morph into “a little looser, more fluid, but still full of color” pieces.
“She gives a breath of fresh air back to Western art,” Kundolf says. “She takes the tradition and infuses a colorful edge into the image itself.”
Indeed, as Fell returns “home” to Masters, she continues to build a solid home for Western art, with a bit of pop attitude.
— by kimberly nicoletti