Banisters and be-bop |

Banisters and be-bop

Wren Wertin
Special to the Daily"Midnight Train" by Rob Farrer

The new artists include Linda Brown, Rob Farrer, Julie Spinnato and Holly Roof. Taking their inspiration from a variety of sources – including the aforementioned banisters and be-bop – they bring more diversity into the already varied walls and floors of the gallery.

Brown’s work is deliciously extravagant. Creating furniture out of found objects, they are benches, chaises, tables with a very large and bold exclamation point.

“It’s what I do, what I can’t stop doing,” said Brown. “I think I was dropped on my head as an adult. One day 10 years ago I was trying to make a tuffet, and it just – all of a sudden my garage was turned into tools, and my car never saw the inside of it again.”

The functional pieces are made out of anything she finds – buckets, flower pots, copper pipe, balcony balustrades. In her pre-furniture-making life she was a professional chef.

“I was going to call my studio It Stays on the Plate, because I got tired (as a chef) of my art disappearing so fast,” she said.

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One particularly stunning piece is a chaise lounge, covered in maroon Chinese silk with feathers. She carves the wooden legs of her pieces. Her style is going in an Asian direction now, though the pieces in the gallery are more wacky and Texan.

“Some of them are kind of wicked – in a good way,” she said. “The chaise is kind of trampy. I like it.”

For Rob Farrer, it isn’t the objects of generations past that stirs the muse – it’s the music of the Golden Age of jazz. Most of his canvasses and drawings reflect musicians, honing their skills as they ply their craft.

“Most of my painting is inspired by music,” said Farrer. “I almost always paint to jazz music. I like the spontaneity, and the fact that anything goes. You have a loose structure, but chaos and freedom within that structure.”

He prefers straight-ahead jazz, including be-bop and hard-bop, and jazz singers such as Billie Holiday.

Farrer has several jazz works in the gallery, including a couple of canvasses dripping with color and motion. The Plaza was a natural fit for him, as he was interested in a co-operative setup.

“It’s a very practical place to start,” he explained. “I’ve got a lot of work, I’ve just been producing it without trying to show it. Once I started accumulating a fair amount, I decided it was time to show it and look for a reaction.”

Like Brown, Farrer is self taught. He travels a great deal, but does most of his work at home.

Gallery mainstay Susan Mackin Dolan will be showing new work, too. Her series was inspired by burned trees and trees under water. She discovered the burned trees while hiking solo in the Glenwood area.

“You could see this green, but it wasn’t grass. It was new trees, coming out of the burned ones,” she said.

The underwater trees were found in Trapper’s Lake. Eerily, the area burned down shortly after she visited.

“These new things are about change and impermanence, so I’m combining cycles of life, tree life,” she said. “I just started using these images, I’m not sure where I’ll put them all.”

Several of the artists will be at the opening, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. The Plaza Gallery is located in the Village Inn Plaza, behind the Alpenrose Restaurant, in Vail. For more information call the gallery at 476-4477.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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