Cogswell Gallery hosts art show and artist reception with Alex Gramm |

Cogswell Gallery hosts art show and artist reception with Alex Gramm

Daily staff report
Cogswell Gallery in Vail Village will host Alex Gramm and his Native American series for an art show and reception from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19.
Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Alex Gramm art show and reception.

When: 3-8 p.m. Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19.

Where: Cogswell Gallery, 223 Gore Creek Drive, Vail Village.

Cost: Admission is free.

More information: Call 970-476-1769, or visit

VAIL — When meeting Alex Gramm, one immediately realizes how crucial and how enjoyable the artistic process really is for him. From a young age, Gramm loved to experiment. Whether it was in his introductory courses in college or in his current body of work, he is open to new mediums and techniques to realize his artistic expression.

Gramm’s work has been on view in a variety of public spaces, such as the Denver Design Center and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. His work has also been on exhibit in galleries in Kansas City, Chicago, New Mexico and now Vail. Cogswell Gallery in Vail Village will host Gramm and his Native American series for an art show and reception from 3 to 8 p.m. today and Saturday.

Planting the seeds

In his senior year of high school, Gramm contemplated the possibility of becoming an artist. He sent out applications and was accepted to numerous art colleges across the nation, finally committing to the Kansas City Art Institute. Through his foundation program, Gramm blossomed. He was given freedom to explore countless art disciplines, testing his true calling. Freely experimenting with photography, sculpture and painting in both oil and acrylic, Gramm was like a kid in a candy store.

Following school, Gramm refined his vision and immersed himself in mixed media, combining his love of photography and painting. His Native American series, which was inspired by the photography of Edward Sheriff Curtis, allowed him to indulge his love of the American West and experiment with a contemporary application on a historic topic. The Native American theme of his current work dates back to his childhood.

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As a child, Gramm immediately fell in love with the American West on trips with his father to the Coleman Lake Club, an exclusive fishing club in Wisconsin. Here, he discovered a sizeable collection of Native American artifacts displayed in many of the club’s cabins.

Constant interaction with these artifacts fueled Gramm’s desire to learn more about Native American culture, with it eventually becoming the key subject of his current body of work. He realized what he was seeing was a fading culture and a crucial part of U.S. history. It was a deep-rooted culture that was being lost, and he wanted to pay tribute to that cultural heritage.

Developing as an artist

Later in life, Gramm took it upon himself to attend and document Native American powwows. Through these experiences, he was able to collect hundreds of photographs that he regularly revisits. His Native American paintings are all based on his original black and white film images. They are composed of oil, acrylic, graphite, charcoal, spray paint, asphaltum and a gel medium.

Gramm utilizes the spray paint in a manner to mimic the grain structure of the black and white film when it has been blown up beyond its intended scale. The final coat is a gel medium, which doubles as an ultraviolet protectant and isolates each layer of paint. This adds depth and volume to the image in a similar manner to photographic paper.

Gramm feels most comfortable working with what others may see as an unnecessary challenge. His Native American series, as well as most of his other work, is produced life size or often with larger-than-life proportions. He describes his work as very music-driven and energetic and loves to create an antiquated look with his muted palette. This all comes at a price, as Gramm may take a month or longer to finish a single piece. Always on his feet, he once recorded walking 15 miles to complete a finished painting.

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