James Moore art show and reception at Cogswell Gallery on Friday, Saturday | VailDaily.com

James Moore art show and reception at Cogswell Gallery on Friday, Saturday

Daily staff report
"Elephant Walk," by James Moore and Sandy Keller.
Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: James Moore art show and reception.

When: 1-6 p.m. Friday, March 11, and Saturday, March 12.

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

Cost: Admission is free.

More information: Call 970-476-1769, or visit http://www.cogswellgallery.com.

VAIL — The collaboration between sculptor James Moore and acrylic painter Sandy Keller goes so well together, it quite possibly could be compared to peanut butter and jelly. The synergy between these two artists is felt in the juxtaposition of the deep, vibrant colors of Keller’s abstract work and detailed bronze figures of Moore. Each artist brings life to the final piece that would not have otherwise been felt.

From 1 to 6 p.m. today and Saturday, Moore will feature many of his latest collaborations with Keller at Cogswell Gallery in Vail Village.

Artist introduction

For Moore, a longtime interest in art and the natural world was the catalyst for his transition from a career in technology to a career as a sculptor. The journey began while growing up in Texas, where he spent most summers with grandparents in rural environments. The opportunity to spend much of his time with wildlife and the ability to draw led to many renderings of both wild and domestic animals and birds. Moore’s hobby slowly evolved into painting and, soon after, sculpting wildlife.

After working as a registered nurse in San Diego and creating art after hours, Keller decided to take the plunge in 2000, relocating to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time artist. Her style is exemplified through impressionist landscapes in oil and acrylic abstracts. Her abstractions are time consuming, as she may be working on as many as 21 paintings at once. Keller has been featured in Western Art Collector, Southwest Art Magazine and has received numerous recognitions.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Worlds collide

Each artist works independently to avoid contaminating the other with ideas of what the final product should be. Instead, once each has finished, they get together and meticulously examine which scene and setting would fit best together.

Through as many as 50 layers, Keller creates the organic backdrops, beginning the process with layers of gesso on a horizontal panel. She then applies watered-down acrylics, letting them run across the panel on their own. Once she is happy with a particular look, she seals the layers with resin. The result of the layering gives the viewer more to explore the longer one looks at it.

Moore then comes in, typically with a 2- to 3-inch miniature animal sculpture to place on top of Keller’s acrylics. Moore uses stones to create the ground from which the figurines look out. The animals, though small, are highly detailed and manifest the artist’s deep respect for the world around him. Moore sculpts various animals, including elephants, bears, bison, rhinos, elk, mountain lions and mountain goats, and gives clients the option to set any animal in any setting, depending on the client’s wishes.

Moore feels viewing wildlife in its natural environment is important to developing an overall sense of the animals, their habitats and gestures. The grand idea and goal of each piece is to “capture that moment of abstraction that many people have when coming face to face with wildlife.”

“When most people observe wildlife, the focus is on the animal — eye to eye,” Moore said. “The surrounding backdrop becomes blurred and abstract.”

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