Ladders, windows and lenses |

Ladders, windows and lenses

Wren Wertin
Vail Daily/Ken Lawdermilk"Untitled," oil on canvas, by Sara McClure

The Vail Library has long been a launching pad for local artists ready to go public. This week, two artists co-host their first show since graduating from college with degrees in fine art. The artwork of Sandra Berardi and Sara McClure will be on the walls of the library’s community room through Thursday, and will be on display at the Vail Art Festival Friday through Sunday.

Sandra Berardi

One look at Berardi’s work and three things are apparent: she isn’t afraid of color, she likes whimsy and her symbols of choice are ladders and windows.

“These ladders just happened,” she said, waving at the sculpture and a painting beside it, “The Perfect Moment.” “I hope it’s not about escapism. I think it’s about trying new things.”

New things includes a foray into heretofore uncharted territory for the artist – sculpting. Berardi is recently returned from a two-week course at Aspen’s Anderson Ranch. Her sculpture, “Escape,” includes an open-ended ladder unfolding into the world, a window below it, and two colorful pinwheels – the top one inspired by starfruit in the grocery store.

“Anderson Ranch opened up doors within me,” she said. “I’d like to do a residency there, which could lead to an M.F.A. I think I’d like to make that commitment.”

After a one-year stint in a cubicle (“it almost killed me”), Berardi worked as a graphic designer. She’s recently taken the plunge and gone out on her own to pursue a career in art, making everything from cigar box purses to mosaic tables to painted furniture to paintings. Chances of her getting bored or in a rut are slim, as she’s always got a dozen projects in the air.

“I was the kid in school who doodled down all the margins of my notes, and then all over the notes, too,” she said. “I think when I’m doing that, well, I can’t even explain how good I feel.”

Some of her paintings, especially one work called “The Right Moment,” are extensions of her doodling, bringing symbolism and meaning to the lines and shapes.

Berardi has two series of three paintings each. One is in a clean-edged, long-limbed style that wouldn’t be out of place illustrating the most stylish of fashion magazines; the other is more realistic in interpretation, and has a caught-in-the-act feeling to it, as if the subjects were unknowingly observed. Both series are of women, and tell a whole story.

“As an artist, I can make my own world,” she said. “I could pretend I’m a fashion designer – I love fabrics and patterns. That’s why I liked the Ranch so much. I could be whoever I wanted to be.”

Sara McClure

An art major at Wartburg College in Iowa, McClure works as a graphic

Art Show, see B4

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