Unconventional Western art in Vail | VailDaily.com

Unconventional Western art in Vail

Brenda Himelfarb
Daily Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

It might sound odd, but truly, the best word to describe the Carrie Fell Gallery is “happy,” for when you enter that space, that is exactly how you feel. It’s as though the ambiance and the art come together to make you feel relaxed and joyful.

The gallery opened in December in Solaris in Vail Village.

Fell, who is best known for her images of cowgirls, horses and longhorns, identifies with artists who “are always thinking outside of the box.” Like pop artist Andy Warhol, Fell is always thinking of another way of taking an image and making it something different.

“I suppose you can call me an ‘unconventional Western artist,'” Fell said. “However, I don’t think that’s what my art is. I think my art is mostly gestural movements that show a statement through color and fluidity. What I paint doesn’t matter. It could be a cafe scene. It would be a winter scene. It’s every day. It’s life. Sometimes, it can be political. It’s meeting people and hearing their stories and wondering how that relates to me.”

And the artists whom she represents seem to share Fell’s uncommon way of expressing herself. The work has you “oooing” and “ahhhing” and smiling.

‘An educational gallery’

As you enter the gallery, you’ll be greeted by the whimsical, colorful pieces by metal sculptor Philip Glasshoff, which he has conceived with found objects.

You’ll also see the hand-tooled, hand-painted leather bags of all sizes made by artists Marc Robinson and Kirsten Swenhope.

Mosaic artist Sydney Peterson combines her love and knowledge of glass and oil mediums. She said she feels that merging the two together invigorates a strong spiritual life that pours from within the vessels that she artfully creates.

Fell also represents master wood turner Ted Knight, who creates glass-finished wooden vessels. Don’t miss Knight’s piece “You, Me and the Fence,” which looks as though the tree literally “ate” the fence. You’ll also find Carol Braden, who, with reclaimed mixed media, has fashioned guitars with names such as “Redrocker,” “Midnight Cowboy” and “Vintage Blue Boy.”

“The gallery is what you might call an educational gallery,” Fell said. “I want to give avant-garde artists a voice. I have form and function pieces. … I want to always be engaging in ‘the lively.’ I will have some artists give talks. I want to have ‘duels’ with other artists and have them challenge me outside my norm.”

Owning a gallery is new territory for Fell. Her gallery in Vail is her first.

“I always want to challenge myself,” Fell said. “I love what I do. But sometimes there are times in your life when you ‘know.’ And this is one of those times.”

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