Unique art on tap from Vail to Edwards
July 1, 2010
VAIL, Colorado – Fireworks will be the least of the artistic spectacles on display this weekend around the valley. Local galleries play host to a myriad of shows highlighting some of the nation’s most unusual sculptors and painters.
Denver-based painter Malcom Farley got a lot of exposure during the 2008 presidential election when a photo of him painting one of his most famed pieces – of Barack Obama – ran on the cover of the New York Times. Farley says Obama has seen the piece, likes it and is interested in owning it. You also might know Farley’s work from the vivid, stopped-in-fast-motion sports personalities, some of which have been featured on Pepsi cans. Philinda Gallery in Edwards has long been a proponent – and a host – of Farley’s work.
“Malcom is known as a sports artist and Wall Street Journal picked him as the No. 1 sports painter in the country a few years ago,” said Philinda co-owner Phil Waldbaum. “He’s done World Series, skiers, NFL … but right now he’s painting many things that are spiritual and abstract. They’re intriguing personalities. One key with his painting, everything is very colorful and more than just about any other artist, he’s really able to show a lot of action in all of his paintings.”
Though Farley works on several big commissions, he is looking forward to this weekend’s art show in Edwards, in particular the live painting he will be doing.
Using oils, Farley says he can view a subject (Waldbaum said there is a possibility he may set up at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout finals for some freshly captured motion) or a photo and have a completed painting in three or four hours, eyes focused on his work while interacting with onlookers.
“I know it’s something you always hear, but when you’re in the zone, my whole thing is I try to get out of the way, and let the the spirit, the energy force, take over,” Farley said. “I like to carry on a conversation so it’s interactive. Even when I was a little boy, you’re always amazed when you see an artist paint, it’s a magic that occurs.”
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The paintings on display this weekend will feature a hodgepodge of Farley’s favorite subject matter.
“We decided we’d do a cross section, some of the ski paintings, the jazz paintings, the abstract spiritual stuff,” Farley said, adding that he’s very much looking forward to his time in the valley. “You really can’t beat a Colorado summer. It’s going to be a great weekend.”
The Malcom Farley show will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Philinda Gallery at 137 Main in Edwards, with live painting from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 970-926-9265.
Beaver Creek C. Anthony Gallery director Josephine De Lucinges says that the Fourth of July show slot is typically given to the gallery’s most renowned international artists, but this year, C. Anthony resident artist Britten gets a chance to shine.
Britten, who hails from San Francisco but was sent to study art in Florence, Italy, when she was young, works in multi mediums of oil, resin, copper leaf, gold and silver, creating colorful, abstract canvasses that look like moving landscapes.
When she first approached De Lucinges at Beaver Creek, there was no opening for another artist and Britten initially served as an art consultant for the gallery. However, after a space became available to display some of her work, it immediately began selling.
“We had an opening for one new artist. We started really cultivating Colorado artists and younger artists,” recalls De Lucinges. “We encouraged her to bring us her work. There was a great freedom in her expression. From the classic portraits, nature of Colorado … she somehow deconstructed the forms and shapes into pure light and luminous landscapes. She surprised herself. Her expression started to fly open. Our executives looked at it and said, ‘Wow.'”
When it comes to subject matter, Britten doesn’t aim to create any particular thing. The paintings take shape from an open channel of spontaneity. The end result means something different to each person who sees it.
“My paintings are about whatever manifests between the viewer and the canvas,” she said. “In my opinion, it is a personal experience to view art and really connect with it. Sometimes it is a memory that is triggered or an emotional reaction to a certain color combination, or sometimes we see something we long for… As an artist, I paint to open a door for the viewer. My paintings are an invitation for a new experience, or a new perception, or a new possibility. I like to think the viewer finishes my paintings by giving them meaning.”
The door that opens for many appears to be an emotional one. De Lucinges says she has seen people begin tearing up while staring upon Britten’s paintings.
“Since her paintings have various colors and people resonate with different colors, people say to us that her art has a healing property,” De Lucinges said. “We have people become very emotional looking at her art. My feeling is she connects with the source of light and reflects it back to the viewer. The viewer sees whatever they want to see and what they need to see.”
Britten unveils three brand new pieces this weekend at C. Anthony Gallery at 61 Avondale Lane at Market Square in Beaver Creek. Her show and artist reception with wine and hors d’œuvres runs from 4 to 8 p.m. July 2 and 3 with a small brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 4. For more information, call 970-845-8645.
There is an intricate story behind the Trunk Show at Cogswell Gallery in Vail, but don’t come expecting elaborately designed storage units. The name of the show stems from one particular trunk that was instrumental in inspiring the SOMERS jewelry collection.
For starters, Somers Randolph is not a jewelry designer. He is a sculptor. But the collection in the Cogswell exhibit combines the artistic vision of his wife, Hillary Fitzpatrick, who hails from the New York fashion industry. Randolph has specialized in stone sculpting for 30 years. He has also done miniature versions of his sculptures in soapstone, and it was a trunk full of these pieces that Fitzpatrick discovered after the couple were married and living in Sante Fe that launched the jewelry collection. The soapstone carvings were recast in silver and gold pendants, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, cufflinks and belt buckles and the SOMERS collection was born. The pieces feature intricate curves, loops and angles, inspiring names such as “Comfort” and “Mobius.”
“Each piece of our original collection begins as a soapstone sculpture,” Randolph said. “To keep the integrity of the original soapstone, we make a mold, the resulting wax is cast in gold or silver, and is then hand-finished with a five-step polishing process. Stone becomes silver and gold the alchemy of the SOMERS collection.”
The Trunk Show featuring the SOMERS Collection runs from July 1 through 10 at Cogswell Gallery at 223 E. Gore Creek Dr. in Vail Village. The gallery will host an artist reception from 2 to 6 p.m. July 8 and 9. For more information, please call 970-476-1769.