Vail International Gallery to host joint art exhibit by Denver painters |

Vail International Gallery to host joint art exhibit by Denver painters

Stephen Lloyd Wood
“Acacia (She Knows),” by Michelle Torrez | Vail International Gallery | Art Magazine Summer 2015
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Joint exhibition of new work by painters Michelle Torrez and Mikael Olson.

Where: Vail International Gallery, 100 East Meadow Drive, No. 17, Vail.

When: The show opens Saturday with an artist’s reception from 4 to 6 p.m. and runs through July 25.

More information: Call 970-476-2525 or

VAIL — It’s not often on the local art scene one hears honor, friendship and support are behind an upcoming exhibit. But that’s the case this summer in the coveted “back room” at Vail International Gallery with works by Colorado painters Mikael Olson and Michelle Torrez, the Front Range artists themselves on premises for a joint showing today.

“Mikael and Michelle have a dialogue as artists. They’ve been friends for many years,” explains gallery co-owner Marc LeVarn, an aficionado of the two, whose works with oils on canvas both complement and contrast.

Olson “is an artist’s artist, one of the up-and-coming artists in Colorado,” said Torrez, an established name in the Denver art community and a member of the Art Institute of Colorado’s hall of fame since her induction in 2004.

“She’s fantastic, a virtuoso, yet very supportive,” said Olson, a relative newcomer to the Colorado art scene, though he’s been drawing and painting longer than she has, as long as he can remember. “I’m quite honored to exhibit with her.”

Olson, from Evergreen, concentrates on urban scenes in a style he calls “impressionistic toward slightly expressionistic.” Using muted tones, but in a manner expansive in scope, vague up close but impressively detailed at a distance, his works — a great example being “Midtown Reflections,” an image from a recent visit to New York City — are personal impressions of his favorite subjects, “single objects in bold still-life, human figures thoughtfully composed and cleanly rendered, and light-infused street scenes.”

Olson typically takes crude photos of cityscapes he finds interesting, he said, for their “combination of geometric and organic shapes,” then goes to work “in stages” filling in detail.

“Every city has its own palette, a different range and feel to it.”

‘Room for interpretation’

Torrez, by contrast, paints close up in vibrant colors with deep, broad strokes, typically of the female form living life, sometimes nude, typically in motion, always very personal.

“I think about my experiences in my own life as a woman,” said Torrez, based in Denver. “I paint from life, but also from photos and from memory. Sometimes I just make things up.”

A great example of her work is “I Refuse to Melt,” a work of female defiance.

“Sometimes the meanings are vague,” Torrez said. “But I like to provide room for interpretation.”

LeVarn, meanwhile, said Vail International Gallery is proud to present works from two great local artists who became friends practicing en plein air.

“Our shows are for living artists. They deserve the support,” LeVarn said. “It’s important to them; it’s very gratifying for us.”

Support Local Journalism