In Telluride: Art with Words
The Stronghouse Studios and Gallery got a significant sprucing-up over the off-season (more on that in an upcoming column), and this Saturday the Gallery unveils a new exhibit to go along with it. The exhibit is called “Ekphrasis,” which in its simplest terms means one form of art relating to another – for example, writing inspired by art. The artists, a trio of local women, are sculptor Adrienne Lent, jeweler Jennifer Dewey, and the poet Kierstin Bridger, whose word-pictures are mounted on the walls where paintings might normally hang. Dewey finds the juxtaposition between poetry, clay and metal most natural. The three mediums “come together almost like the elements,” she said. The artists have come together in unusual ways in life, as well. Before Dewey moved to Telluride, she lived in New Orleans; so did sculptor Adrienne Lent. They hadn’t met. “We lived pretty close. Our homes were just across the railroad tracks from each other,” Dewey said. Now, thousands of miles away from the South, their work is in the same exhibit, in the same small gallery in a small town in the mountains.
It’s Kierstin Bridger’s words that helps tie the works together; she was asked by Telluride Arts’ director, Kate Jones, to write ekphrastic poetry to accompany the exhibit. The words flowed. “I had no trouble responding to the work of Lent and Dewey,” Bridger said. “Both are masters of their craft, brilliant translators of humor and sentiment within their own medium. Having my story on the wall of this exhibit is a conversation, a reflection, and a story that was sparked by the liveliness of each piece.” Take, for instance, Dewey’s preoccupation with wildlife since she made the move out West. “Several of my female friends have taken up hunting,” she said. “I find hunting to be something that harkens back to Artemis, and I’ve made for them a couple pieces of jewelry.” Thus Dewey’s interest in antlers, and, thus, Bridger’s poem about an unexpected encounter on the road. Eureka – ekphrasis. This is from the exhibit:
The Boy in the Back Seat
doubts I saw an eight point elk
though I think it looked like calcified
or a sultan leading his harem
across the rutted country road.
Leaping like reindeer only more Olympic.
Chests large with freezer meat,
A whole winter’s worth-
perhaps I should see them as tribal;
a lesson in flight, the great mammalian
of fur and hide, fair flesh and dark
but I’m not that spiritual
and the boy in the back seat is tickling my
I narrow my eyes like a bow hunter,
I saw what I saw.
“Ekphrasis” is open Saturday from 5-8 p.m.
Christmas Bird Count in Montrose
The annual Christmas Bird Count, in which Audubon members and volunteers come together to tally local avians, is one of this country’s oldest conservation efforts. In some parts of the U.S., the bird count has been going on for over 100 years. In this region, it’s been happening for 20. On Saturday in Montrose, and in Sunday in Delta and Gunnison, it will happen again. The Bird Count “not only gathers critical information on the status of bird populations, it provides an opportunity for anybody interested in our local birds to get outside to do what they love to do,” said Black Canyon Audubon Society President Jon Horn.
Don’t go to the bird count hoping to spot something strange or rare that doesn’t usually live around here. “It’s not so much the unusual. We’re looking for all the birds,” Horn emphasized. That said, there’s a fair chance you might see a bird that normally migrates by now, but has hung around because the weather (at least until recently) has been unusually warm, bodies of water have remained open instead of frozen, and the feeding has been good. Such birds might include Black Phoebes, or American Dippers, or Kingfishers. “They should be gone by now,” Horn said, “Yet in recent years around this time, people have seen them.” You might see a bird that normally remains high in the Arctic all winter that have instead travelled south. “The Front Range got an influx of Snowy Owls last year,” Horn said. It could happen here. Bring binoculars, warm clothing and a bag lunch, and don’t worry if you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing. Inexperienced birders will be paired with more-experienced Audubon members, Horn said. Whoever participates in the Count will receive a summation of what was spotted at this year’s bird count, not only locally, but all over the country. The Montrose Count convenes Saturday at the Bureau of Land Management (2465 S. Townsend Ave.) at 8:30 a.m., and the Delta Count meets Sunday at the Delta City Market parking lot at 8 a.m. Can’t make either Count this weekend? If you’re interested in learning what species are being spotted around our region, and where, Horn suggests a trip to this website: groups.yahoo.com/group/wsbn.
Film in Ouray
The Wright’s Almost Every Wednesday Movie series has relocated to Friday. The rest is the same: it’s almost every week, and the films are almost always unusual and thought provoking. This week’s screening is of A Royal Affair, a film about Johann Friedrich Struensee, an eminent Danish physician and martyr for liberty. Struensee was a politician, man of science and philosopher who, as A.O. Scott put it in the New York Times, “we might nowadays call a player.” The film concerns his tutelage of the King of Denmark – “a childish, obnoxious ninny” – and his fateful affair with the King’s lonely, beautiful wife, Queen Caroline, played by Alicia Vikander. “There is some real heat” between the two romantic leads, wrote Scott, who found the acting “both solid and agile, communicating the feelings of passionate people in a passionate time.” The film is at 7:30 p.m.