Abstracts at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art
If you’re wondering what the term abstract art means, and you try to find out on the internet, be prepared for a lot of blather. One website describes it like this:
Abstract Art is something that stimulates an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, ideas or even imagination. It is a language of thought and imagination, which can take many different forms and serve many different purposes depending upon their contexts.
Broad enough for you? That definition is more abstract than the art itself. The best way of putting it is the simplest, and, coincidentally, it’s the first thing that pops up if you Google the term “abstract art.” It defines abstract art as art “that does not attempt to represent external, recognizable reality but seeks to achieve its effects using shapes, forms, and colors.” The definition continues, but you get the idea: don’t expect what you’re looking at to resemble external reality.
And anyway, why would you want that? External reality can be fairly mundane, and good abstract art will take you places you never thought you could go. Tonight, the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art will open an exhibit of abstract art by eight artists. Six of them have them have been represented by the gallery for a while, and two are new. Those returning include the illustrator Mark English, who has received more awards from the Society of Illustrators than any other individual. (English’s beautiful, eerie portrait of a faceless Dracula is one terrific example of abstract art: how much scarier it is to peruse the form, and wonder about the evil lurking underneath, than to gaze directly at, and somehow humanize, the face.) Colorado landscape oil painter Gordon Brown, whose work hangs in the Denver Art Museum and has been purchased by the Forbes Collection, has also contributed several new abstracts to this exhibit.
The newest additions to TGFA’s stable include Durango artist Krista Harris. According to gallery representative Michelle Curry Wright, Harris was a serendipitous find. Several members of the gallery were visiting some jeweler friends in Durango, Curry Wright said, and one owned a piece of Harris’ work. “We were all drawn to it instantly,” she recalled, “and that was the impetus to bring her here.” Look closely at Harris’ Bluebird and see if you spy an outline of an avian in the lower-righthand corner of the painting. And could that be the face of a feline close by? The suggestion of predator and prey is startling.
The gallery’s other new artist should be familiar to residents of Telluride: he’s Daniel Tucker, who began the American Academy of Bookbinding and founded the Ah Haa School. Tucker makes brilliantly colored mixed media works on paper. He also maintains a keen interest in bookbinding and is, apparently, ever eager to learn more. Tucker recently moved to Santa Fe, yet, according to Curry Wright, he was back in town this week not only to attend his show’s opening on Thursday night, but also to take a bookbinding class at the Academy which he founded. “That’s who he is,” she said simply of this perennial student. Clearly, Tucker is not defined by one single type of art, though it is what he loves. The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art’s exhibit will open in time for Art Walk Thursday night. For more about the Gallery, visit Telluridegallery.com.
A Frog in Montrose
GLORIA: A maiden has to kiss you. Willingly.
HYRONOMOUS: Who's going to want to kiss a frog? Especially one named Hyronomous?
GLORIA: I can't really imagine anyone wanting to kiss a frog.
HYRONOMOUS: Hey! I'd kiss a frog. Especially if I was a maiden and I knew he was going to turn into a handsome prince.
GLORIA: Oh. That's the other thing. You can't tell anyone about the spell. Or you'll be a frog forever. Someone has to kiss you out of friendship.
The Magic Circle Players’ children’s division premieres Hyronomous A. Frog this Friday, directed by Pat Myers. It’s a take on the classic tale of the frog-who-doesn’t-know-he’s-a-prince. Only this amphibian seems to have a little more attitude than most, despite the fact that he hails from a bog. You might call him a hip-hop frog.
Hyronomous, written by Edith Weiss, had its premiere in 1997 at the Arvada Center, an outdoor theatre that seats 500 and is located on the Front Range. The play broke all attendance records. Steven and Deborah Fendrich, owners of the Pioneer play publishing company in Colorado, happened to see the show, and asked Weiss if they could publish her play. Since then, Hyronomous has been produced all over the world, from England and Germany to Australia and, most recently, Guam. Weiss, meanwhile, has had 25 plays published with four publishers. Part of the reason for Hyronomous’ success is that, despite the fact that it’s a comedy, Weiss’ leading “man” plays it straight. “My approach was to take it completely and honestly from the frog’s point of view,” she said. “He’s trying to fit in, but has so much to learn: walking, not hopping. Learning table manners, and using a fork and knife.” To the playwright, it all seemed remarkably similar to what kids have to navigate as they grow up. Weiss is a standup comedienne as well as a playwright. Her background helped when it came to producing a play for short attention spans. Doing standup for 20 years “taught me how to write a script and get to the story and the laughs,” she said.
Hyronomous plays Fridays and Saturdays through June 15, with one matinee this coming Sunday. The cost is $5 for adults, and $3 for children. The shows are open seating; best to arrive a little early to Magic Circle Theatre.
Hydroelectricity in Telluride
The Telluride Historical Museum’s latest exhibit opens this evening. Titled Powerful Currents: Hydroelectricity in the San Juans, the exhibit commemorates the innovations of the Ames Power Plant. Hydroelectricity – electricity produced by the movement of water – is the most widely used form of renewable energy in the world. What isn’t so widely known is that hydroelectricity essentially began just down the road at the Ames Plant, near Ophir, in 1891. In addition to this exhibit, which will remain up until next year, the Museum will host an interactive installation of Telluride Unearthed on June 12 with the Pinhead Institute entitled The Work of Water, and will offer a family field trip to Ames on June 29 to tour the power plant. Over 150 countries use hydroelectric power today. There will be a reception at the museum beginning Thursday, June 4, at 4:30 p.m. This event is free, and the public is invited. For more about the Telluride Historical Museum and its upcoming programs, visit telluridemuseum.org.