Jill Beathard

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April 2, 2013
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Artists at ranch show off their work

SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Twice a year, Anderson Ranch Arts Center brings artists from all over the country - and sometimes the world - to its campus for a 10-week residency program.

During that time, the 14 artists live and work on the campus, focus on a particular study or dabble in a new medium, and collaborate and provide one another feedback.

Now the spring 2013 program is wrapping up, and the ranch will host an open house on April 9 showcasing the residents' work. The open house gives the public an opportunity to tour the studios, meet the residents and even purchase their work.

This year's crop of residents includes artists from all over the U.S. as well as two from foreign countries. Painter Sarah Kurz, of New York City, used her time at the ranch to expand her practice and do more works on paper.

Kurz paints a lot of portraits as well as film stills and landscapes. Most of Kurz's portrait subjects are women. One painting she did of a film still during her residency was of a man and a woman, though.

"It's the first ... portrait that I've done where there's two figures - but still keeping the focus on the female," she said.

On why most of her subjects are female, Kurz said it's the same reason writers write what they know.

"What I know is being me, being female," Kurz said.

Women historically were the subjects of paintings by male artists, and they were often portrayed nude, Kurz said.

"I feel that I have something to add, being female," she said. "It's a different kind of sexuality than when a man for the most part paints a female."

Cait Finley, of Missoula, Mont., has been working in a variety of media, primarily clay. Finley, whose work has appeared in natural-history museums, says she is inspired by the interaction of the natural world and humans.

She's taken her work outdoors and photographed it and plans to use the ranch's video equipment to film it, "almost as a natural history documentary," she said.

"I'm really excited about the idea of filming video with it," Finley said.

Resident Kevin Reiswig, of Chicago, has been steambending wood into shapes that the material is not often used for.

"People kind of think of wood as ... really rigid and strong," Reiswig said. "It's a living, breathing material that I think we can really relate to as human beings."

The Ohio native has been working with wood from an oak and an ash tree that fell on his friend's property. The trees were weakened by an invasive species called the emerald ash borer, so their wood is striped with blue streaks.

Reiswig said he often gets asked if his work is functional.

"My work is more about how we work ... how we build things and then make meaning out of objects," Reiswig said. "I work in changing people's perceptions of objects and materials. ... So yeah, I do think it is functional, but it's not furniture."

The spring open house is free and open to the public. Dinner is available afterward in the ranch cafe for $18. There is also a craft time for kids to make an art project using paint and paste.


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The Aspen Times Updated Apr 2, 2013 05:27PM Published Apr 2, 2013 05:24PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.