Resident artists return to Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village for ‘Reflections on Synthetic Action’ |

Resident artists return to Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village for ‘Reflections on Synthetic Action’

Ethan Jackson's "Untitled" is among the works by eight alumni of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center artist-in-residency program on display in "Reflections on Synthetic Action."
Courtesy photo |

If You Go …

What: ‘Reflections on Synthetic Action’

Where: Patton-Malott Gallery, Anderson Ranch

When: Opening reception, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 5-7 p.m. Exhibition runs through Jan. 17

More info: The Ranch’s annual Holiday Open House runs from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and will include open studios with resident artists, children’s activities, and s’mores.

Eight alumni of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s artist-in-residence program have returned for a group exhibition showcasing the diverse perspectives and practices fostered at the 50-year-old Snowmass Village retreat.

Their “Reflections on Synthetic Action” is the centerpiece of the Ranch’s annual holiday open house Tuesday. The open house invites visitors to walk the campus and drop in on 13 current resident artists working there.

The eight artists in the show were residents in the spring of 2015. They’ve since spread out across the U.S. but have kept in touch and hatched the idea of reuniting for a show at the Ranch.

“It’s them coming back here to show what they’ve been doing since the residency,” Jose Ferreira, the Ranch’s director of sculpture and chair of its gallery program, said Thursday on a walk through the show at the Patton-Mallot Gallery.

The diverse work ranges from pieces by Katie Lewis that manipulate and mutilate paper to look like topographical maps to eerie photographs by Jessica Harvey of apparatus that’s been set up on a desolate mountain ranch to communicate with aliens. There’s a portrait on a stuffed piece of leather by Julie Malen and to a mixed media work that’s positioned to reflect on itself in a mirror by Ethan Jackson and there’s John Emerson’s massive “Pokey the Bear,” a larger-than-life pink bear, spattered in glitter and standing on a blue ball atop a yellow steel base that Emerson made on a plasma cutter at the ranch.

Emerson settled in the valley after his residency, and took a post as studio coordinator of sculpture at Anderson Ranch.

“There’s a sense of community in having the residents come back,” said Ferreira. “There’s a depth of shared knowledge between the artists. People spend 10 weeks in this very intense environment, and those connections tend to be relationships that are sustainable, ongoing friendships.”

Ferreira noted the dialogue between some of the works, like the use of data mining in pieces by woodworker Adrien Segal and painter Katie Lewis.

That creative interplay — and artists experimenting beyond their primary fields — was also evident in taking a lap around the campus Thursday. The current resident artists — an international crop that’s come to Snowmass from Yemen, Mexico and across the U.S. — are making divergent kinds of work, ranging from politically charged prints to psychedelic sculptures of peaches. Yet all of them had been experimenting with ceramics in the Ranch’s iconic kilns, trading ideas about how to play with clay.

The homecoming exhibition and the open house aim to give visitors a taste of the creative adventure of an Anderson Ranch residency.

“Viewers in this exhibition are invited to engage, by proxy, with a group of vigorous artists,” ceramicist Wade Folger MacDonald wrote of the exhibition, “to share the experience of the Anderson Ranch residency program.”