Artistic ‘Journey’ underway at Anderson Ranch

Anderson Ranch
Courtesy of Anderson Ranch

The Anderson Ranch artist showcase remains on display until Aug. 12, featuring work from 12 members of the artistic staff that debuted last month.

The art, which was presented at an opening reception July 26, ranges from sculpture to painting to printmaking and photography. The collection is stationed in the Patton-Malott Gallery at Anderson Ranch.

The show takes place every year to celebrate Anderson Ranch’s artistic staff, according to Meriwether McClorey, who is the artistic affairs manager and curator of the show. The artistic staff is responsible for facilitating studio programming for artists-in-residence and visiting artists, as well as creating art.

“The show is a way for us to highlight our artistic staff and celebrate them and the fact that they are all professional working artists as well as working here at the ranch,” McClorey said.

The title of the exhibition is “The Journey,” named after Mary Oliver’s poem of the same name. The poem explores themes of self-discovery, doubt and the passing of time and life, all of which are ideas touched on by the displayed art.

McClorey said the exhibit was named after the poem due to its ability to unite the disparate works under one umbrella.

“I felt as though for any of our practicing artists or working artists — I mean, honestly, anyone in the world — life is a journey and that’s kind of what (Mary Oliver) is addressing and the things and the notions she talks about are all things artists think about,” McClorey said.

Self-discovery and reflection are especially important themes for artists, according to McClorey.

“I think an artist has to truly know themselves to make successful work,” McClorey said.

Liz Ferrill, artistic director of painting, drawing and printmaking at Anderson Ranch, had two gouache-on-paper prints displayed at the show. For the prints, Ferrill used a stencil process called “pochoir.” Pochoir is the French word for “stencil,” and refers to an intricate process traditionally used in book arts. Ferrill used one-of-a-kind, hand-cut matrices to make the prints.

The images, titled “Cone, Blood, San Francisco” and “Picnic,” depicted an orange cone on an orange staircase and a green picnic table with a striking shadow, respectively. Ferrill’s unique style is characterized by portrayals of ordinary, everyday urban scenes in a remarkable light.

“Content is really important to me and I love empty spaces that people typically use,” Ferrill said. “I always remove the figure or I look at spaces where there aren’t any people, but there are places where people are supposed to be using that space. I’m also really drawn to color and shape and shadow and really intense light.”

One unique privilege that the ranch’s artistic staff is privy to is the opportunity to explore different mediums. In addition to having access to studios for creating art in their area of expertise, artists also have access to all of the other studios at the ranch.

“Our staff members can explore and push their practice in that way,” McClorey said.

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.