Aspen Times Weekly: State of the Art

by Andrew Travers
"Bemusement," by Phillip Hone Williams is among the 37 works selected for the Red Brick Biennial, on display at the Red Brick Center for the Arts through September.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go…

What: Biennial Exhibition

Where: Red Brick Center for the Arts

When: Thursday, Sept. 4 – Tuesday, Sept. 30

More Info:

The Red Brick Center for the Arts’ fourth biennial, in theory, offers a snapshot of the current moment in the local visual arts scene. Some themes or dominant trends may emerge over the next month as you spend time with the work in the exhibition, which opens Thursday. It may not indicate a particular movement taking hold in the valley in 2014, but it no doubt showcases a fertile local arts scene, as evidenced by the 37 works featured in a cross-section of a diverse field of Aspen-area artists whose work cuts across media and style.

“It was all over the place,” Red Brick executive director Angie Callen said of the submissions for the juried show.

The three-dozen-and-one works in the show include traditional landscape paintings of local scenes, like Michael Kinsley’s “Dry Woody Creek,” alongside the surrealist oil painting “Bemusement,” by Phillip Hone Williams. The fantastical scene in “Bemusement” shows circus scenes, an orderly riding a gurney, a slot machine in a thought bubble from a man in Victorian garb.

Michele Cardamone’s “Windy Day” is a black-and-white photograph of skiers hiking a windswept ridge. Augustin Goba’s “Green, Yellow, Orange Aspen Leaf” is a digital print on an aluminum aspen leaf. Shelley Bogaert’s “In Between” places three abstract pod-like wall sculptures beside one another.

An oil on canvas piece by Andrew Roberts-Gray shows a mountain scene with abstract yellow and beige patterns overlaid on top of it. Work by well-known local artists like Roberts-Gray hang beside those from newcomers.

“We have 2D and 3D and a lot of artists who applied may never have exhibited their work before,” said Callen, adding that she had previously been familiar with only about one-third of the accepted artists. “There are a lot of new faces.”

The every-other-year exhibition features artists who live in the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys. This is the first time the Red Brick used a blind jury process for the show. Past biennials used a judging selection process, where applicants offered a number of works, judges selected one from each and everyone who submitted work was included in the show.

This time around, the nonprofit decided to bring in an outside juror — Denver-based art appraiser Kathy Andrews — to select work for the show, aiming for higher quality and less clutter. It’s now the only juried art show in Aspen.

The more competitive process led to a 50 percent jump in submissions over the last biennial in 2012, according to Callen. About 80 artists submitted work, she said.

“It was a very competitive jury process,” said Callen.

The biennial begins with an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. and will remain on display at the Red Brick through the month.

Andrews, former director of the Center for Visual Arts of Metropolitan State College and of the Arvada Center of the Arts and Humanities, returns to Aspen on Sept. 25 to open the Red Brick’s free six-part artist education series “Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists.” She will lead a workshop with local artists on the ins and outs of the art business, marketing, sales techniques and such.

“She’s going to talk about how to present yourself successfully as an artist through your bio, your [artist] statement, and that kind of thing,” explained Callen.

The series runs through November and also includes a session in October with Noah, an accomplished California-based Disney artist with one name and commercial credits including Lexus, Toyota and Nordstrom. Other topics in the series include book-keeping and finance for artists, and photographing your work.