‘Go Forth’ at The Art Base | AspenTimes.com

‘Go Forth’ at The Art Base

The Art Base showcases a collaboration between Wally Graham and Teal Wilson

‘True Myth,’ found metal and wood, 2022, 23x6.5x12” by Wally Graham.
Courtesy of The Art Base

The Art Base’s newest exhibition, “Go Forth,” is a collaboration between local artists Wally Graham and Teal Wilson, who had only peripherally been introduced prior to working together on this show.

“I had never met Wally until quite recently,” Wilson said. “Lissa (Ballinger) paired us up. When I saw his work, I was, like, ‘oh, this is awesome.’ It’s the perfect pairing of energies.”

Conceived by Ballinger, who is the longtime Roaring Fork Valley arts advisor (and current associate director at the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies), and curated by The Art Base’s Katherine Grey Walker, the show brings together Graham, a sculptor and self-appointed “constructivist,” with mixed-media artist Wilson, whose “Go Forth” piece inspired the name of the show.

“It’s one of the older pieces that I thought wasn’t even going to make the show. The words ‘go forth’ are in the piece; there’s that sense of broadly getting through the pandemic or getting through the day,” Wilson said.

Graham explained how the lockdown period of the pandemic inspired the work on display.

“When COVID was going on, I wanted to do more figurative experimentation, so I could incorporate more empathy into my work,” he said. “I challenged myself to make metal, which can be hard and immovable, as expressive as possible. I wanted to use limited pieces of found metal but have them generate as much emotion as I could.”

And that experimentation also took place in Wilson’s studio.

‘Go Forth,’ 22×30” ink on rag paper, by Teal Wilson.
Courtesy of The Art Base

“What’s interesting about that piece is that I made it in deep, deep lockdown. I couldn’t go to work; I had no interaction,” Wilson said.

At the time, Wilson was creating her art in a shared studio space, which she stopped going to, and that also affected how she worked.

“I set up a studio space at the house,” which ultimately impacted the look and feel of the final work, she said. “It’s a really cramped piece, with a lot of textures and symbols.”

But creation remained the mother of invention.

“It was the thing that was just getting me out of bed — just doing something, making art every day,” she said.

If you go

What: ‘Go Forth’ exhibition
When: Through July 29
Where; The Art Base, 174 Midland Ave., Basalt
More info: theartbase.org

The results of that specific titular work, alongside about 15 others from Wilson, plays against Graham’s 13 pieces in the show, four or five of which he said are “just pure fun abstract.” They’re all very bright, made with primary colors, “but I’ll let the viewer figure out which ones they are.”

“Teal and Wally have taken a curatorial leap on behalf of the Art Base and hit the mark with flying colors,” said Katherine Grey Walker, Art Base gallery manager. “Though their mediums differ from one another, their monochrome works meld for a visual critical delight.”

‘Discomfort/Expansion,’ 8.5×11” ink on rag paper, distressed metal by Teal Wilson.
Courtesy of The Art Base

And the partnership between the two artists resulted in each artist remarking how they were better for having worked together.

“We are not very similar, but I don’t think that it really matters. We are two artists with two different takes, and we walked away from a meeting knowing what would be key to our collaboration,” Graham said.

Wilson also picked up some inspiration, and motivation, from her interactions with Graham. She visited his studio prior to the show, and he invited her to take some scrap metal, which she ultimately used to create a new work for the ‘Go Forth’ exhibition.

“I’m using materials from his studio and borrowing his confidence,” she said, with a laugh.

Graham’s reply? “I’m borrowing her energy,” he said with a smile.

“Go Forth” is currently on exhibition at The Art Base in historic downtown Basalt through July 29.

‘First Chair,’ glass and rubber, 2022, 18x16x35” by Wally Graham.
Courtesy of The Art Base

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