Resident artists get to work at Anderson Ranch |

Resident artists get to work at Anderson Ranch

Ann Larson
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Working in multi-media painting, Susanne Clark of Old Snowmass has the work ethic and passion to produce a large body of work during her three months at Anderson Ranch. She has been taking summer workshops at the ranch for the past seven years. (Ann Larson)

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” After a brief respite during the holidays, all systems are go again at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village.

New resident artists are setting up shop in their studios, the ranch staff is interviewing for new program directors in the Painting and Digital Imaging and in the Photography departments, a new exhibition opened Tuesday and the ranch-sponsored Wintersculpt recently added snow sculptures to downtown Aspen’s pedestrian malls.

In the ranch’s galleries, there is a new exhibition featuring the work of the incoming artists-in-residence and staff artists.

The Resident Artist and Staff Exhibition opened Jan. 15 and will be on display through Feb. 6. On April 15, at the Spring Open House, the winter’s artists-in-residence will display what they created during their time at the ranch.

The new resident artists have set up their studios and have begun painting, making prints, throwing pots or designing woodworking projects. Often, the residents are young artists who are just out of graduate school. But in the painting studio, while others were just getting started, 71-year-old Susanne Clark of Old Snowmass was far into a narrative, multi-media painting.

Marriage, children and work as a fashion designer and an interior designer had delayed her exploration into the world of painting, but now she has the time and the desire to delve into this means of self-expression. A Colorado native who has lived in Hawaii, New York City and California, she returned to her home state again 21 years ago with her lawyer husband John Clark, who she knew from high school in Estes Park. At first they bought a ranch on Missouri Heights; more recently, they bought a house on East Sopris Creek Road.

“I majored in art in college, but that was 100 years ago,” she said about her years at the University of Hawaii.

Her path toward painting had many twists and turns. For many years she studied Navajo weaving with Angie Maloney and the two teamed up to create instructional videos on this ancient, family-oriented art form. The Navajo world view and process of working is very different from that of the Western world and has greatly influenced Clark’s approach to her work, she said.

“You pay attention to what you’re looking at and let it talk back. You have to be open. I finally learned not to plan, just to do. This has helped me with my painting,” she said.

After some years, Clark started to show her rugs at Northern California conventions and won lots of blue ribbons, but with time she realized that “there was no community for me in Navajo weaving.”

She found a community when she began taking classes at Anderson Ranch in the summer of 2000; she has enrolled in three to five classes each year since then. A year and a half ago, then-program director of painting, Kathleen Loe, suggested Clark apply for a residency. She was accepted and will spend three months at the ranch this winter.

“It’s been a passion for me. I’m blown away by the quality of the people who come here to teach. All the instructors I’ve had here are unbelievably supportive. It’s a wonderful place. Another perk about the Ranch are the amazing people who come here to study. I’ve made many new friends from across the country and we keep in touch,” she said.

Her time as a resident is mainly without instructors and even though she has a painting studio in Basalt, she is enamored with being at the ranch.

“There’s something about being here that energizes you. I just love being here and am dedicated to being here every day. There’s a power in that. It encourages you to build on your work on a continuing basis,” she said.

Returning to the ranch is Meg Brown Payson of Freeport, Maine, who can be found in the printmaking studio. A teacher at the Maine College of Art, she learned a lot about Anderson Ranch when she was on the search committee to find a new director for the school, which turned out to be Jim Baker, who headed Anderson Ranch for many years. Last winter she was a resident at the ranch for three months.

“I teach drawing, but my drawings didn’t have a relationship to my paintings. I thought printmaking could be a bridge between drawing and painting and it has been. I don’t have access to a print shop at home, so I came here. What’s great about Anderson Ranch, in part, is that Matt Christie is here. He can figure out what I need to learn to do what I want to do. He suggested that I do wood cuts. ‘Really.’ I thought, yet once I tried it I liked it,” she said.

Payson shares the large print studio with Susan Heggestad of Vermillion, S.D., who left five children and a husband behind to spend a month at the ranch. An independent printmaker who likes to work alone, she is glad to share a space with Payson.

Heggestad likes the freedom of working in her own style and with her own techniques.

“What’s extraordinary about Matt is that I’ve never done anything wrong,” she said.

Anderson Ranch Editions Exhibition opening reception from 5 to 6 p.m.. This exhibition features prints from the Anderson Ranch Editions collection. The exhibition will be on view from Feb. 26 through March 26.

Dr. Glenn Adamson slide lecture, 7 p.m. ” Dr. Adamson is the head of graduate studies in the research department at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Kendall Buster slide lecture, 7 p.m. ” Buster’s large-scale sculptures are exhibited worldwide and in permanent collections such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Chris Doyle slide lecture, 7 p.m. ” Doyle is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Recent work has been shown at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Queens Museum of Art, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center.

Spring Open House ” Anderson Ranch celebrates its 23rd artists-in-residents season. From 5 to 7 p.m., resident artist and staff studios are open and a reception of the Collage Show takes place in the Anderson Ranch gallery.

The Collage Show will be open from April 15 through May 14 and features collages made at Anderson Ranch by prominent local artists.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.