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Snowmass Art Walk creates pathway to art appreciation

Public art initiative connects new installations with existing works

Six local artists will debut new works Friday throughout Snowmass Village as part of the Snowmass Art Walk, an initiative to connect the town’s existing public art with new installations this summer.

The newest sculptures, murals and other installations are located throughout the Snowmass Mall, Base Village and the Brush Creek trail connecting to Anderson Ranch Arts Center. (Three of the art walk artists — Zakriya Rabani, Louise Deroualle and Esther Macy Nooner — also work at Anderson Ranch.)

Rabaini’s “Linked Obsessions” sculpture on the Brush Creek trail will likely look familiar to passerby; the artist fused together a dozen steel iterations of a block-letter “S” shape (also known as the “Superman S” or “Stussy S,” among other names) that is as ubiquitous in classroom doodles as it is in skater culture.



The familiarity of the shape — both in in childhood nostalgia and in the world of skateboarding, surfing and extreme sports — creates an accessible entry point to the world of art, all the more so because the art walk locations bring the work to people who might not otherwise seek out a studio or gallery, Rabani said.

“A lot of times, I feel like that kind of culture, they get labeled in maybe an inappropriate way or something or vice versa — it’s like they tend to think the fine art world can be snobby or out of their reach. … I like to break down those boundaries,” Rabani said. “I hope that this work in a way can achieve something along those lines, where those skaters feel comfortable coming to an art campus and looking at work and talking about it.”



The art walk is not Rabani’s first foray in large-scale public sculpture. But for several featured artists, the art walk is their public art debut, a setup which they say has created new opportunities to explore new scales and formats that they might not otherwise work with in a studio or gallery setting.

“I was really interested in trying to go bigger — that’a a scale I’ve never worked with before,” said ceramic sculptor Louse Deroualle, another artist based at Anderson Ranch. Her piece in the art walk is nearly 3-feet tall, the largest piece by a landslide in her “Seed Pods” series of ceramics that have up until this point mostly been handheld in size.

The series explores “relationships, connections, belonging, a sense of grace,” inspired in part by Deroualle’s own experiences of connection and disconnection as a Brazilian living in the United States.

“They’re becoming, each time, more anthropomorphic, so it was really nice to grow in scale and have shapes that resemble bodies. … You’re not just looking at them, you can go around them,” Deroualle said. “They’re extending freely in space. It’s just a different relationship between the viewer and the piece.”

Creating the piece for the art walk has spurred Deroualle to continue pushing the boundaries of size; now that she is working in feet rather than inches, future works could be human-sized, totaling five or six feet in height.

For photographer Esther Macy Nooner, also an Anderson Ranch artist, the art walk offers what she said is an exciting “opportunity to bring something that’s typically two-dimensional into a much more three-dimensional venue.”

Her work installs a photo of the sky printed on durable vinyl onto the ground in the Snowmass Mall. Over time, the vinyl will show the wear and tear of foot traffic, which Nooner intends to be a “thought-provoking” metaphor for both direct and indirect human impacts on the environment.

“In photography, you don’t really think about doing anything in a public, sculptural kind of way,” Nooner said. “But I’m really glad that I can bring photography into something like that, because typically it’s in a frame or on the wall or on a screen of some sort. … To bring it to a different kind of sculptural mindset I think is super interesting and I think it shows sort of the expansive view of photography and contemporary photography.”

There is an added benefit of public engagement in the placement of the art walk works, Nooner said.

“It’s a great opportunity for me as an artist and also for people to know — to see something in the actual general public and not just specifically our campus, I think it just extends our art community from our small acreage into the entire community,” Nooner said. “And I think that’s really important because art doesn’t just exist for select people who only know about it here. But it should exist for everyone who wants to be involved and I think that projects like this certainly make that happen.”

Chris Erickson, who painted a mural in the Snowmass Mall as part of his “superULTRAmega” series that visually represents a distillation of a “constant barrage of information,” said the art walk brings artists together, too.

“That’s kind of the beauty of it,” Erickson said. “I’m not super familiar with the rest of the artists, so that’s always of interest to me, to explore other people’s works and to see how all of our work relates or the voice that they’re trying to portray in their work.”

ART AROUND TOWN

There are dozens of public artworks throughout Snowmass Village; the newest installations, which debut with the launch of the Snowmass Art Walk on Friday, are located in Base Village, the Snowmass Mall and along the Brush Creek trail that connects Base Village to the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. For more information, visit gosnowmass.com/activity/art-walk.

Base Village

Louise Deroualle: “Seed Pods” ceramic sculpture

Thomas Barlow: steel sculpture

Snowmass Mall

Esther Macy Nooner: vinyl photo installation

Chris Erickson: “superULTRAmega” painted mural

Brush Creek Trail:

Zakriya Rabani: “Linked Obsessions” metal sculpture

Clinton Reynolds: wood sculpture

Those looking to add even more Snowmass art happenings to their weekend calendar can also attend the two-day Snowmass Art Festival this Saturday and Sunday in Base Village.

Admission to the juried art show is free, and works will be available for purchase across a wide array of mediums by artists from across the country.

kwilliams@aspentimes.com


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