New exhibition offers sampling of abstract art |

New exhibition offers sampling of abstract art

Jessica Cabe
Aspen artist Suzannah Reid has five pieces in the CCAH's exhibit
Jessica Cabe / Post Independent |

If You Go...

Who: Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities

What: ‘State of Abstraction’ opening

When: 6-8 p.m. on Friday

Where: R2 Gallery in The Launchpad, Carbondale

How Much: Free

Featuring the work of eight local artists, a new exhibition at The Launchpad’s R2 Gallery serves as an illustration of different sub-styles of abstract art.

“I hope people will get the impression that abstract art can come in many, many forms,” said curator Dave Durrance, who also has a piece in the show.

The exhibit kicks off with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday and will run through May 1.

The work in the exhibit varies greatly in style and medium. Judy Hancock works in watercolor, Ellen Woods is an abstract expressionist; Nancy Kullgren works in the color field genre; Durrance is inspired by minimalism and constructivism; Amy Butowicz has abstract installations in the show; Mark Brendon Smith uses multiple layers of canvas to break up and abstract images; Shelley Bogaert works in sculpture; and Suzannah Reid works in encaustic, a wax-based paint.

Reid has owned an architecture firm in Aspen for the past 25 years, and although she was raised in an artistic family and has always had an interest in art, she said she has gotten more serious about her artistic endeavors in the past eight years. She said she is most interested in working in the abstract style.

“In this day and age, we’re surrounded by so much photography and video, and I like to explore things that are a little more removed from that precision of representing the world,” she said.

Reid has five encaustic paintings in the show. In this medium, she paints on wax-based paint while it’s hot, which allows her to paint in layers and create 3-dimensionality. She then scrapes back some of the topmost layers to reveal what’s going on beneath.

“One of the pieces is black and white, and it has the layers of black and white emerging and disappearing behind each other,” Reid said. “That to me is kind of the battle of chaos versus order.”

Durrance’s piece is a large minimalist painting exploring spheres and working in shades of orange. He said he’s been interested in abstract art since he was a child.

“I grew up in Aspen, and the work of Herbert Bayer was everywhere in town,” Durrance said. “That began a visual vocabulary in my mind that dealt with abstract images, so that’s often the way I see things.”

Abstract art’s formalized beginnings can be traced back to the mid-19th century. It started with the expressionists breaking up light, then developed into the cubists breaking up images.

“Then it’s gone from there into all kinds of ways — into minimalism, into abstract expressionism, into many, many facets,” Durrance said. “So I wanted to do a sampling of some of the directions that abstract composition has gone.”

Reid said she loves abstract art because of how open-ended it is. It’s more about stirring up emotion in a viewer than telling one what to think or feel.

“One of the things I like to do is leave the door open for people to bring their own ideas to the painting and create a dialogue with the viewer,” Reid said.

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