Art exhibit features some bits of ‘therapy’
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. An anniversary present hangs from clothes pins in the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts gallery.The gift has 365 pieces, all on paper – symbolic of the traditional first anniversary present.A year in the life of a couple struggling to live as man and wife.
Renick Stevenson, the center’s artist-in-residence, created the anniversary gift in 2002 for his wife. The couple is no longer married. Much of their struggle in matrimony is expressed in the text and images on each of the 365 pieces of art.”On the very last piece, 365 out of 365, you can definitely see where it ends,” said Lou Iglesias, Center for the Arts program assistant. “It’s heartbreaking.”Stevenson’s ex-wife recently returned the gift to him so he could share it with the world. Suspended on white rope from wood clothes pins, the 2002 artwork hangs as part of the “Colour … Outside the Lines …” art exhibit, showing through Sept. 30.
Mixed in with Stevenson’s art are photocopied pages from one of his favorite books, “365 Tao: Meditations” by Ming-dao Deng.”It’s a neat statement about what I believe,” said Stevenson, pointing out a page from the book about parting ways. “It’s not as much ’til death do us part, as why we don’t stay together. It was an interesting trip to hang this on the wall. I stayed up all night.”Stevenson, 72, shares the explorative and deeply personal show with his understudies and local artists who are exhibiting for the first time.”I just want the other people in this show to stretch things, color outside of the lines,” Stevenson said. “And I want them being good role models and showing kids they can exhibit their art, too.”One such artist, Jacque Carter, embraced the invitation to experiment with art publicly. In her typed artist’s statement, she described painting Stevenson with wings in “There IS coffee in heaven” as silly, light-hearted and fun.
Near the painting, Stevenson added his insights on why his work is not shown in a formal display, rather with staple holes and rough edges.”Some refer to me as an ‘outsider,'” he wrote. “… Others say my art isn’t art but ‘therapy.’ They’re all right.”Stevenson views his art as therapy and as a way to show gratitude to the community where he lives. He was commissioned to head the Glenwood Springs art project currently in the works in the community. The project features 10 wood panels painted to show Glenwood’s past, present and future.He recently brought the panels to students at Yampah Mountain High School so they could paint. The project is a way to link different cultures, which has become an issue for discussion in the valley.”There are no observers, only participants,” he said. “We have a bunch of kids, Hispanic and Anglo, who will come together and paint.”
All ages and art levels are invited to help paint the murals. To participate, call Stevenson at the Center for the Arts at 945-2414.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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