Exhibit honors the fallen
CARBONDALE – The Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities’ “Day of the Dead” altar exhibit is perfect for Kathy Honea, an artist who has a “stash of stuff” and likes to recycle her own work. It’s also a piece in which Honea moves toward making a political statement, which she rarely does through her artwork.”I don’t use my art as a political statement; I don’t have a deep bone in my body. One of my greatest compliments is when someone looks at my art and starts laughing,” said the Basalt artist who created a small shrine honoring soldiers from all countries who have died at war. The altar is one of about 25 shrines in the upcoming CCAH exhibit “The Day of the Dead,” or “El Día de los Muertos” opening at 6 p.m. tonight at the gallery at Sixth and Main streets. The show runs through November. The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico, with variations recognized around the world. The holiday occurs on Nov. 1 (All Saints’ Day) and Nov. 2 (All Souls’ Day).CCAH Director Ro Mead has been thinking about a Day of the Dead show for years, but the timing never worked out until this year. “I’ve wanted to do this show for a long time. Every imaginable medium will be represented in this show. I’m really excited,” Mead said. Honea’s piece is a collection of miniatures, toy soldiers of different colors, Catholic statues, skeletons and artwork inside and around a cigar box with a handle – part of her “portable” series. One side of the box is serious and represents the killing; one side is whimsical, showing the soldiers after death. “When the dead crossover, they’re ready to rock and roll. They’re joyful. And that’s as deep as I get.” For about 20 years, Honea was known for art pieces containing intricate beadwork. Clever names such as “The Bead Goes On,” “Johnny Bead Good” “Eight-bead in the Corner Pocket” match the colorful guitars and pool tables designed with colorful beads. She doesn’t spend as much time on the beadwork these days but produces numerous works using encaustic, oil pastel, mixed media, charcoal, watercolor, Polaroid transfers, jewelry, coins and more. She has a collection of old photographs and mementos from her childhood that find their way into her artwork, as well. With pieces currently in the Roaring Fork Open, at the Aspen Chapel Gallery and other galleries throughout the Valley, Honea has plenty to work on. Yet, she can barely keep up with her hands once an idea comes. “What happens is my brain gets going and my hands can’t stop,” said the artist, who teaches a variety of workshops and classes where she aims to make art approachable for the artist of any level.She encourages students to “just open your mind, and don’t expect to start with a finished product” to give them time to develop their own style. Honea is the first to acknowledge that she, too, has to work at her art. But creating her own style is usually not problematic. She heads to her basement studio, with 40 years of stuff that “all have great potential” and just has fun.”I just come down here and play with my toys,” she said. “My stroke of luck is my imagination. I don’t know where it came from but I’m happy to have it.”
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