Glenwood’s getting personal
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado As Renick Stevenson sees it, creativity isnt only about pretty little studies in color and design.In his words, Art has to be more than that.His latest creation certainly is.In Pathways, Doorways and Bridges, Stevenson has corralled the artistic energy of dozens of local and far flung painters, photographers and more to make a crazy, bright mishmash of a show. According to Stevenson, the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts artist-in-residence, the point of the exhibit is to celebrate people going through transitions, to promote a healthy lifestyle, to let people know theyre not alone. He wanted contributing artists to be wide open, to disclose things about themselves they wouldnt normally. He wanted them to get personal.It looks as though they listened.Marilyn MaC (yes, with a capital c), for example, is putting part of herself into the show literally.In her mixed media painting, Bridge to Healing, the 59-year-old used a four-and-a-half inch hunk of steel that used to be in her leg. It was put there early this year, after she slipped on ice and shattered various bones. A few months later, when her doctor realized she was allergic to the metal, he took it out. MaC wasnt about to let him throw it away.I paid for that steel. Im an artist. I want it! she remembered telling him.So now it plays the bridge in her acrylic, plastered piece. Filled with texture and color and sculptural elements, it shows a small figure crossing between the local canyons and mountains. This is me. This could be anybody, getting to the other side, she said. This is the truth about my life.Its about getting better after her accident, she explained, but of course its more than that. She wants people to look into it and think about things theyve done right, things theyve done wrong and what theyve learned from all those experiences. Those are the kind of thoughts Stevenson has inspired in her.He wanted us step out and do, take a chance, be real, she said.How freeing.The pieces dont have to be emotionally heavy, though. Karen Turpin, 26, doesnt think so.A writer and artist in all different mediums, her work in the show isnt full of meaning. She likes things a bit lighter than that.Im an eternal optimist. What can I say? she said. Everything Ive lost and everything painful Ive been through just contributes to who I am.In many ways, Pathways has done the same for her. Just to be at the opening, she took a a road trip from her home in Battle Creek, Mich. Along the way, she felt like she got to know her unborn child, a little girl shes putting up for adoption. Alone in the car, Turpin had time to talk to the baby, and she thinks that gave them both some comfort. Months earlier, when she first learned about this show, she contacted an old, estranged friend. For sake of the exhibit, she decided to spend an entire day walking with, and photographing, her buddy. When they came across an old lighthouse, Turpin found herself taking a picture of a lock on the building. At that moment, she realized she was unlocking years of friendship all thanks to this show.Its a doorway in and of itself, really. Ive experienced more opportunities just from coming here than from anywhere else in my life, she said. It was my first chance to be myself out loud.Then theres Yvonne Schwartz. At 55, she has the type of story that could make you wince, but shes putting it out there, all the same. In her triptych painting series, Feeding the Hungry Heart, she abstractly depicts her addictions to food, drugs and alcohol, as well as her journey through 12-step programs. It was really something different, she said. A painting from the heart.She talked about how hard it was to go back through all those memories. It was totally out of the box, she feels, to look inward so much. Even though in the paintings shes represented by a large heart and other people are seen as flowers, it seemed pretty risky to her to display her pain for everyone to see.That fear is just what makes the exhibit so powerful, though. The very public that intimidates her is the same audience Pathways is out to touch.Id like them to know theres hope, Schwartz said. Theres always hope.And how often do people get that from an art show?
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