Zen pals gather for art show
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” On Tuesday, the oatmeal-colored walls inside the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts were mostly bare. They, along with art center director Gayle Mortell, were still waiting on pieces from several artists participating in the annual holiday sale and show.
Smiling warmly and shrugging, she quoted one of her friends: “Getting artists together like this, it’s like herding cats.”
She seemed unworried, knowing that the show, as is tradition, would come together just in time. Tonight, as the art is unveiled, partrons have a chance to snack, drink wine and mingle with the dozen or so contributing artists. Unlike most craft shows, this one is focused soley on work produced in the valley, said Mortell. Instead of traditional ornaments or garish jewelry, she feels the this show, dubbed “Now and Zen” this year, has a bit of a deeper purpose. “We just wanted to express peace this year, and quiet,” she said.
For participating Carbondale artist Linda Drake, her paintings and collages represent the inner calm she feels in the morning. Before work, while still in her “jammies,” she drinks tea and lets her creativity out.
“It’s my meditation time,” she said. “The feedback I get is ‘this makes me feel good when I look at it.'”
It’s that warmth she wants to bring to the show. Confessing she didn’t want to sound corny, she spoke of “spreading the joy” by selling and buying locally-made art. “It’s just nice to see an artist smile,” she said.
“It’s really an interesting show,” added Barbara Castellano of Glenwood Springs. Alongside her husband, Ventura Aguilar, she crafts small pieces of “contemporary folk art.” The pair have been a part of the exhibit, off and on, for years. Though she fears that primitive art is disappearing the world over, she feels it’s still very much alive at the show. “I think it’s great you can express yourself any way you want and put yourself out there for people,” she said.
Diane Kenney, a ceramcist from Carbondale, spoke about the show as she readied her porcelain cups and bowls for exhibition. As she handled her earth-toned pieces, some flecked with green, others dripping in dark browns, she seemed to truly “get” the meaning of this year’s title.
“That sort of describes my life,” she said. “In order for it to be art and not just a mechanical function, you have to meditate the whole time.”
“Beauty, for me,” she continued, “is really what I want my work to be about.”
That, for Mortell, gets to the heart of the thing. In her eyes, this exhibit, like the art center itself, is a service to the community, a space for people to come and be creative. “We really try to make a place that affects the total person,” she said.
And while, days before the show, she may not have known the number of artists participating or whether or not there will be chocolate fountain, she did trust that it would all work out. She knew that people who make art or love it would be there to celebrate it, just as they have for the past 17 years.
Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111
Post Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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