ELEVATED | CO/BKLYN and a Spelling Bee

09/03/14 | By | More


Art Walk in Telluride

The Film Festival is over, and visual arts on canvas – and photography, and works made of felt – all take center stage in Telluride tonight at the First Thursday Art Walk. This is the evening that the winners of Ah Haa’s Second Annual Photography Prize, for portraits taken in and around Telluride, will be revealed at an opening reception at the art school from 5-8 p.m.

It’s also the night CO/BKLYN Half Drop opens, a nutty-sounding name for an unusual, powerful show. The exhibit is at Gallery 81435.

“Half-drop” sounds a little like instructions for a biscuit recipe; in fact, it is the type of pattern used to display this show’s art. From the précis: “The installation of these works follows a French textile design widely used in the 1800s to hang wallpaper. The half-drop patterns repeat at the ceiling on every other strip and the direction tends to run like a checkerboard.”

The show of abstract art has been curated by Ridgway artist Meredith Nemirov. A native New Yorker, Nemirov moved to this region 25 years ago from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She is acutely aware of the numerous artistic connections between this region and New York City, has friends who live and work there, and knows many people from Telluride who visit the great museums in the city each year. (She also has a son who is an artist in New York.) She used her New York connections to recruit seven artists from the City. With the help of Kate Jones from Telluride Arts, she then spared the word to the seven Creative Arts Districts around the state: “This was way more challenging – to find abstract artists, especially in rural areas, who had a body of ten works on paper!” Each artist contributed 10 abstract pieces to the layout, which resembles a grid. “This loose grid sends the viewer into action,” Nemirov has said; you are alternatively kneeling on the floor and craning your neck to take in the works, with enough space between each to allow it to feel distinct, but which, when seen together, take up nearly an entire wall. Nemirov wondered, “Would the work(s) reveal differences that come from the contrast between working in rural and urban environments or from East Coast and Southwest?” You can “read” the wall and draw your own conclusions, but don’t miss the artists’ descriptions of their works, and what drives them, in the catalogue. Here is Maya Arthur, who calls herself, among other things, a working artist, a tattoo artist, and a lover/elder/monk and says of her drawings, “Since birth I can’t look at a blank wall without creating art out of the shadows.” Or mixed media and mosaic artist Flair Robinson, who quotes Ray Bradbury from Something Wicked This Way Comes  –“Christ, three a.m.! Doctors say the body’s at low tide then. The soul is out. The blood moves slow” – then reveals that her work in this show was started at “normal evening hours” and completed in the wee small ones, between midnight and 3 a.m., when she gets her best work done. And then there is artist and writer Stephen Truax, who lives in New York and Berlin; his contribution to Half Drop was to mail hand-painted cards from Berlin to Telluride.

The artistic threads intertwine and tangle, and this disparate assemblage merges to become a whole. You could easily lose yourself in these 140 works, and the artists’ words about them, and the connections between New York City and Colorado, entirely distinct on paper – as it were – yet on paper here, perhaps not so completely different, after all.

I suspect many people will do just that.

BKLYN/CO Half Drop is up until September 29.

Adult Spelling Bee

A team of Telluride teachers won it last year, and doesn’t that just figure? The winning word was “stanchion” (Stanchion: “An upright bar, post or frame forming a support or barrier”). But here’s your opportunity for revenge: the second annual Adult Spelling Bee is this coming Tuesday night at the Sheridan Opera House. It begins at 7 p.m.

Last year the Bee, a fundraiser for the Telluride Historical Museum, included teams of friends, teams from the Library and from Telski. The Robinsons, a family comprised of three generations of Tellurideans, also teamed up. None could take the teachers down. “We pulled [the words] from Spelling Bees all over the country,” said Anne Gerhard, the museum’s programs and exhibits director, words ranging from accoucheur (a person who assists during childbirth) and babiche (rawhide used for making snowshoes) to xyster (surgical instrument for scraping bones), ytrium (rare metallic element)and zucchetto (a skullcap worn by Roman Catholic ecclesiastics). Naturally, Gerhard is keeping mum on the origins of this year’s list. (She’s equally tight-lipped about the Museum’s plans for a Halloween celebration next month – the Telluride Historical has already begun warming us up for the haunted season with a series of weekly Cemetery Tours – except to say, “we’re going to shake it up.”)

At the Bee, teams of three will work onstage not only to spell properly, but also to earn a plaque at the Museum, and a secret prize. The biggest prize is also invaluable: bragging rights. But they only last for a year. Register your team at telluridemuseum.org;  contact Gerhard with any questions by phone (970/728-3344, ext. 2) or email (anne@telluridemuseum.org

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