August Gallery Walk planned for Friday downtown
FARMINGTON — Since opening her downtown art gallery a little more than two years ago, artist Karen Ellsbury said she's been trying to get local potter Fiona Clarke to display her work at Studio 116.
But it wasn't until she came up with an idea for her new show — opening during this weekend's downtown August Gallery Walk — that she finally succeeded in drawing Clarke's artistic interest.
"I just love boxes and containers, and most of the artists I know do, too," Ellsbury said last week, describing the inspiration behind "The Box Show," which will feature painted, ceramic and/or mixed-media boxes created by a variety of local artists, including Clarke.
Ellsbury said she's been collecting boxes and decorating them for years, eventually acquiring so many of them she realized the time had come to let some of them go. She hopes the exhibition will be a hit with local art fans, and if the early response is any indication, it's likely it will be. Ellsbury said a piece of hers that she intended to display as the centerpiece of "The Box Show" was bought by a gallery visitor before she could even include it in the exhibition.
Ellsbury said the boxes she'll be showing are painted or mixed media. One piece, built around an aspen trees theme, features canvas pieces that have been cut to resemble leaves. In other instances, she cut out pieces from unfinished canvases and attached them to boxes as decorative elements.
In addition to boxes by Clarke and Ellsbury, the show also will feature the work of Tabatha Rhodes, Kirtland art teacher Shirley Pelot, metal artist Kathleen Holmes and collage/mixed-media artist Lona Warne.
Studio 116 also will be displaying the work of Cortez, Colo., artist Katherine Simmons Lea. Ellsbury described her as an emerging artist who works primarily with acrylics on canvas, though she also does mixed-media work, chalk and pencil on paper. Lea focuses on the human form, primarily female, and is expected to have at least 10 pieces in her show.
"I immediately liked her work," Ellsbury said of meeting Lea two years ago. "I thought she had a unique style and has her own voice. I'm always impressed to see artists secure their own territory. I'm not a mainstream artist, and I thought she was a kindred spirit in that regard."
Ellsbury said Lea's work appeals to her because there's a sense of fun to it, and she likes artists who don't take their work too seriously. But Ellsbury hastened to add there's also a grace to Lea's female figures that, at the same time, gives them a certain elegance.
Lea has shown her work at Studio 116 only once before — she had a piece in the "Size Matters" show earlier this year. Ellsbury said this will be Lea's first major exposure to local audiences.
"She's going to show Farmington something different," Ellsbury said.
Two other downtown galleries will be opening new shows during the walk, as well. The Artifacts Gallery opens its "CIRCLE — What Goes Around" exhibition with a variety of local artists working in several media.
"You tell me what that means," Artifacts owner Bev Taylor said when asked to explain the show's title. "You have to come to the show and tell me after you see for yourself."
Taylor said the themes for her gallery's shows are always open to interpretation, and this exhibition is no exception. The pieces that have been submitted have been done in such media as metal, photography, oils, acrylics, collage, fiber art, watercolors and calligraphy.
"There's very different work from everybody," she said.
One piece in particular is likely to reflect that anything-goes ethos, as Taylor said she's been having some of her art students craft a collaborative piece in watercolor.
"CIRCLE" will remain on display through the end of September.
The gallery walk also will feature the annual Artist Members and General Members Exhibition at the Three Rivers Art Center, which will be celebrating its fifth anniversary during the event.
"It's the one time a year when we have everybody put stuff out in the gallery," owner Sue Johnson said. Her shows usually don't feature the work of those who have taken classes at the gallery, she said, because they often have received help from the instructor. That change is likely to make this one of the gallery's bigger shows of the year. Johnson said she expects many of those on the gallery's regular roster of artists to participate, but she said if she has trouble finding room to display everything, she'll make the work of the newer artists a priority.
The show will remain on display through Sept. 26
Johnson said the show is a fitting way to celebrate an important milestone in the gallery's history.
"We're happy to have been here," she said, explaining she thinks Three Rivers has had a positive impact on the local art scene. "I think more and more people realize we're here, and we have more and more people coming to classes. It's been a help."
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