“Happy and hopeful.” That’s how one patron described the paintings of landscape artist Rick Young at the opening gala for the Governor’s Art Show in Loveland. The exhibit premiered Saturday, April 23, at the Loveland Art Museum featuring more than 200 works from 60 Colorado artists. Show Director Ruth Scott described the opening gala the night before as an “amazing crowd with a real buzz of excitement for getting back to celebrating art.” People were emailing and calling weeks in advance with anticipation. They won’t be disappointed by the richly curated and diverse show, exhibiting some of the best art Colorado has to offer.
In a state known for breathtaking mountain views, as well as stunning sunrises and sunsets, it’s no surprise to find a healthy representation of landscapes produced by the artists who live and work here. From vivid photorealism to soft impressionist takes to abstraction, this show offers numerous media in which to appreciate the environment. Acrylic painter Rick Young “uses color expressively, rather than representationally,” noting the vibrant pinks, purples, and oranges in his work. In “Trail’s End,” centered by a towering cairn, Young’s lively colors and signature curved brush strokes used to express movement exaggerate, or perhaps accentuate, the scenery of the hike he is recreating on canvas.
John Lintott’s mountain landscapes take a different approach with sharply detailed realism capturing the stark beauty in the semi-arid landscape of Western Colorado and the West. He balances the scenes with brightly colored vegetation, like the tree along the river in “Boney Desolation,” accentuating the intricate features of the rocky hills behind it. His attention to detail comes from “a lot of time outside observing.” Refraction of light is a key interest of Colorado artists, whether it’s bursts of light through the trees in Kathleen Lanzoni’s “Shining Through,” the soft glow coming through the windows in Kim English’s “Home Office” or the golden hue of water lilies in Dix Baines’ “Silver and Gold Light.”
A sense of joyous vitality runs through this year’s exhibit with sculptures and other visual art celebrating movement and a clear joie de vivre. Clay Enoch’s bronze sculptures capture a group of energetic kids in a “Jump” and on the slope anticipating a “First Run.” A similar energy is found in Danny Haskew’s sculpture “Dance Within, Wear Only Sky,” and that poetic beauty of movement is celebrated in numerous other pieces featuring dancers. The skillfully curated layout at the museum emphasizes such subjects, as with the bronze piece “In the Wings II” by Jane Dedecker placed near the huge oil piece “Fervent Reclamation” of a dancer by Jen Starling, creating a beautiful display of both anticipation and action.
There’s a clear sense of fun and whimsy in many pieces, such as the tempting, delicious still lifes of donuts from Gregory Block. Anyone who has visited Voodoo Donuts and wanted to capture the memory will love Block’s “Box Set” and “Jubilee,” which look like they were delivered by a bakery, rather than an oil painter. The fun is also present during the artist meet-and-greet, which occurs every Saturday afternoon of the show from 2 to 4 p.m. Artists Sabrina Stiles and Douglas Wodark were laughing and chatting about their artistic process, describing the “sheer joy and playful,” feeling of creation where “you’re just having fun.”
Similarly, watercolorist Kathleen Lanzoni described her process as “controlled playfulness,” which is required with a medium that will quickly take on a mind of its own. In two landscapes, Lanzoni blends colors with a loose style that “lets the colors run and do their magic.” The effect she gets in working from light to dark creates a powerful sunburst coming through the trees in her piece. The technique complements and reflects the natural landscapes she paints, like the colors which so smoothly blend along trails.
The show also provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the beauty, even the mystery of Colorado, as the artists remind us to stop and look at the world around us. A thoughtful reflective theme is seen in numerous wildlife images, whether it’s animals sitting in repose like Timothy Nimmo’s coyote in “Wary Rest” or the impossible-to-ignore intensity of Douglas Wodark’s stunning buffalo, “Standing Strong.” The paintings and sculptures evoke a sense of strength and calm and hope. That “happy and hopeful” feeling is also present in various pictures of bird eggs, such as the work of Elaine St. Louis, an oil painter, whose four pictures are different varieties of birds. In noting her own picture of eggs in a nest, Lanzoni observed “maybe we’ve been nesting for a couple years” and now it’s time for spring and rebirth.
The Governor’s Art Show is an investment in and celebration of the arts community in Colorado. In a statement for the show’s program, Governor Jared Polis endorses the show, noting how it “encourages investment by recognizing current Colorado artists” with the goal of “growing and supporting the art industry which contributes $3.7 billion” to the state’s economy.
The show is collaboratively sponsored by the Loveland and Thompson Valley Rotary clubs. Scott explained that curation is “nearly a year-long process” with artist calls for submission going out in August through November and then selected by a five-person jury. This year’s selection jury consisted of Maureen Corey, Loveland Museum Curator; Don Hamilton, artist; Dr. Jennifer Henneman, Denver Art Museum, associate curator; Scott Kelley, patron; and Tal Walton, artist. The show has no specific theme or requirement for medium or style, according to Scott, who says selection “is simply all about the quality of the art. Whatever moves the jurors” is what makes the show.
Proceeds from the show help support multiple causes including scholarships for art students and the purchase of art supplies for the Thompson School District. All works are available for sale in person and online, and interested patrons can preview the entire selection on the website for the show. Granted, photos can never replace the experience of being up close and personal with art, so a visit to the museum is a must. The show runs through May 22, and tickets for non-members are $7.
All photos courtesy of Governor’s Art Show, unless otherwise noted.