Ursula Von Rydingsvard impressed me for so many reasons. For one thing, she’s friendly and kind and seemingly humble, though she’s one of the most esteemed sculptors of our time. She has a long list of awards and honors and exhibitions and installations. And she’s an octogenarian still making monumental art, with the assistance of her team.
We sat together, just the two of us, in one of the three indoor galleries at Denver Botanic Gardens where her work fit exquisitely.
I had researched the artist and watched her documentary film to prepare for our interview. But nothing prepared me for the power of her art and the power of her story. She’s up there with the most interesting women I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet.
For the feature, I also spoke to the guest curator, Mark Rosenthal, also esteemed in the art world for his impressive curriculum vitae with top tier art museum roles and curation of marquee exhibitions.
Curating the Art & Object Denver Art Showcase caused me to realize what a connected art web I have in Denver after more than three decades of reporting on the art scene — visual and musical — in the Mile High City. When my longtime publisher, Art & Object, recruited me to curate the Denver Art Showcase, the first artist that sprang to mind was Daniel Sprick. I told my publishers, based in Chapel Hill, NC, “We must, must, must, must, must have Dan Sprick in our showcase. He is the best in Denver.”
Dan is one of the most accomplished painters working in realism anywhere today, truth told. I’ve had the good fortune to interview the artist a number of times for articles over the years.
When I told Dan about curating the Denver Art Showcase, I said, “I must, must, must, must, must get you in my show,”
Here’s another work by Daniel Sprick, “Dreaming Venus,” on exhibit and for sale in the booth of Gallery 1261 at the Denver Art Showcase online August 1-7, 2022. To visit our arm-chair art fair with dozens of Denver’s best artists, click here.
This article just published by Art & Object with no annoying paywall or annoying pop-up ads provides an overview of the many-faceted Museum of Outdoor Arts, (MOA) and its move to a newly constructed headquarters at Majorie Park.
The Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) is one of metro Denver’s most creative communities. I happened upon MOA in the mid-’80s when I took a watercolor painting workshop at the museum.
While I only dabbled in visual arts, I continued to publish feature articles about the arts in Denver. Eventually, I met MOA co-founder and CEO while on assignment for a magazine. We were fast friends, and MOA became for me as for so many an extended creative family.
I attended many openings and Winter Solstice soirees and other artful events produced by MOA. From time to time, I wrote for MOA exhibition catalogs or signage or reported on their exhibits. Years ago, MOA included me in their podcast series on 15 creatives in Denver. We enjoy a symbiotic relationship, and the MOA culture is collaborative.
When my longtime publisher Art & Object recruited me to curate the online Denver Art Showcase, I started with a long list of artists I wanted to invite into our vFair. When I realized that half a dozen artists were people I’d met through MOA, I approached MOA as a partner in the event.
After all, the timing was ideal: MOA is moving to a new location where they no longer will have indoor gallery space, so MOA saw the value of an online event. MOA knew well the high costs and many hassles of mounting art exhibitions, having produced more than 300 shows. MOA has vision, and they’ve always been ahead of the tech curve, so the museum is an ideal partner for our armchair art fair. My gratitude goes out to MOA!
When one of my longtime publishers, Art & Object, recruited me to curate their Denver Art Showcase, I couldn’t say no. I’m a longtime contributor to Art & Object — a national/international art news site, and I’ve reported on the arts in Denver for more than 30 years. I had a lot of contacts.
The Denver Art Showcase includes some of Colorado’s most innovative galleries and dozens of Colorado artists. Works in the showcase range from pure abstraction to masterful hyper-realism of Daniel Sprick and Scott Fraser. Media include oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings; ceramic and bronze sculpture; fine art photography, textile art and mixed media works.
Once regarded as a cow town, Denver has grown into a destination art metropolis. The Mile High City is home to world-class art museums, numerous art districts, scores of galleries and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a tax collected and distributed to nearly 300 cultural organizations in the seven-county Denver metro region, including Museum of Outdoor Arts, the vFair’s partner.
In curating the Denver Art Showcase, in many cases, I opted for related works by artists or works in a series. I often chose for works different from what a particular artist is known for, a case in point being still life works by William Matthews, a watercolorist famous for his cowboys, or abstracted landscapes, an evolving style for the painter Susiehyer.
An avid gardener, I included a lot of floral works in a lot of different styles. The florals seem perfect for a show the first week of August.
I also chose a lot of landscapes in various styles. You can’t live in Colorado without being staggered by our dramatic landscapes. Denver is a city with a view to the west dominated by the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains that inspire so many artists, along with our dramatic skies and sunsets. The landscapes in the showcase capture the regional rugged beauty and the intense light of the American West.
Works in the show are for sale by the gallery or the artist, and the vFair offers an opportunity to exhibit to a wider audience for less cost and more ease. And while it goes without saying that seeing fine art in person is preferable, the virtual exhibition is open to the world, bringing the best of Colorado art in the Denver Art Showcase to art-lovers everywhere.
This year, when I attended the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, I had reported on the event for The Denver Gazette and my article published on opening day of the event with the headline from the CEO’s quote: “Art Can Be So Healing.” Link here
This year, I attended the festival with a totally fresh point of view: that of a curator of an art show. A few weeks ago, one of my longtime publishers — Art & Object in Chapel Hill, NC — recruited me to curate their Denver Art Showcase. How could I say no to a win for Denver artists and galleries, a win for the city of Denver, a win for my publisher and me and a win for our environment given that our vFair is entirely online.
I’ve been working day and night to curate the best art from Denver. I’ve been meeting with artists and gallerists, as well as art consultants and museum curators. It’s a huge learning curve! I have reported on the arts for 30+ years, but this is my maiden voyage as a curator.
Ursula von Rydingsvard, an American sculptor, was born in Germany in 1942, to a Polish mother and a Ukrainian father. Weaned on the destructive acts of war, she rose to acts of peace and creativity and established herself as one of the most esteemed sculptors of our time. What a thrill to sit down with her one-on-one in a gallery at Denver Botanic Gardens, where she’s showcased in a solo exhibition running through Sept. 11, 2022. Here’s a link to my article published 30 April by The Denver Gazette. Click here to read.
Ursula von Rydingsvard and I had a comfortable connection and a deep conversation, and she gave me a hug at the end of the interview. I was star-struck and almost asked her to take a selfie with me!
This feature article involves some cross-pollination. The article is published by one of my publishers — Art & Object — about the publisher of another magazine I publish in titled Western Art & Architecture.
Tim Newton has as artful pedigree. In addition to serving as publisher of the slick, large-format magazine, he also is chairman-emeritus of the famed Salmagundi Club in New York City. He brings to art collecting his background as a kitchen designer for 30 years, a profession that honed his sense of design.
Click here to learn Newton’s tips for art collectors. No pay wall and no pop-up ads!
PS One of Newton’s main points is that collecting art is not for wealthy people only. He began his enviable collection of preparatory studies, oil paintings and sculptures with meager means, but an abundance of passion.
Western Art & Architecture published my profile of the painter known as Susiehyer in the new issue. Susiehyer is an avid outdoors woman, as well as a passionate painter who works in oils. She’s also a character as colorful as one of her landscapes, and we shared some laughs during our conversations.
Susiehyer paints both a wide range of subject matter — landscapes, still lifes, nocturnes — and in a range of styles from full abstraction to representational works. And she paints everywhere from the American Southwest to Tahiti. But she always paints in oils. “There’s a difference,” the artist says. “Acrylics are plastic, and they look like plastic.”
Denver’s RiNo Art District is proof of the powerful impact of public art. The art district’s mural project draws visitors to an industrial corridor once less desirable, but now hip and happening. The murals not only beautiful the buildings in the art district, but also support the growth and expansion of businesses. The mural project supports artists, as well tis the RiNo Art District tagline: “Where art is made.”
Reporting this story, I learned the difference between street art and graffiti: Street artists have permission. Graffiti artists do not. In the case of RiNo, both sorts of artists are at work. Graffiti artists are known to tag murals. “That’s the street talking to the street,” said Tracy Weil, the RiNo co-founder and director who admits he’s put up both murals and graffiti.
More about RiNo Art District’s olinnovative, creative and wildly successful mural collection in my article published by Art & Object:
I share all my secrets for making ice lanterns in my feature published in the new issue of Taproot magazine.
Ice candles are ephemeral. Part of their charm lies in their every-changing nature subject to the weather. One of the nicest aspects of teaching people to make these lanterns of fire and ice is when they succeed and send me a photo of their own ice candles. It sets me aglow to know others enjoy this simple yet elegant winter tradition and add a bit of warmth and light to the dead of winter.