Tag Archives: By Colleen Smith

Interviewing Ursula Von Rydingsvard at Denver Botanic Gardens

Ursula Von Rydingsvard’s work seems simultaneously familiar and alien.

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.

Here’s a link to my feature published by Art & Object (no paywalls or pop-up ads!)

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A highlight of my curation of the Denver Art Showcase: Daniel Sprick unveiled a new painting

In Denver, Daniel Sprick is represented by Gallery 1261, which released a new Sprick landscape for the Denver Art Showcase. To read the article, click here.

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,”

And so we conducted another interview, the basis of this article, linked with no pay-wall or pop-up advertisements.

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.

“Dreaming Venus” by Daniel Sprick is on exhibit and for sale in the Gallery 1261 booth of the Denver Art Showcase. Click here to link to the Denver Art Showcase.

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Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) is an extended family for many creatives

I’m pictured with a painting in the Madden Gallery at one of MOA’s signature Winter Solstice parties.

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!

Read more about MOA here at this link.

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Interviewing a legend: Ursula von Rydingsvard

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!

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Art aficionado frames the art of collecting

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.

Entrance to the Salmagundi Club, houses in a brownstone mansion in New York City

WIKEPEDIA

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.

Click here to read my feature on Art & Object.

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A painter with range: Susiehyer

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.”

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Denver’s RiNo Art District named Street Art Capital of the U.S.

Denver’s RiNo Art District is home to more than 200 murals, and the outdoor collection adds more each year.

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.”

RiNo Art District: 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:

Click here — no pay wall and no advertisements.

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Ice lanterns warm up winter

Ice lanterns in my secret garden, early February 2022, a post that eventually had about 2,000 “Likes,” “Loves” and “Wows” on Facebook.

During a cold snap in Denver, I made some ice lanterns, as I typically do when temperatures plummet to single digits. I’ve been making these simple ice sculptures for years, but the tradition dates back to the Finns who decorated soldiers’ graves with ice candles.
When I posted my photo of glowing ice lanterns in my secret garden, almost 2,000 people from around the world connected with the photo on Facebook. Comments poured in from around the world. Lots of people asked how to make the enchanting ice lanterns.

Now, my step-by-step instructions have been published by Taproot magazine. My feature is in the new issue with the theme “Refresh.”

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.

Pick up a copy of Taproot magazine’s “Refresh” issue, February 2022, for my ice lantern tutorial.

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American Museum of Western Art houses the unrivaled Anschutz Collection in Denver

An impressive private art collection made public in an ideal historic building combine for one of Denver’s hidden art gems: the American Museum of Western Art — The Anschutz Collection.

Details from paintings in The Anschutz Collection at American Museum of Western Art

And if you think Western art means all cowboys and Native Americans and landscapes, the depth and breadth of The Anschutz Collection might surprise you with works by notables such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Maxfield Parrish, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, Helen Frankenthaler, Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam and N.C. Wyeth.

Details from landscape paintings at AMWA, which includes more than 600 works of art

AMWA’s headquarters are artful, too. The building’s storied past is almost as colorful as the paintings, with reproductions of turn-of-the-centuries parlors well appointed with period furnishings.

Have a look at my article published by Art & Object with a number of images of the art and the museum, but no pay wall and no pop-up adds. Just click here.

As if the sumptuous art collection in the period setting weren’t enough, the museum also provides plenty of outreach to school groups, people with Alzheimer’s and their caretakers, and others with special needs. The museum has a wonderful website, too. Click here to visit the website where you can learn more about the collection, the building, virtual lectures and more.

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Salvador Dali’s rarely seen botanical prints at Denver Botanic Gardens

Salvador Dali, Gardens of the Mind Exhibit, photo courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens

Salvador Dali taught us that there’s more to life than meets the eye. And while Dali’s surreal art tends to bring to mind warped clocks or Catholic crucifixions, the artist also created several suites of botanical prints. Dali subverted the high-brow seriousness of botanical illustration and put his own spin on the art — sometimes working directly over existing prints.

Working with the librarian at The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL and the art curator at Denver Botanic Gardens, I wrote about the Dali botanicals on exhibit at DBG.

Each slide has commentary to help understand Dali’s art — as if we can understand the wild and dreamy imagination of the artist who believed his inspiration came through the tips of his handlebar mustache. Quirky and colorful and full of mystery, too, have a look at Dali’s fruits and flowers and you’ll never see a peach or a pomegranate or a pansy the same again.

Click here for my article published by Art & Object — no pay wall!

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