Tag Archives: 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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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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My maiden voyage as curator of an art show: Art & Object’s DENVER ART SHOWCASE

ART always has caught my eye.

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.

Here’s a link with more information, but no annoying paywall or pop-up ads.

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.

Click here for more information on the Denver Art Showcase.

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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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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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A bronze sculptor’s wabi sabi story: a tragic fall, a triumphant rising again

“Gateway,” a graceful loop of bronze, one of the pieces in Yoshitomo’s Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens — Photo by Scott Dressell Martin

In November, Art & Object published my piece about the bronze sculptures in Yoshitomo Saito’s exhibition titled “Of Ground and Sky” at Denver Botanic Gardens. Here’s a link to that article. I was happy to learn at the end of December that one of the sculptures, “Gateway,” a graceful loop of bronze resembling bend aspen branches, had sold. The photo I saw on Facebook, where the artist and I are friends, showed the piece perfectly installed on an ideal site at a major art collector’s home in Denver.

Yoshitomo Saito with his sculpture “Gateway,” installed the day of his tragic fall from a tree.

But shortly after, I saw a notification that Yoshi had fallen, broken his back, his femur, and had pneumonia. William Havu Gallery had launched a Go Fund Me campaign, and I made a small donation. Having recovered from serious, life-altering injuries sustained in a skiing crash about six years ago, it was the least I could do, well aware of his long road to recovery. I felt good about helping if only in a small way.

But after I closed the lid of my laptop once my contribution was confirmed, I thought, “What if I write a story?” So I did. With the help of Yoshi’s friend and gallerist and the art curator at Denver Botanic Gardens, I wrote an article for The Denver Gazette, which published my piece ahead of the paywall so it can be easily shared.

Here is a link to my article about Yoshi’s fall and his rising again.

Yoshi’s friend, fellow artist Heidi Jung, and his gallerist, Bill Havu, both mentioned to me that because his art is so expensive to create, Yoshi sometimes grinds and melts down sculptures to use the bronze for another casting. “It’s kind of a reincarnation,” said Bill Havu.

Coincidentally, I had recently listened to an audio book titled, “Ikegai,” about Japanese concepts for a purposeful life. Sculpting is Yoshi’s ikegai, and writing is my ikegai — or part of my life’s purpose, at least — and this article came together as a combination of the two. I hope the article will generate more support for the William Havu Gallery’s Yoshitomo Saito Go Fund Me campaign and will provide the artist will succor as he begins his physical therapy and begins his return journey to his studio.

Here is a link to the Go Fund Me campaign for Yoshi.

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Interviewing The Lumineers

My feature published 12 January 2022 in The Denver Gazette

Sometimes, the rock stars align.

The Lumineers happen to be based in Denver, but even if they weren’t, the band would be at the top of my list of favorites. So imagine my delight at having interviewed both of the founding members: Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz.

My article about Wes is published today in The Denver Gazette with a teaser on the front page. We had an engaging conversation about writing music for The Lumineers’ fourth studio album, “Brightside,” to be released this weekend. We talked about his dad, his go-to lullaby for his son, his mother’s advice for the new record, and The Lumineers’ ritual right before going on stage. We talked about the band opening for Tom Petty and U2, playing for President Barack Obama at the White House a couple of times and other highlights of the past decade since the release of their first record.

Here’s a link to the article. (Actually, it’s an excerpt from my longer piece.)

It’s always nice when on of my articles gets a mention on page one!

Years ago, I interviewed Jeremiah Fraites for The Denver Business Journal. As fate would have it, I met Jer in our neighborhood one day while I was walking to yoga and passed him playing guitar on his balcony. Here’s a link to that article.

As for the new music, I have been listening a lot over the past month to “Brightside.” It’s rare for me to like every song on an album, yet that’s the case with “Brightside,” a record consistent with the excellence of The Lumineers — a band that helps us feel all the feels.

Here’s a link to and excerpt from my article.

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