The show is a project of local gallery East Meets West, and provides a breathtaking entryway from which to discover the diverse array of art born in the Four Corners region.
A stroll through the Capella ballroom hallway is a voyage through a multiplicity of varied forms and styles, none of which are similar save for the home base of their creator.
There is the inventive photography of Mark Montgomery, who through his skill in hand-coloring each photograph is able to transport his viewers to new visual perspectives. His photos range from the surreal, as in “Desert Bloom” where a sleeping woman lies in a nest of cactus, to the embellished, seen in the heightened colors and emboldened contrast of light and dark in “Wilson Peak.”
While Montgomery’s photographs offer the surreal, illustrator Fiona King provides the fanciful. “Highwayman” could be likened to a storybook page, with the artist utilizing a unique style of bold colors stacked in linear strokes portraying a caped rider on horseback.
Also exercising a more whimsical style is Joyce Heuman Kramer, whose delicate watercolors reflect more of an Asian influence, although she admits that her creative spark comes from just outside her back door near McElmo Canyon. “The images I create merge the world of form and spirit. In an environment of unity, harmony, shape, balance, opposites, color and texture, I seek to express the mystery of our natural world and my relation to it. It is both personal and impersonal; both real and within a dream-state,” Kramer writes of her work.
Residing at the other end of the Four Corners art spectrum is the very tangible work of artists like Joshua Been, Karen Kristin, and Rebecca Hammond. Though their styles are significantly varied, the influence their environment has on their art is evident.
Been takes a decidedly Western perspective in his realist landscape paintings, specifically in pieces like “Meet in the Middle,” showing two cowboys framed by fence posts abutting winter-worn trees.
Kristin’s adoration of the sights in her own backyard are lovingly painted in the pieces “East Towards Mesa Verde” and “Expression of Rock, McElmo.” When asked about the source of inspiration for her landscape oil paintings, Kristin says it comes unambiguously from her Four Corners’ backdrop. A lifelong studio artist who made a living painting very large scale sky paintings (like at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace Hotel) before moving to the Cortez area full-time five years ago, she now concentrates on scenes that she can reproduce within an 11x14-inch frame.
“I take my Airstream trailer and stay out for a day or two and paint,” she says of her creative process. “It’s wonderful for me to do these landscapes and art forms, having my dogs out with me and being in nature.”
Meanwhile, place plays a different role in inspiring the works of Hammond, whose southwestern influence is seen in her medium of beads. A member of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe who was born and raised in Towaoc, Colo., Hammond learned traditional Ute Mountain Ute beading from her grandmother as a child, and has been creating her modern beadwork since 2009. Her contemporary beading is drawn from ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) and Ute designs, blending her personal experience with the archaeology she teaches as a Crow Canyon Archaeological Center interpreter.
The Four Corners Artists’ Show is on exhibit now until April 4. The art is in the Capella second-floor banquet room lobby and in the rear lobby on the first floor.
Capella and East Meets West are hosting a cocktail reception on March 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Capella.