The first Thursday of every month this past winter, galleries in Telluride have stayed open a little later than usual. And, just in time for the ski area’s closure this Sunday, tomorrow marks the end of the Art Walk season. Pastel painter Bruce Gomez is not only an artist but a popular teacher, having offered classes for years at the Ah Haa School in Telluride, and at Weehawken in Ridgway/Ouray. He returns this week to his home base, of sorts – the Telluride Gallery of Fine Arts, which has represented him for nearly 30 years and refers to him in a press release as “our beloved artist” – with a new show.
Gomez is best known for his paintings of the San Juans. But as Michelle Curry Wright of the Fine Arts Gallery notes, he lives in this region only part of the year. That leaves a lot of time for roaming around – to northern Europe, to southern Utah – and in his latest exhibit, his art reflects his travels. In “Bruce Gomez: The Other Side,” you see the brilliant aspen leaves jutting towards the sky in “Final Thought from Faraway” and the majesty of the waterfall in “Bridal Veil, Magnum Opus.” Curry Wright calls these images “classic Gomez,” and indeed, they are so iconic, it is as if painter was seeing them for the first time, or maybe taking one last look for good (the titles are ambiguous). Either way, Gomez has turned his eye to Paris: to images of a neighborhood in the heart of the city, and to a study of Rodin’s bronze “The Thinker” at the Musée Rodin. “He can paint everything,” Curry Wright said. “He captures our mountains beautifully. But he has other loves, and it’s nice to see them come alive.”
At Gallery 81435, Drew Ludwig displays portraits of models from the Telluride AIDS Benefit, dubbed a “Dialogue Between AIDS, Lust and Identity.” Ludwig had photographed all the TAB models, singly and in a group shot. He wasn’t completely satisfied with what he saw. “Group photos are very static,” he said, “and I wanted this to be more dynamic.” How to get around the problem? By placing small versions of the individual photos on tracing paper, cutting them out, and then using honey to affix these cutout shots to the models’ actual faces and create composite portraits. The result is very trippy-looking: psychedelic art in which the controlled substance was the drip of a honey bottle. Ludwig will also collaborate with Danielle DeRoberts on a mural for Thursday evening’s show. On Tuesday afternoon, the mural still hadn’t been started, and he faced the eternal artistic conundrum: “I am staring at a blank wall right now.”
In Montrose: Prehistoric Ceramics Class
As the weather warms, red rocks get more inviting – and so do long hikes to look at petroglyphs and other ancient rock art of this region. Some of the best rock art can be difficult to find, for good reason: protection from vandalism. But there is a way around that, which is to join the Chipeta Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society. Last year around this time, Chipeta members were making their way off a Glade Park mesa, and down a steep trail to see the main panel of petroglyphs in Sieber Canyon. The Chipeta Chapter doesn’t concern itself only with human history, however; the group recently hosted a visit with a scientist from the La Brea Tar Pits, who had worked on the 2010 Snowmass excavation of mammoths and mastodons. And next week, from Friday through Monday, April 12-15, the CAS will offer a class presented by assistant state archaeologist Kevin Black at the Public Land Center on the description and analysis of prehistoric ceramics. The course is intended for aspiring archaeologists, but can be taken by anyone with a passion for learning more about ceramics in Colorado from a.d. 150-1800. Can’t make the class? Consider attending the annual Utah Rock Art Symposium, to be held this autumn in Moab. Information on the ceramics class, which costs just $12 for four sessions, as well as the Moab symposium, can be found at coloradohistory-oahp.org. The Chipeta Chapter convenes the third Wednesday of each month at the United Methodist Church in Montrose at 7 p.m. To learn about the topic for this month, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org – or simply show up for a class.
Cinema in Ouray
Finally, a quirky action film comes to Ouray this weekend. Welcome to the Punch, this Friday’s feature at the Wright Opera House, is a British cops-and-robbers film and a “welcome absurdity,” in the words of New York Times critic Manohla Dargis. Dargis reviewed the film a little over a week ago for the Times, and thanks to the quick work of Almost-Every-Friday-Night-Movie series programmer Pam Ferman, we are already seeing it here. It concerns a detective and a group of thieves, but it is really a slick, mostly adept homage to the director Michael Mann, with a little dash of Christopher Nolan (the Dark Knight series) and Quentin Tarantino thrown in. The film includes “plenty of mano-a-mano action and a clutch of presumably unintended laughs,” Dragis writes. “This isn’t a warning. It’s a recommendation.” The movie screens at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, available at the door, are $7.