By: Southwest Art | November 15, 2018 | Kim Agricola
This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of Southwest Art Magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2018 print issue.
For art-loving holiday shoppers, the search for that special gift this season warrants a stop at Ann Korologos Gallery in Basalt, CO, where a special show of western-inspired paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs decks the walls for more than six weeks beginning on Saturday, November 24. Entitled Home for the Holidays, this curated exhibition of primarily small-scale works shines a spotlight on five featured artists: Paula Schuette Kraemer, Leon Loughridge, Mike Weber, Michael Wisner, and Sherrie York. Their showcase of about eight works each—including both small and large-scale pieces—is complemented by a few intimately sized pieces from each of the gallery’s nearly 40 other artists, including Peggy Judy, Amy Laugesen, Donna Howell-Sickles, and Andy Taylor. “Because the works are on a smaller scale, the word ‘treasure’ comes to mind,” says gallery manager Caroline Amelia Iles. “They are a little softer and a little sweeter.”
[columns] [span4]Mike Weber, “Americana Cow,” Mixed Media, 36 x 24 in
[/span4][span4]Mike Weber, “Foxy 1/6,” Mixed Media on Panel, 12 x 12 in
[/span4][span4]Mike Weber, “Counting Sheep,” Mixed Media on Panel, 21 x 24 in
Mixed-media artist Mike Weber just recently joined the gallery’s respected stable, which embraces both traditional and out-of-the-box perspectives on the American West. “Mike’s work is a little different for us, but it’s still in the vein of western art,” says Iles. “He portrays barns and animals, but the way he works, and his medium, are unique to our roster, so we’re excited to have his outlook among all of our usual suspects.”
With a background in broadcast graphics, animation, and motion-picture design, Weber brings a decidedly modern vision to his classic western subjects. One distinctive trademark that sets his work apart is his use of materials like gold and silver leaf, resin, photographic film transfers, and acrylic. On occasion, the artist also incorporates neon. “So my work is a bit more graphic and pop art-like compared to more traditional artists,” he notes.
[columns] [span4]Michael Wisner, “Red Oval,” handmade clay, 4 x 10 inches
[/span4][span4]Sherrie York, “Late Summer Blooms (detail),” Reduction Linocut, 12 x 18 inches
[/span4][span4]Leon Loughridge, “Middle of the Earth 6/8,” Woodblock Print, 11 x 8.50 in
Among the pieces Weber brings to the show is a 12-by-12-inch portrait of a tawny fox aglow within a stark-black background. The artist printed the image on large-format film and then transferred it to gold leaf and coated the piece in high-gloss resin. Frequently inspired by his own nature photography, Weber makes routine excursions into national parks to find the images for his wildlife portraits. “But the backgrounds are inspired by my urban life,” says the former Los Angeles, CA, resident, who today lives in a cabin in the San Bernardino National Forest. “I’m removing the animals from their natural worlds and contexts and putting them in a more urban or graphic environment. Putting animals on colorful, graphic backgrounds makes them feel friendlier than they are in real life.”
[columns] [span4]Paula Schuette Kraemer, “Who Are You? 13/15,” Mixed Media Print, 47 x 35 in
[/span4][span4]Michael Wisner, “Black Platinum Kauai Urchin,” Handmade Сlay, 5″ x 15″
The exhibition also highlights monoprints and monotypes featuring deer, moonlit forests, and other Colorado-inspired subjects by Paula Schuette Kraemer; reduction woodblock prints of mountain peaks, meadows, and aspens by artist Leon Loughridge; exquisitely patterned clay vessels inspired by ancient Anasazi and Mimbres potsherds from ceramic artist Michael Wisner; and reduction linocuts depicting wildlife and other nature-focused subjects by artist Sherrie York. Modestly priced and universally appealing, such expressive treasures present fitting gift options even for those who don’t have personal connections to the West. “The artists really care about the places and things they depict,” sums up Iles, “and they want to share those connections with everyone.”
Home for the Holidays is on view November 24, 2018 through January 8, 2019.
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