August 2020

When we talk about color in art, we allude to particular movements or styles, and our impression of its use in fine art provides an often implied, sometimes explicit relationship to a movement or period. This exhibit examines a contemporary use of color in various mediums, presenting work that embraces color as crucial and expressive – not an accent or an aside but a main focus. By bringing together artists working with diverse ideas and goals, we encourage the audience to examine color in contemporary art and everyday life.

Textiles are a powerful medium — their association with the body and garments evokes tactile memories. Using weaving, Steven Frost combines traditional materials like yarn and cotton with non-traditional weaving materials from a range of sources, exploring the ways history and time are embedded in materials. His materials evoke specific narratives and stories, referencing aspects of the artist’s personal and family history, the history of the LGBTQ rights movement, and the recent Women’s Marches, among other topics.
In workshops and interactive performance events, the artist invites participants to weave, using laser-cut versions of a traditional backstrap loom. By bringing together groups to weave collectively, Frost explores the ways weaving can act as a metaphor for communities working together.
Risa Friedman
Risa’s work celebrates the beauty of the city, through a focus on urban details and blocks of color. In addition to making photo prints and books, Risa incorporates her photos into collage art and paper sculpture. Her photos also feature prominently in the street art and indoor installations of “We Were Wild,” her ongoing art collaboration with artist, Meredith Feniak. Risa grew up in suburban New York, but draws most of her inspiration from her time spent living in
cities and watching them change—New York, Brighton (UK), Quito (Ecuador) and currently Denver. Her background and career in the social sciences (sociology and public health) also inform her approach to art. One of her favorite parts of her process is people: she loves collaborating with other artists and meeting those who live and work in the spaces she photographs. Risa lives with three dudes and 47 plants.
“I am a collector and organizer. As a child, I spent hours creating little piles of doll clothes and shoes, always organized by color. Color remains a favorite organizational tool. In my current house, buttons separated by color into glass jars line the top of my bookcase which displays color progressions created with my books.
When I started making photos regularly, my camera changed the way I see – I noticed small shifts in light and shadow that I would have missed before. Now my old way of seeing (collecting blocks of color) and my new way (observing light and shadows) come together as a large part of my artistic process.”
Charis Fleshner
Charis Fleshner is a Colorado-based conceptual artist. She likes to play with the idea of making art that begs to be viewed from multiple angles, inviting viewers to participate with the work by moving their bodies to fully view it. As a feminist, she views joy as a revolutionary act and hopes her work reflects this. The words of Audre Lorde never cease to speak to her studio practice as well as her work teaching art. “There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.” (Audre Lorde) In addition to creating her own work, Charis teaches art at a middle school and gender studies at Front Range Community College.
“These soft sculptures all started with shadows. The combined forces of natural shapes, high altitude, and bright afternoon sun create the most amazing abstract shadows. A few years ago, I began treating these shadows as touch stones, mesmerized by their beauty everywhere. But I wanted to embrace them, make them come to life, and share the joy I found in them with others. The idea of turning them into soft sculptures was born. The colors I chose to create with seek to express the life, joy, and vibrancy I felt when emotionally con necting with the shadows. It might be surprising to some that my color palette is inspired by nature, but I see every color in nature, especially the bright or unusual hues. The playful textures reference frosting (in fact it is paint squeezed through cake decorating tips!) and hopefully draw viewers into the pieces themselves even further.”
Alex Petersen
“Color in my work is defined by bright, flashy, fantastical colors reinforced with heavy graphic line work. Reminiscent of late 1990’s consumerist culture, the color references and holds the conceptual weight of over-consumption and extreme individualistic marketing strategies. In this way, it forms a narrative with both identity and ecology; two prevalent themes in my work. By rendering natural spaces in non-local colors, flora and fauna become distorted, exaggerated and animated, reevaluating the fragile balance of human culture and ecology while simultaneously pushing environmental representational artwork into an unexpected new territory. Through this lens, the viewer is allowed a space to reflect on their own relationship to natural spaces, the environment, and consumption.”
Igniting conversations between sex and gender, nature and technology, the contemporary and tomorrow, alex m. petersen renders a fine line between the humorous and erotic. Speculation and science fiction drive his work, carefully leading those who engage with it into complex and playful posthuman narratives. His Queer identity plays into his art in a way that is personal and unique, moving away from recognizable, and socially solidified LGBT representations, towards a plethora of all-inclusive and imaginative possibilities.
Imagery of the natural world, rendered in fantastically unrealistic color, consumer waste, detailed in its tragic exactitude, and sexually progressive trans-human protagonists cheerfully invite the viewer to suspend expectations, question mediated forms of representation, and come along for a surprisingly pleasurable ride.