I say “pleasant surprise” because, I admit, having never been to Colorado Springs, I had let the mountain (pun intended) of what I didn’t know about the city coalesce into low expectations of a cowpoke town, where “fine art” was limited to coffee table books.
I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I am pleased to report that The Springs, as I heard some locals refer to it, is a vibrant and charming small city, nestled up against the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains.
The Fine Arts Center houses a wonderful permanent collection, ranging many periods and movements, but it was the current extensive exhibit of works by Boulder, Colorado mixed-media artist Terry Maker that just stunned me, my wife, and my son.
In order to do her work justice, the best way to describe Terry’s novel process, a process vaguely reminiscent of millefiori, is to quote her About page:
By utilizing resin, a material new to her process, and commonplace domestic objects, Maker composes and assembles elements including plates, straws, vinyl record shards, jawbreakers and more into large, resin-poured solid blocks. The artist then slices through the amply cured forms using an industrial band saw revealing her chosen cross-sections. The different and surprising views of the embedded objects sometimes identifiable, often not, present the viewer with a visual puzzle and further exploration of the artist’s unusual visual vocabulary symbolizing desire. With Maker’s process of cutting into the resulting block of amalgamated materials, she revitalizes the objects and reassigns new meaning. Revealed in the artist’s quest to investigate a new way of mark-making, “Slice” alludes to the cyclical human state of “wanting” desire exposing layers immediate and inaccessible and offering insights both visual and metaphoric.
The lede photo above is a detail of a larger piece, made of resin and magic markers, titled “Point”. Upon inspection, as you consider the information about the materials and the process, a gradual awareness emerges of just what it is you’re looking at. As much as, if not more than, any art I’ve seen over the years, Maker’s work compels you to view it from varying distances and angles, making the visit to the gallery a continuous exercise in curiosity and revelation.
Sadly, photos just can’t capture the totality of the Terry Maker experience, so if you ever get a chance to see her work in person I highly recommend that you jump at the opportunity. Otherwise, it will be at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center through June 3, 2012.
Here are some of my faves (Be sure to click on the images to enlarge!):