“The Show Must Go On,” the painting is titled.
An oil-on-canvas by Kirsten Anderson, the work is reproduced in the Telluride Gallery Guide for Summer/Fall 2021. It evokes downtown in late summer: brilliant flowers in the foreground, a dusting of snow on the high peaks at the rear, and at the center of it all, a banner emblazoned with the word SHOW, strung high across main street.
“Show” most famously symbolizes the Telluride Film Festival, which returned to town over Labor Day weekend after taking a break in 2020.
The film fest is over for this year, but from a broader perspective, the show is not over, though all the cars and clinking wine glasses and blues bands have at last left town. A last celebration remains: ArtWalk, from 5-8 p.m. Thursday night. The monthly event (just look for the flags outside participating venues) highlights fresh exhibits and new artists. Among the highlights of this month’s event is “Local’s Loop,” an annual display — one of the most popular of the year at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art — featuring artists who live, and create, in the box canyon. Here, the exhibit highlights the pieces by three artists, native Coloradoan Gordon Brown, who grew up near the Grand Mesa and whose pieces “romanticize atmospheric elements” (such as dawn, storms, and fog); Bruce Gomez, who seeks “to capture that one unique and spectacular moment of life,” from rural settings to cities, and the high mountains to the desert through pastels; and plein air painter Julee Hutchinson, who resides in Telluride and is inspired by the San Juans.
Also on view at the Gallery are works by a trio of photographers, including veteran photographer Bill Elzey, whose wide-ranging images reflect not only his original love of the West but far-flung travel (to Australia, Egypt, and Central America). Carl Marcus’ scrupulously observed photos reflect tremendous patience: Like Elzey, Marcus also ranges widely, though on foot in the San Juans (rather than by airplane across oceans). His images — from breathtaking and grand to intimate — feel utterly natural, because he’s had the patience to point his camera and wait for the perfect moment. Also on view are photos by Brett Schreckengost, official filmmaker and photographer for the Telluride Ski Resort, who seeks to capture “the risk-taking spirit of the San Juans.”
Numerous other galleries and venues will fling open their doors from 5-8 p.m. Thursday (for a preview, visit telluridearts.org). Telluride Arts will offer its latest iteration in a string of revolving exhibits devoted to the body and figurative art, titled “The Body Electric.” Tomorrow in the Transfer Warehouse, the Body Electric is a multimedia work by artist Luma Jasim — “acrylic, ink, charcoal (and) tar, transferred on canvas, and a stop-motion animation projected onto one painting.”
Though she lives and works in the U.S., Jasim was born in Iraq. “A major concept” of her piece at the Transfer Warehouse “is the relation with home,” she has explained, “where someone was born and raised, the choices of leaving, and the consequences of staying. The project examines the idea of displacement, immigration, the experience of refugees, and all the weight these things carry.”
We have strayed very far from luminous flowers and a sprightly “SHOW” banner that characterized Kirsten Anderson’s gallery guide painting, here in the open-air Warehouse on a chill October night. The setting suits the mood: Jasim’s choice of subject matter is dark and uncomfortable.
“As immigrants,” Jasim has written, “we carry with us history, and we strive to keep some values, but we also have to be part of the present and accept and adopt new values.”
So, too, does Telluride ArtWalk accept and adopt new artists and works, and present familiar artists in fresh ways. The show returns in December. After all, it must go on.