Absorbing local arts

Aug 212002
Authors: Alicia Leonardi

The Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art provides Northern Colorado with a glance into the big city art scene.

“We are one of the few opportunities people here in Fort Collins have to see what is going on in contemporary art outside of the region.” Jeanne Shoaff, the museum’s executive director, said.

New York artist Susanna Starr’s “Super Saturation,” currently showing in the second floor Mezzanine Gallery at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, features large individual sponges covered with literally gallons of acrylic paint and shaped in unique ways that capture the eye and intrigue the mind.

“In many ways, the sponges are metaphors for what people go through over the course of a lifetime.” Shoaff said.

According to the literature accompanying the exhibit, Starr’s work interprets the process of absorption, saturation, integration and release. She uses various sponges as vehicles and a painting process that cannot be manipulated once the paint is poured onto the sponge or as it is being released from it.

CSU Art Major Ryan Putnam, 20, is absorbing the art surrounding him by completing his required community service hours by volunteering at the museum.

As he learned through helping set up the museums’ other exhibit, “Urbanity: Images of Architecture,” “Seeing the process in person makes me like (art) even more.”

Current curator of the Urbanity exhibit, CSU Art History Graduate Erica France, chose work she felt showcased the essence of positive urban living.

Individual pieces range from electric technological photographs to exacting geometrical glasswork to bright expanses paint on canvas.

Painters Mike Rollins and Karen McClanahan, photographer Jared David Paul Anderson, Melisssa Kretschner, fiber artist Jiseon Lee and installation artist Keiko Yamanouchi are featured.

Even though the works range dramatically in composition, “They are all somehow related to city living,” Shoaff said.

Museum guests can add to the diversity through creating their own artistic renderings of metropolitan life. The interactive “Hands On! In the Gallery” display, invites patrons to express their own memories of city life. Stocked with black and white tag board, colored pencils, scissors and cutout letters, the display seems an upscale version of elementary school craft time.

In addition to the interactive display, the museum encourages community participation through the “Outside Gallery,” an outdoor mural painted this summer by student artists.

Located in the Old Post Office Building, a historic landmark that has been restored and converted, the museum itself is as beautiful as the masterpieces it contains. A part of Fort Collins since 1911, this ornate structure provides a lovely contrast for the modern art found within its walls.

Admission is two dollars per person for access to all exhibits. Super Saturation runs until August 31 and Urbanity runs through September 6. The museum also offers on site workshop style art classes for around $100. For more information, contact the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, 201 South College (970) 482-2787 between the hours of 10am and 6pm.

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