Sixty35’s March 2023 First Friday art walk was a frenetic 10-gallery adventure that would challenge any art lover’s stamina. Here are the wonders we experienced on this month’s trip down the rabbit hole…
Manitou Art Center | Pikes Peak Watercolor Society exhibition
513 Manitou Ave. Through April 1
Nearly 40 artists from the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society brought work to the MAC’s Hagnauer Gallery in celebration of their own longtime official and booster Reveille Kennedy. Her nature-themed paintings are filled with exquisite detail and observations of light. The Society’s sheer variety of paintings on display will stretch what you may think is possible with the medium. Highlights include Beth Gramith’s trippy “Psychedelic Moose,” Susan Marion’s haphazardly organized “White Chairs,” Carol Groesbeck’s cold mountain panorama in her “Off the Grid” and Laurel Bahe’s cynical owl in “Oh Really?”
Lightspeed Curations | Capturing Moments in Time by various artists
306 S. 25th St. Through March 31
Curator Jessica de la Luna called in six of her photographer friends for LightSpeed’s Capturing Moments show and they all brought the fire. Brian Tryon’s earnest snaps of American life in thick white mats worked alongside Mac Coplin’s kinetic jiujitsu scenes. Forrest Boutin’s local landscapes printed on metal served as great neighbors to Mathieu Burton’s hyper-saturated unicorn fantasies. Richard Lorenzen’s metal bicycle sculpture for the exhibit was reportedly very heavy while Aaron Graves’ high-contrast street noir pieces and Tony Graham’s quintet of BDSM portraits rounded out a captivating show.
The Bridge Gallery | Clay by various artists
218 W. Colorado Ave., #104 Through March
If you want to pack The Bridge Gallery full, invite a bunch of potters. Clay, their newest exhibition featuring venerable local legends like Mark Wong, Clyde Tullis and Rui Haagen among others — as well as the gallery’s own Michael Cellan — filled The Bridge’s space with ornate cups, vases and prints alongside standalone sculptures on pedestals. A highlight was a series of otherworldly gems in earthen bowls by Maxine and Don Green.
The Commons Gallery | Student Invitational by various artists
218 W. Colorado Ave. Through March
Next door in the Commons Gallery, Chris Alvarez of Alvarez Gallery & Art School, Yellow Couch Creative’s Jana Bussanich and Trevor Thomas have put on a show by their students and alumni. The paintings are a smorgasbord of styles and mediums brought to life by incredible talents, but favorites were Jessica Wheler’s pair of vibrant blue and pink water-stained abstracts and Marcia Sage’s kitty cat formed from a blind drawing exercise.
UCCS Downtown | Board Member Show by Pikes Peak Arts Council
102 S. Tejon St., #105-A Through March
The email invite was very specific that the Pikes Peak Arts Council’s new exhibit was not in UCCS’ GOCA space in Plaza of the Rockies, but across the street at their Downtown campus. Mistakes were still made. Venue weirdness aside, the works on display packed a punch. Jerry Rhodes’ intricately detailed vases with bonsai toppers required close inspection. Sam Ken’s “Pressure” paintings feature regular people pressed against what look like invisible panes of glass in what he calls “a physical manifestation of pressure in each of the subject’s lives.”
Gallery113 | Suzy McDowell and Jane Hammoud
125 N. Tejon St. Through March
Gallery113’s window displays teased this month’s pair of highlighted artists — the gallery’s own painter Suzy McDowell and potter Jane Hammoud — but the magic was really inside with more of their work, a smattering of artists, First Friday tourists and wine. Display setter Irv Middlemist was afraid that base green fabric made for an easy St. Patrick’s Day reference, but it worked well to highlight the duo’s work. McDowell’s abstracts and landscapes paired well with Hammoud’s practical and vegetation-inspired pottery.
Art 1eleven Gallery | Sparky LeBold
111 E. Bijou St. Through March 31
Sparky LeBold’s paintings of shores and horizons from his time in Portugal feel rich — practically luxurious. His compositions glow through incredible use of color and his frames are black, gold, or some combination thereof. But the scenes he’s prepared here, some in small scale, others blown up to fill massive canvases, rely on his imagination to fill in the details as he doesn’t use photo references. LeBold’s strokes don’t need to firmly define his scenes — his art gives you the tools to do it on your own. To see his waves crash against rugged shores and sunsets torching ribbons of cloud is to almost feel like you’re there.
G44 Gallery | Water Rites by Shannon Dunn
121 E. Boulder St. Through March
Going from Sparky LeBold’s shoreline-themed exhibition to another, Shannon Dunn has plenty of ideas about the sea to experiment with. Her work thrives in defined spaces with incredible details, like flawless air bubbles in her underwater scenes. But for Water Rites, Dunn also experiments with foam and resin to craft three-dimensional tableaux — as if she froze sections of an erupting shoreline and put a frame around them. In bigger foam displays, she even installed color-shifting LEDs to sell the emotion of a roaring sea while stalactite-esque sculptures hung from the ceiling.
Kreuser Gallery | Loom by Jess Ritter, Lathe by Jo Murto and I used to cover my mirrors by Sophia Hanna
125 E. Boulder St. Through March
Like a three-course dinner at the end of a great journey, Kreuser Gallery offered a feast for the eyes. Jess Ritter’s tapestries are complex, slowly made works that evoke ideas of folklore and Southwestern mesas. Jo Murto’s similarly complex wooden sculptures and playful works are a joy, requiring incredible amounts of precision crafting. In the main hall, Sophia Hanna’s extremely vulnerable self-exhibition shows a journey in and out of her own body dysphoria. She composites herself against herself, paints herself melting into a rug of her own creation and shows the world what she learned about herself in ways that are as clear as the transparent frames used for her most vulnerable poses.
The Garfield Gallery | Your Slip Is Showing by Jasmine Dillavou
322 E. Willamette Ave. Through March
As the night wound down, our final stop was Jasmine Dillavou’s Your Slip Is Showing at The Garfield Gallery. Like visiting a friend of a friend’s house on the quiet residential fringe of Downtown, the gallery’s basement setting, soothing magenta lights and E J R M’s ethereal guitar augmented Dillavou’s tale of being a young woman. The exhibit felt like the inside of a dream, a stream of consciousness punctuated by poetry and teenage ephemera in fragile displays of tossed-about papers. Explorations like hers pack an emotional wallop, bringing about the end of great tours with a new-to-you story to reflect on.