Now that’s a working artist

Rory Chapman/Special to the Herald

Maureen May rolls ink earlier this month while working on “Cinnamon Teal,” her entry in Studio &’s “Previously Entitled” show. It was one of five events in about a month for which May created new work.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

To know Maureen May is to love her, and there are plenty of chances to get to know her this month.

“I have a bad habit of saying ‘yes,’” May said of her recent flurry of artistic output.

It started earlier this month when May submitted a piece for Mara LaGrand’s fundraiser for the film “Wild Horses in Winds of Change.” Next was her three-dimensional funhouse of a creation, “Cinnamon Teal,” for Studio &’s “Previously Entitled” show last weekend.

On Thursday, she’ll open a solo show at Rochester Hotel, “Chromatic Delation,” which is a day before Four Corners Commission opens at the Durango Arts Center. She has a piece in that, too.

Then she will begin immediately on her piece for KDUR’s annual Furniture as Art auction, which will be held March 22.

“I’ve been going nonstop for a couple of months, and I think I’ll take a little break (after Furniture as Art) because I’ve been ignoring my husband,” she said.

But one thing at a time. “Chromatic Delation” has been her primary focus and will include 28 new and previously shown pieces.

Her medium of choice – for now, anyway, as she’s never met one she didn’t like – is the reductive ink monoprints she learned in the Pagosa Springs studio of Michael Coffee.

The owner of Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts invented the process to which May is now a devotee.

“I hope people will be drawn to the color,” May said.

The title itself is a creation. May puts much thought into her titles, which are often inspired by flipping through a dictionary. So “Chromatic Delation” is essentially an indictment of color.

“People know me for my use of color – guilty – and I love color and how it plays with other colors, and most of these pieces are based on how colors interact and how they sit against each other,” she said.

Coffee’s pressless monoprint process is tooled for May’s devotion. In her version of the process, oil paints are applied to a piece of plexiglass, and then paper is laid over the glass. She blocks off some parts of the paper to allow for collage effect as the paint is applied in layers.

“I’ve been doing monoprints for 30 years using different techniques. But his comes with a twist: It’s very creative and gives you a million options. I just love it,” she said.

The prefix in monoprint is what sets them apart from prints. As the name suggests, each print is unique and not a mass reproduction of an original.

For those who haven’t seen the changes at the artist-friendly Rochester, Thursday’s opening will be a pleasant surprise.

Owners Kirk Komick and Diane Wildfang have renovated the space to include a bar and a cable hanging system that allows for quick switch-outs every month with a gallery-quality layout.

“They’re so giving to the local art community, and they repainted, too, so you’re not competing with the wallpaper. I love the space,” May said.

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