An extravaganza with an edge

Britt Gordon to open show at Lost Dog tonight

Britt Gordon’s Lost Dog Art Spectacle, including this piece, “Angel A,” will open tonight at the Main Avenue establishment. Enlarge photo

DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald

Britt Gordon’s Lost Dog Art Spectacle, including this piece, “Angel A,” will open tonight at the Main Avenue establishment.

Britt Gordon’s Art Spectacle at The Lost Dog Bar & Lounge is like “Sealed,” her featured painting of a peppermint candy: spicy and satisfying.

This self-proclaimed lover of old photos and a multilayered painting style is both a gracious and hip gal-next-door and a serene goddess of the brush. Her studio space is nestled in the penthouse corner of the spacious SkyRidge apartment that she shares with her boyfriend. It thrives as a healthy chaos of brushes, stacked canvases, bottles of paint and, most vital, works in progress.

A transplant from Ohio, Gordon earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts in painting at East Carolina University and then settled in Durango. When she isn’t making art, Gordon shares her high-five-worthy approachableness with local students as a substitute teacher and patrons at Francisco’s Restaurant y Cantina as a server.

She has exhibited in North Carolina and currently has five skate decks on display at The Summit, as well as a mural featured at Yoga Durango’s Main Avenue location. However, tonight’s opening is her most revealing showcase yet.

Gordon’s paintings evoke sudden meditation. The women featured in these pieces appear frozen in time. Theirs are not private moments, but public experiences, unhidden but often overlooked. She uses negative space to set off her subjects in “Don’t Burst My Bubble,” in which a young woman blows bubblegum in profile, and the companion piece, “Don’t Make Me Look,” in which a similar female covers her eyes with her forearm. These women stand alone, steeped in their own thoughts, doing what comes naturally.

Gordon draws inspiration from saved pictures of her mother, who modeled in the 1970s, as well as photos of good friends from college.

“I always paint my mom,” Gordon said, inspired by the vintage look of the photos and a close relationship with her parent. Her striking blend work weaves oils, acrylics and watercolors with hidden words in a medley of color and symbol. However, aesthetics are just one component of her creative impulse.

“A lot of (my paintings) are really powerful, and have tons of meaning. Some of them are healing paintings,” she said.

This healing often is directed toward family members overcoming illness or injury. One painting in particular, “Put You Back Together,” features her mother and symbolizes the path toward wholeness.

What we get with Gordon’s latest collection is a smorgasbord of fine art and pop play, mystical musings alchemized with fragments of the everyday.

Of her process, she says, “I’m a night owl, more alert at night.”

A week before the show, many of the works were still in progress, due to be finished by the installation Thursday. Asked about her artistic guilty pleasure, she replied “skate decks” and showed a nearly finished piece, decorated with a cartoonish octopus and acrylic transfer of a darkly tanned child. The free-flowing, quick nature of painting a board allows her to follow her painterly impulses, no holds barred. With many friends who skate and give her cast-off boards, she has no lack of canvases.

The Britt Gordon Art Spectacular at the Lost Dog epitomizes the influence of music on fine art, a connection she knows well. She painted “Put You Back Together” while listening to “Sleeping Beauty” by A Perfect Circle.

Her boyfriend is a sound mixer and DJ, and the two often explore their separate art forms together, creating a haven of music and color that inspires them both. It is fitting that Brian Ess and DJ Niko will be spinning tonight as the crowd pours in to experience Gordon’s sliver-of-life masterpieces.

Chelsea Terris is a freelance writer and social-media specialist. Reach her at chelseaterrisrose@hotmail.com.