Finding her niche

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Telluride gallery owner Mary Kemez opened Gallery 530 on Main Avenue this winter. “Big Bike Love,” her second exhibition, will open today

By Ted Holteen
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Mary Kenez, like most artists, is different. Visit Gallery 530, and you’ll see how different.

The unassuming building on Main Avenue is home to a lawyer’s office, a design firm and a handful of other small businesses. Kenez’s Durango gallery – she also owns Kamruz Gallery in Telluride – occupies the hallway downstairs that otherwise would serve no purpose other than to access Nini’s patio in the back.

We first met Kenez last year when she hung her “Plastography” display in the narrow space (Durango Herald, Dec. 16, 2011). “Big Bike Love” is an array of photos the cycling enthusiast has taken of eye-catching bicycles in unique and colorful settings in Durango and Telluride. She’s also displaying pieces by Durango artist Caitlin Connaughton and Manny Valenzuela, a painter and sculptor who recently moved here from Tucson. Both artists will attend today’s opening festivities.

“Manny’s just amazing, and I’ve been selling his work in Telluride for a few years,” Kemez said.

Also in the show are several bicycle paintings by filmmaker and artist Dieter Runge, who divides his time between Hawaii and Telluride.

The bulk of “Big Bike Love” is more than 20 of Kenez’s photos. She’s a dedicated cyclist, and every one of the photos was taken while she herself was riding in the towns and countrysides of the San Juan Mountains.

“I’ve got to live the life to train for the Iron Horse,” Kenez said, adding that she’s hoping for a personal-best time in the grueling road ride, which will run later this month.

The timing of the exhibit is no accident, but the challenge will be letting the thousands of cyclists know she’s here.

“It’s so little and hard to find,” Kenez said.

It’s worth hunting for. There’s not a lot to look at, but what’s there is fun. She still has many of her Plastography photos on display; add to that the new bicycle art, and with Valenzuela’s understated but sophisticated works, it’s much more than a hallway full of paintings.

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