Art springs eternal

Courtesy of Toh-Atin Gallery

Stanton Englehart’s “Light Mt. Ellsworth” is one of the large number of the late artist’s mixed media pieces that will be on display at Toh-Atin Gallery for the First Thursday art walk.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

Even artists get cabin fever. Although the monthly downtown First Thursday art walks continued throughout winter, artists and patrons can be forgiven if the frigid temperatures at times dissuaded nonessential walking, art-driven or otherwise.

But now the days are longer, the sun is warmer and Thursday’s forecast is for another beautiful spring day, perfect to stroll downtown and see what the creative types have been working on all winter.

Sorrel Sky Gallery is a great starting point for First Thursday, and not just because owner Shanan Campbell Wells was the driving force behind its inception two years ago. The gallery represents about 70 artists, so there’s always plenty to showcase for the monthly events. This time, it’s New Mexico artist Star Liana York, a skilled bronze artist who chooses wildlife for her subjects.

“She translates her personality onto the animals she loves,” said Sorrel Sky marketing coordinator Margaret Hedderman of York’s work.

Also displaying new work Thursday at Sorrel Sky will be painters Cynthia DeBolt and Jim Bagley, photographer Tony Newlin and others. The gallery also will host a workshop this weekend with Mimi Bonkowske, who will teach the art of pine-needle basketmaking.

At Toh-Atin Gallery, owner Jackson Clark will display a collection of smaller mixed media by his late friend, Stanton Englehart. The artist was best known for his enormous abstract landscapes, but Clark will show some of Englehart’s lesser-known, and seldom seen, projects.

“Many people are familiar with Stanton’s larger and dynamic oil canvas paintings, but have never seen a large selection of his mixed media works,” Clark said. “These pieces are all landscapes of the Four Corners area and are done with a combination of water color, pencil, ink, pastels and ‘some secret ingredients,’ as Stanton used to say. I think that some of his most subtle and detailed work was painted in this media, and he always enjoyed being able to create a large feel in a small space.”

Durango Arts Center is a regular stop and its latest exhibit, “Masks: Creating Identity” will be the center’s offering for First Thursday. (A full review of the exhibit will appear in Friday’s Durango Herald.) Upstairs in the Art Library, John Brandi and Tom Leech’s exhibit of haiga works – a fusion of poetry and printmaking – is well worth the climb to the second floor.

Representing Durango Arts Center off-campus are the DAC Docents, a group of a dozen volunteers. For most of the year, the docents give free tours of the current exhibits on display at the arts center and help coordinate the Art in School program for elementary school students.

Turns out, they’re also artists in their own right, and the docents’ work currently adorns the walls of ENO. The wine bar on Second Avenue will host a reception for the docents during First Thursday, and the exhibit will remain on display until early May.

The perfect ending point will be the Lost Dog Bar & Lounge, the northernmost of April’s First Thursday venues. The eatery features a different artist each month for The Lost Dog Art Spectacle, but this month’s show is a bit more spectacular, for better or worse.

Meredith Rose’s exhibit of nudes may be the first such display to grace the walls of a downtown restaurant since the Old Muldoon made way for a candy store.

Unclothed subjects are nothing new in the art world, but the local art community will keep a close eye on Rose’s show to gauge how the public responds.

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