Slopes, Shapes, and Landscapes focuses on the use of line and pattern to represent the landscape. Shannon Conley, Vicki Conley, Topher Straus, and Alicia Thompson each interpret the land in their own way and medium. With dye sublimation on aluminum, fiber art, and painting, these artists reinvent their surrounding landscapes into works of art. From the sharp lines of a mountain piercing the horizon, to the steady flow of a babbling brook, these artists reinvent the world around them.
In these works, there is a strong sense of place, and of home. While not all the artists currently reside in Colorado, they do have connections to and admiration for the Rocky Mountains. The works exhibited contain divergent styles but inspirations and themes and are a joyous expression of the beauty and emotion they find in exploring the Mountain West.
Shannon is an art quilter and fiber artist in Moore, Oklahoma, whose work is informed by her experience as a biologist. She runs a biomedical research lab at a large university and ideas in her pieces often arise from scientific research. She has used art quilts and fiber art as her primary medium since 2009, and much of her recent work focuses on interpreting the diversity and interconnectedness of various ecosystems. She grew up in southern New Mexico, and retains a strong connection to the dry mountains and high desert, which frequently appear in her ecology and nature-inspired pieces. Though her practice originates with traditional techniques, these approaches are expanded to include the use of non-traditional fibers and materials.
Vicki has been a professional artist working in ceramics for 42 years and owns a gallery, Pinon Pottery, in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. In 2003 she discovered quilting and quickly began using fiber as an art medium. She is drawn to the process of art and has always enjoyed mixed media; calling on ceramics, printmaking, photography and fiber to convey her ideas. Her work is an expression of the natural world she sees around her. When she encounters a compelling landscape or subject, her goal is not to replicate it, but rather interpret it in such a way that her emotional connection to it is evident to the viewer.
Born in Colorado in 1974, Topher descends from Western pioneer roots with a deep commitment to the arts. He graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Film Art. After investing a decade in Hollywood, following a move to New Zealand, and the addition of a son to a growing family, Topher returned to Colorado to focus on his transformative view of the world. While honing a newfound painting technique via digital tools, he discovered the process of sublimation whereby images are affixed to a metal surface. At home near Denver, Straus’s mountainside studio embraces the very wilderness he craves. Looking ahead, he intends to complete images of all the U.S. National Parks, as well as explore the stunning drama of the West’s varied mountain ski slopes. He is committed to creating up to three new pieces a month; a singular original and 25 limited editions. When these sell out, the edition is closed.
Growing up in the foothills, Alicia spent many hours observing, drawing, photographing, and painting various facets of Colorado’s beauty. She continually attempts to recreate, emphasize, or reinvent the unique lighting and textures in the landscape. She finds solace in nature, especially the river, and seeks it in times of trouble. This connection was critical for her emotional healing after a tragic personal loss in 2010. For days and weeks afterward she sat by the Poudre River and drew for hours. The beauty of the chosen subject matter symbolizes a great deal to Alicia; the passing of time, both stability and change, the capacity to love and forgive in the midst of chaos, but above all – hope. There is a healing, centering, and grounding quality that spending time outdoors gives her and she strives to relay that in her work.
Photo credit (left to right): Golden Canyon by Vicki Conley Sky Pond by Alicia Thompson Blue Colorado by Topher Straus