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DAC artists show off at annual exhibit
DAC Volunteer Sonya Johnson places a label underneath a painting titled “Sun-spotted Pots” by Lorraine Trenholm. In front is Mary Lou Murray’s “Cedar Hill View.”
“Toasterater II,” a woodcarving-mixed media-and-toast work by Dave Sipe, as seen Wednesday at the Durango Arts Center.

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DAC Volunteer Sonya Johnson places a label underneath a painting titled “Sun-spotted Pots” by Lorraine Trenholm. In front is Mary Lou Murray’s “Cedar Hill View.”
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“Toasterater II,” a woodcarving-mixed media-and-toast work by Dave Sipe, as seen Wednesday at the Durango Arts Center.
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Long shows ‘roots’ in latest installation

Few, if any, Durango artists put as much effort into their craft as Mary Ellen Long. That’s not a knock on Durango’s art community; it’s a testament to Long’s passion.
“I worked for a year on this,” Long said Wednesday while putting the finishing touches on “ROOTS,” her exhibit that opens tonight in the upstairs Art Library at the Durango Arts Center.
“ROOTS” premiered last fall at the Land Gallery in Albuquerque, and it’s a small miracle that the show travels so will considering the fragility and intricacy of the roots themselves. The DAC installation begins before you even enter the library, as the stairway and hall are adorned with the roots of trees and smaller plants. Once inside, “ROOTS” has a calming effect. For the exhibit Long created drawings and three-dimensional pieces, all portraying roots or incorporating actual roots. They’re displayed and/or adorned with some of Long’s signature accoutrements, namely the one-of-a-kind paper that she makes by hand.
Long got the inspiration for “ROOTS” nine years ago when her home was barely spared by the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire. Much of what was left in the area surrounding her home was just roots, and she started collecting them. Some she wrapped in the homemade paper and others were dipped in sumi ink.
“Then as I kept collecting them a lot of people began sending me roots,” she said.
Stare at something long enough and it begins to take on a different meaning, and so it was with Long’s fascination with roots. One facet of the installation is a wall she calls “Roots to Rivers,” which depicts aerial views of the Colorado, Nile and Rio Grande basins. Turn them around and they look remarkably like roots.
“I just began to see the rivers as roots. They absorb, store and feed just like roots, and they look like them, too,” Long said.
“ROOTS” will remain on display in the Art Library through April.
ted@durangoherald.com

If you go

The Durango Arts Center will host opening receptions from 5-7 p.m. today for the annual Member Artists exhibition in the Barbara Conrad Gallery and for “ROOTS,” an installation by Mary Ellen Long in the upstairs Art Library. Both exhibits are free and open to the public. For more information, call 259-2606.

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