For the ninth and final time, Sorrel Sky Gallery will welcome the changing of the seasons this weekend with its annual Spring Show. But far from a swan song, 6 Local Ladies marks the end of one chapter in the gallerys history and the beginning of the next.
Shanan Campbell Wells opened Sorrel Sky in April 2002 on the corner of Main Avenue and Ninth St. Next month, the gallery and Wells other business, SCW Art Consulting, will move into the building long occupied by Hogans clothing store at 828 Main Ave. But first, shell give six of her most popular local artists one more special night.
I like to do a spring show because even though we dont call it an anniversary, it feels like an anniversary show because its the same time of year that we opened the gallery, Wells said.
Featured in tonights show will be painters Cynthia DeBolt, Sharon Abshagen and Pat Howard; jewelers Carol Salomon and Lorraine Yapps Cohen and pine needle basket maker Mimi Bonkowske.
Its always a trick putting so many artists together for a single show, but because of their different mediums and styles, the ladies complement rather than compete with each others work.
The choice of such popular artists is a perfect choice for Durangos vernal shoulder season.
One of the thoughts every time is to do something big that in and of itself is going to be a nice draw, Wells said.
When its quieter on the streets, you have to make sure youre not relying on crowds, and these ladies have such a strong local following.
Abshagen and Howard have been with Wells almost since the beginning, and DeBolt came aboard last year.
Each painter incorporates local and regional influences in her work, but in very different ways. Abshagen prefers the realistic Plein Aire method in creating her oils while DeBolt opts for a style she calls reductive rather than purely abstract. Shes inspired by the natural wonders of the area, but the final product in her painting is a simplified and pared-down representation. As for Howard, her watercolors are bright and colorful with lots of detail and texture.
The jewelers arrived in Durango from afar but have settled in as established artists. Salomon comes from St. Louis and has a trove of beads she collected from her world travels, and Cohen is a New Jersey native with a technical and metallurgical background who has the know-how to experiment with different metals and stones that result in unique creations.
Colorado has brought a new vision to my designs because here we experience so much more of Earths geological splendors. Indigenous materials become wearable art, Cohen said.
If theres one artist whose work will never be mistaken for another, its Bonkowske. Largely self-taught in basketry, she uses local Ponderosa pine needles to create her baskets and adorns them with feathers, stone, wood, bone, beads and claws.
6 Local Ladies will remain on display until early May, as Wells plans to open in the new location May 12.