For Melissa Barbee and Scott Dye, Custom Framing isnt just a place of employment.
Tonight its an exhibit space, providing a venue for both artists to showcase their work in public for the first time. For two creatives whose styles couldnt be more different, the shop offers a unique opportunity to present what Barbee agrees will be a zero-pretention show.
An art graduate of Fort Lewis College and Colorado native, she uses every opportunity to try her hand at new art forms.
While people are looking for excuses not to make art, Im looking for excuses to, Barbee said.
Her work for this show is a mix of photography and trinket boxes, made from discarded pieces of frames from the shop. Following the increasingly popular trend of sustainable art, the boxes are delicately crafted from what would have gone in the garbage.
Barbees photos feature flowers from her garden and use filters to play with lighting and visual texture. After taking a class in Photoshop last year, she embarked on a new phase of photography, exploring fresh ways to highlight the bright pigments that inspire her work. Her excitement at using this new technology is apparent in the bold angles and bodacious colors that characterize her pieces.
Barbees striking airbrush work also will be on display. One image featuring a dragonfly looks real enough to buzz off the canvas. Be sure to note the frame, a metallic cornflower blue that matches the insects shiny wings.
Dye is the dark horse in this artistic pairing, and he has a few opinions about museums. Also an FLC graduate, he focused on Southwest Studies and worked in museum settings after college. But the idea of cultural items repurposed upon entry into exhibits left an unsatisfactory taste in his mouth and a hunger for something more.
That something has come to include photography and oil painting with a graphic-design twist.
I love animals ... but its also a color thing for me. A big theme of mine is use of color, Dye said.
While he and Barbee both enjoy strong pigment, Dyes colors leap into his black-dominant pieces in surprising places. One painting of a panda is transformed into a head trip of an image with a rainbow pinwheel in place of the creatures mouth. In That Was a Really Great Cigar, a pastel piece featuring stacked blocks of color and a tuft of black smoke, Dyes partiality to graphic design comes across.
When using this medium, Dye characterizes himself as a bit of a masochist.
I try to get fine lines using pastels, he said, which, he admits, is not an easy task. I like to torture myself.
Torture, it seems, is a theme that inspires Dye. His new, commission-based Black Dog project originated from the memory of an oppressive religious upbringing and the image of a benevolent-looking black dog that represents the devil. Each black dog is tailored to the interests of the buyer.
I have a friend who is into neuropsychology, so I created a black dog sitting in a chair hooked up to a biofeedback machine, he said.
With this daring, customizable image, the skys the limit.
It is a playful quality, whether in Barbees experimental filters or Dyes Black Dog, which provides common ground for the works in this show. With backing from the shops owner, Chris Frazee, and Amita Nathwani, an Ayurvedic practitioner with whom Dye also works, this exhibit is a true labor of belief.
Our art is kind of night and day, Barbee said, but its united by love of art.
Chelsea Terris is a freelance writer and social media specialist. Reach her at email@example.com.