Music in the Mountains celebrates the future

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Arts & Entertainment

Music in the Mountains celebrates the future

Yeon Min Park
Dreher returns as festival artist

Albert Dreher’s 15 minutes of fame is up to a full half hour.
The Tucson artist was picked to be the Music in the Mountains featured artist in 2006, and he invoked Andy Warhol’s famous quote to describe the experience. So when Durango’s Clark family of Toh-Atin Gallery fame chose him again this year, he knew what he was getting into.
“(In 2006) I donated a painting, let it go and drove to town,” Dreher said. “When I got here it was Albert Dreher art everywhere – coffee mugs, CDs, hotel rooms and posters – it was overwhelming. So, yes, I was happy to do it again this year.”
Unique is one of the most overused of words when it comes to describing an artist’s style, but in Dreher’s case there’s no debate. His images are typically Southwestern, depicting pueblos, kivas and other ancestral Puebloan ruins, including the festival’s program cover painting, “Music Majesty.” But it’s his method and materials that set him apart from other painters of the region.
“I invented the paper I use, and no one else has it,” Dreher said.
Dreher paints with an effect called an oil wash; he mixes oil paint with lighter fluid, but there was never a paper available that had the absorption properties to create the effect he wanted. So he commissioned a manufacturer to produce a paper that’s 50 percent cotton and 50 percent plastic. That was 30 years ago, and he was required to buy the entire run, which filled a train boxcar. He still has plenty left and keeps the remaining stock in a Denver warehouse.
“A lot of young artists ask me where they can get the paper I use and I tell them they can’t,” Dreher said.
The original of “Music Majesty,” which features the Music in the Mountains orchestra projected against a backdrop of Mesa Verde dwellings, was auctioned Wednesday at the Pops Night benefit. But the painting inspired Dreher to create a six-painting series he titled “Spirit.” Each painting incorporates his signature ancestral Puebloan-inspired scenes with a twist; somewhere in each painting is a “ghost” or spirit image, be it a Gila monster, Ghost dancer, shaman or even the moon. They’re not hidden, but neither are the images overt.
“They’re not meant to be a distraction, but rather a finish to the story I want to tell,” he said.
ted@durangoherald.com

This week at Music in the Mountains

For tickets and information, visit www.musicinthemountains.com or call 385-6820.
Today: Conservatory Gala, Arkady Fomin and Gary Needham, conductors; 7:30 p.m., Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, $10-$18.
Saturday: “Russian Rhapsody,” Festival Orchestra, 5 p.m., Festival Tent at Durango Mountain Resort, $20-$49.
Sunday: “Symphonic Sights & Sounds,” Festival Orchestra, 5 p.m., Community Concert Hall, $20-$55.
Monday: “Next Generation IV,” Conservatory Young Artists, 7:30 p.m., Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College, $10-$18.

Music in the Mountains celebrates the future

Yeon Min Park
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