Archive | 2009 Exhibitions

Emerging Artist Exhibition Series – January 2013

Since opening in 2007, Abecedarian Gallery has featured emerging artists work each January. Although the gallery’s ongoing commitment to working with emerging artists will continue, this is the last exhibit in the Emerging Artist exhibition series.

This January (January 4 through February 2) works of Andrea Crane, Janelle Anderson and Whitney Stephens will be on view. Although all three of the Denver area artists work with drawing, their works are stylistically and conceptually different. The exhibit overall is a rich and exciting presentation of contemporary drawing.

About the artists:

Andrea Crane received a teaching certificate in Art Education from Metropolitan State University in Denver and is now teaching at Graland Country Day School in Denver. She is a mixed media artist who uses a variety of techniques to create smaller scaled works of art that are typically inspired by personal events.

Scattered Photos is a series of mixed media collages Andrea began while thinking about the lifespan of old family photos. She finds that although some may find looking at photos redundant and boring, she never never tires of looking at a photo. The series is inspired by family photographs, but does not utilize photographic imagery. them new life. The images, that depict brothers and sisters as children, are re-worked and given new life.


Janelle W. Anderson earned her BFA in Painting from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2011. She is an associate member of Pirate: Contemporary Art and works at Studio 12 Gallery. Primarily drawn with graphite and colored pencil on mylar, Anderson’s work focuses on the human condition and the ephemeral. Her works are stark, yet often quiet and chilling, using mostly a monochromatic palate high in contrast.

Free/Fall is a series of drawings on mylar that combine images of multiple views of a subject layered on top of one another creating an abstracted, yet recognizable form. Placed against a backdrop of empty space, the figures hover in limbo amongst a haze of striations stretching to and from. The small scale of these works draws the viewer in close to reflect in a moment of stillness. Although there are no human figurative depictions in this series, Free/Fall references the ephemeral while drawing parallels to the human condition.


Whitney Stephens graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in 2012 with a BFA in Illustration & Fine Art. Her flat, often decorative style draws from her interest in folk & primitive art, but lends itself to more contemporary imagery & themes ranging from biology to fashion.

In this series of work Stephens utilized methods often used by Surrealists and Dadaists such as collage, photomontage, automatism, and games including ‘exquisite corpse’ to focus on design. The resulting pieces are patterned, decorative works intended for printing on fabric.

Celebrating National Poetry month with Jan Owen

CalmSoDeep detail1

Celebrating National Poetry Month by showcasing works at Abecedarian Gallery that present poetic form in an interactive format.

Maine artist and musician Jan Owen works with poetic form; combining words with her own sense of rhythm. Captivated by the gestures found in handwritten letters, she often works with texts written by others. More than marks made on specific surfaces, Owen’s work integrates surface with mark. To this end she often works on translucent materials that are layered, such as in Silence of the Night, Brush Palimpsest or Binary Code.

Jan Owen - Brush Palimpsest

Not only is the material used for these works translucent (Hollytek) it is lightweight and has an ephemeral quality. Whether hanging, as the scroll books do, or presented in bound book form, when these works are on display, the slightest breeze causes a lovely shift in the relationship of the uppermost layer to the partially obscured layers underneath.

Jan also integrates mark with surface by using materials woven back into the surface. For her series of hanging accordion books, she weaves with Tyvek to which she has hand-applied surface colors. Using other paste-paper techniques, this rich surface then holds the words of a variety of poets (one reason I am so taken with these works is that she uses words by poets I resonate with – Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, Rilke, John Muir, Thoreau and Whitman.) Rather than presenting one poets entire text, she often weaves and layers words from these different sources and presents a new way of interpreting her selections.

A stunning example of this weaving is evident in Sunflower

I love the gestural lines and pattern of hand lettered text which now faces the seductive, shiny beauty of technology. We trust binary code and the web for our communication and interaction with others. The poems included in this book remind us there are things we should do while we are young and not virtually.

Jan Owen - Sunflower, detail

Sunflower, So Calm So Deep and Each Day are hand lettered on paste paper with woven Tyvek; the form a hanging accordion fold book with case.

Each Day

Jan Owen - Each Day

When we’ve hardly begun summer, the days grow shorter. The poems selected for this hanging book are about words and writing in the darkness.

Silence of the Night uses several layers of white and black painted Hollytex to create a sense of layers of silence that Thoreau describes. It includes text by Thoreau, Neruda and Rilke.

Writing on translucent pages of Hollytex with brushes and pens allows a beautiful layers of marks and lines. The words seem permanent and fragile.

Jan Owen - Silence of the Night

Jan’s work was included in Hand Lettered, Transparent/Opaque, the Beautiful Book and will be featured in Transparent/Opaque 2 during summer of 2012. Her works are available at Abecedarian Gallery’s online shop.

The Beautiful Book – celebrating the allure of artists’ books


On a recent visit to Denver, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the Reading Room at Abecedarian Gallery. It’s a rare treat to be able to pick up an artist book, sit down at a table and slowly experience it. Most of our art viewing experiences remain in galleries and museums where one goes to mostly see art, but in Abecedarian’s Reading Room you can hold art. With some books you might need to ask for assistance, either due to their fragility or value, others you might need to wear gloves – but most of the books you can just sit with, personally and quietly. I didn’t have time to look at every book – the gallery’s Reading Room hosts both special exhibits and a collection of represented artists, but below are a few books which will stay with me for a long time. Heidi Zednik

Currently on display In the Reading Room: The Beautiful Book, an exhibition honoring the art and craft of the handmade book. This exhibition was originally curated by Laura Russell for 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon. This exquisite collection showcases the beauty in craftsmanship, materials, and imagery of the bookmaker’s art, each piece a reflection of the artist’s experience.

Several artists new to Abecedarian Gallery include photographer Vicki Topaz of San Francisco, California who explores the intrigue of the French “pigeonnier” – the survival of these “silent abandoned dwellings” has been compromised over the centuries, but Vicki has given them new life in her limited-edition book, Silent Nests.

With Silent Nests (Vicki Topaz) I returned to my childhood of living in rural Austria in the late 1960’s and 70’s. At that time, I had the chance to wander old castles and villas, climb around ruins and barns. So the images of these ancient pigeonniers held a familiar taste, one of dreams and lives nearly forgotten and obsolete, royal in monochromatic stillness, as if caught by chance. I turned each page slowly, eager to not want to rush the experience of seeing each new pigeonnier and then slowly come to rest. I leaned down closer to some images; as if I might be able to fall into this journey across France, fall beyond the picture. Heidi Zednik

Another exploration of wonder is manifest in two oversize works by Valerie Carrigan of North Adams, Massachusetts.


In a folio of lithographs she presents birds as messengers urging us to stop and pay attention to that which strikes the soul in a new and extraordinary way.

With Messenger, Valerie Carrigan, took me into a mythical and intimate family journey — one of signs and omens, death, love and continuation. A large book, I immediately knew this book would require my full attention. I cleared the table to give Messenger space. I initially found it open, “in display”. I wanted to start from the beginning, so I closed it. Black cloth cover. When I first opened it, I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I am not a printmaker, nor a book artist, so I was unsure whether the folded pages inside were to be lifted out, or folded back. I chose to lift them out. I first read the text printed on the outside of each folio – poems, parts of the story that ultimately become the book. I folded back the folio, and each time found a large lithographic image of a bird, intensely close up. The intensity of each bird’s gaze mirrored the impact of each omen on the family. And so I moved through the book, lifting out each folio as if it were its own small book. If you have the chance, grab this book. It holds an exquisite combination of rawness and tenderness. Heidi Zednik

Artist Kelly O’Brien of Alexandria, Virginia, offers TurningPointe, a miniature accordion book constructed of paper, tulle, thread, and pointe shoe ribbon. Proving that you cannot judge a book by its cover, TurningPointe transforms into a wearable, life-sized tutu.

Other artists new to Abecedarian Gallery include Marilyn Joyce, Portland, Oregon,


Marilyn Joyce’s Winter took me on a culmination of winter walks — stains and drawn lines marking steps and things noticed; the pages dry and smooth to the touch. The long horizontal format echoed space and openness. The pages curled on top of each other as I folded them from left to right; the sound of dry folding. No words accompanied this initial journey. Just like walking, it took place in silence. Then, finally, on the last page, a poem; which was just enough. A rich experience in simplicity. Heidi Zednik

Tom Biby & Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, San Francisco, CA/New York, NY, Dan Kirchhefer, Topeka, KS, Susan Lowdermilk, Eugene, Oregon, Nathan Lucas, Portland, Oregon, Mary V. Marsh, Oakland, California, Kitty Maryatt, Claremont, California, Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli, Irvine, California, Regula Russelle, St. Paul, Minnesota, Cathy Ryan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Moe Snyder, Portland, Oregon, Sandy Tilcock, Eugene, Oregon and Rob McDonald, Lexington, Virginia and Tom Lascell, Canton, New York.
The Beautiful Book also includes work by gallery favorites Alice Austin (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Alicia Bailey (Aurora, Colorado), Jana Sim (Chicago, Illinois), Roberta Lavadour (Portland, Oregon), Jenny Craig, (Portland, Oregon), Bea Nettles (Urbana, Illinois), the artistic team of John O Smith & Edwin Jager (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) and Jan Owen (Belfast, Maine).

Imagination Navigation

Seiler Dual Loyalties #6
The interplay between the physicality of an idea and the idea itself has long held fascination for visual artists and craftworkers. This is the primary starting point for the work in Imagination Navigation at Abecedarian Gallery.
Imagination Navigation takes its title from a monograph about and exhibition of Joseph Cornell’s work. It is a show of 22 works by United States and Canadian artists working in assemblage and collage. The works were selected by Denver artist and exhibitions preparator Dave Seiler (image left).

Francuz Paris_Papers_9

While far from definitive, the exhibition provides a good overview of current trends in small to medium scale mixed media artworks.

Included in the exhibition are paper works incorporating both cut and torn paper collages by Luis Frias Leal of Greensboro, North Carolina, Mara Rivet of Seattle, Washington, Marsha Balian of Oakland, California, Lili Francuz (image right) of Ft. Collins, Colorado and Robin Miller of Savannah, Georgia.

Szmagaj_Two Views

A more painterly approach and in this case less intimate approach to collage is represented by Ken Szmagaj of Harrisonburg, Virginia (image left) and Mercedez Nunez of.


Christine Drake (image above) of Lexington, Virginia uses a monotype as base for collage while Lori Reed of Galesburg, Illinois, Elizabeth Lasley of Asheville, North Carolina, Janice MacDonald of Denver, Colorado and Doug Stapleton of Chicago, Illinois build their collages up from rigid boards or canvas panels.

Rowswell_Rock show II_#3kflora1

The encaustic collage, a medium growing in popularity, is here represented by Kimberly Flora (image left) of Cincinnati, Ohio. While stitching appears as an element in several of the above mentioned works, only two of the artists in Imagination Navigation focus on fibers and thread, using them both as support and collage element: Nancy Turner from Ontario, Canada and Georgia Rowswell (image right) of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

onderdonk_0266_3While assemblage works are often sculptural for the most part the assemblage works in this show exhibit on the wall. These include pieces by Annie Onderonk (image left) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Caroline Waite of Louisville, Kentucky, June Daskalakis of Davis, California, Diane Lou of Willamina, Oregon, Pamela Milld of Lakewood, Colorado and John Ferdico (image right) of Oakland, California.


Surprisingly, only two works in the exhibit are viewed ‘in the round’ that of D. M. Suchoki of Scottsdale, Arizona and that of juror Dave Seiler.

click here to link to an online catalog of the exhibition


Denver artist & creative thinker Katie Taft has curated an exhibition for Abecedarian Gallery that focuses on one of her primary interests: stories about people. Taft invited 20 artists fro throughout the US to select and interview a person of their choice, perhaps famous, locally famous o not at all famous, a person known beforehand or not. The style of interview and the questions aske were left entirely up to the invited artists. The artists have made a creative representation of the information learned about that person. The exhibition includes a rich variety of media, styles and experience. In addition to the exhibition a publication including the interviews themselves will be produced and available.


Katie Taft is an original Denver Mastermind, well known not only for her photographyand sculpture, but also for Self-Made, a salon-style interview series formerly held once a week in downtown Denver from 2004-2006. Self-Made has morphed into Action Figures which continues in the style of Self-Made but with less frequency. She has been described as the Terri Gross of Denver.

Abecedarian Gallery has an ongoing commitment to book arts and also exhibits mixed
media work that connects somehow to any aspect of the book arts genre.

Included in the exhibition are
Adrianna Santiago, Denver, CO
Alicia Bailey, Aurora, CO
Alicia Griswold, Atlanta, GA
Amy LeePard, Northport, AL
Dawn Roe. Winterpark, FL
Don Frank, Portland, OR
Hamidah Glasgow, Longmont, CO
Jerry Allen Gilmore, Denver, CO
Julianna Dreistadt, Denver, CO
Kara Duncan, Denver, CO
Kirsten Vermulen, Denver, CO
Nathan Abels, Denver, CO
Richard Alden Peterson, Indian Hills, CO
Stephanie Wood, Denver, CO
Steven Daniel Karpik, Denver, CO
Steven Gordon, Denver, CO

Crime and Romance

Abecedarian Gallery is pleased to be exhibiting the work of Iowa artist Emily Martin in the Reading Room this fall.
Martin’s work will be on display September 5 – October 24


Martin uses a variety
of printing methods with her books including inkjet printing, letterpress, Xerox, color Xerox and
offset. Her books are in public and private collections throughout the United States and internationally,
including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery, London; The Museum
of Contemporary Art of Chicago; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Museum of Modern
Art, New York and others. 4.-It-Didn't-Just.jpg
She teaches at the University of Iowa Center for the Book and in workshops
around the country. This is her first solo exhibition in the Denver area.
At Abecedarian Martin is exhibiting work from an ongoing series begun in 1989. She
made a series of 26 image prints and 20 word panels loosely exploring the notions of crime and
romance. Some of the images were scenes of crimes and some were scenes of romance and some
what she calls the innocent bystander images.
5.-Cr&Ro-Diptych.jpgUsing the notion that adjacent word panels shade image
meanings, Martin has combined the images in various presentations including prints and artists
In 2007 Martin began a similar process, working this time with a set of images and words
as if she were casting a play. She came up with six separate figures, three pairs of figures and two
different versions each of four different room settings and one crime scene body outline. This series is called Clues but no Answers.
These characters and settings are layered on the prints in a variety of combinations.

Boxy Books

May 29 – July 3, 2009
In the reading room an exhibition of artists’ books that are either ‘boxy’ in demeaner or utilize the box as a conceptual and/or visual tool. Artists included are
Aimee Lee

The Walls Are No Longer a Defense

Alicia Bailey

Cosmeceutical Collection

Bonnie Thompson Norman

A Primer for Democracy

Carolyn Leigh

House of Cards

Ezma Hanschka

Famous Planes

Ginger Burrell


James Reid-Cunningham


Jana Sim

Hieroglyphic Characters

Jeanne Borofsky

Time and Space

Maryanne Riker

Leo's Working Dreams

Melissa Kaup-Augustine


Mia Semingson


Rhonda Miller

A box for Nick’s doodles

Roberta Lavadour

Lavadour That's the way I like it (today) a

Sabina Nies

Petal Fold Miniature Book

Stephanie Marinone

Stephanie Marinone - Woman's Herbal Kit

Sun Young Kang


Susan Collard

Book of Dreams

Susann Wilbur

Persistence of Myth #5

Tenille Shuster

Close To Tears

clicking on the image will take you to another site where you can peruse additional images of the books included in the exhibition with more details about the work.

Paper Narratives

Paper Narratives is a group invitational exhibition curated by Abecedarian Gallery director Alicia Bailey.

Although the work shares the common denominator of having paper as a primary material, the exhibition is intentionally diverse. Narrative indicates a story of some sort, and is generally used in the context of either a written or spoken account. Narrative as a conceptual device in visual work has as long a history as visual work itself, coming in and out of fashion as art ‘isms’ often do. As is Bailey’s curatorial preference is to include work by students/emerging artists, work by artists well established in their field and regions but under-exhibited in Denver and artists working in the Denver Metro area.

Abecedarian Gallery has a focus on book arts; this exhibition includes work by ten artists working in the book form.
Perhaps because of the intimacy and familiarity of the book form, book artists often present stories based on domestic life

Directionssuch as Andrew Huot‘s distillation of everyday situations into printed books bound using traditionally bound structures.

Black not BoiledKelly Nelson’s Black Not Boiled is a small tea-cup shaped book, printed on handmade and teabag paper based on her mother’s writings about tea.

How to Distinguish Scents

Alicia Griswold, a skilled writer works from the premise that everything, the whole universe, can be found in a garden.
or other artists in the exhibit the domestic realm includes exploration of relationships or stories about family such as


Becky Heimrun‘s handprinted books that include content about her husband and son and their environment,
Every Pot Has a Lid
Tom Virgin‘s “Every Pot Has A Lid” – a fable using household objects to express the complexity of relationships,

Zina Castanuela‘s oversize sculptural book Josephine uses the contrast of handmade paper from different plant fibers to tell a story about her grandmother.


Love SpellsHarold Lohner creates accordian books in which a series of related images, drawn from a collection of anonymous photos, are presented in a nonverbal narrative. As the narrative is not explicitly detailed, the bits of imagery and found text engage the viewer in assembling a story.

Story of Thousands of StarsSun Young Kang‘s books hint at universal experience through reflection of the personal, such as her Story of Thousands of Stars which tells a story combining the happiness and joy of meeting with the inevitable sorrow of farewell.


Reflections on the experiential is also fertile ground for book artists utilized by Lynn Sures‘ books Toscana, based on drawings done on site in rural Tuscany, and Variations based on Charles Mingus’s musical work, “Pithecanthropus erectus,”

Language BoundMary Ellen Long creates work that tells the story of the environments affect on materials. The stories are subtle and partially hidden inside rolled scrolls.

While personal narrative is often engaging and compelling, Bailey is here exercising her preference for work that transcends the personal yet stems from personal experience.

Grandma's Kansas JourneyLinking familiar tales to personal experience is one way this is achieved such as in the work of Brenda Jones, who creates aprons and garments from manipulated and stitched paper, using imagery familiar to all of us but chosen based on personal experiences. The pieces present generally familiar stories of a sort that remind viewers of stories in their own lives.

PuppeteersAnother artist very aware of the power of stories to link all that is personal to something more universal is Carrie Scanga, whose etchings invite viewers to engage both their memory and imaginations.

Brandon Sanderson bases his prints on the interaction of mechanical and organic parts within himself and in the world around him. He has created characters that are collages of personal symbolism, art historical imagery and mechanical metaphor.

Excursion II

Less invested in personal narrative are the works of Lauren Scanlon who retells stories found in common social narratives such as fairy tales and romance novels by piecing them together again in collages of paper, fabric and thread.

Blanket Line

A diaristic approach is one Karina Cutler-Lake employs as she organizes and packages everyday experiences into mixed-media paper panels.

Perimeter Study 4 Jen Urso is another artist dilineating minute by minute experiences, but she is using created experiences governed by pre-determined actions, such as walking a specific path in an area not perceived as particularly beautiful or noteworthy.

Andrea Peterson - Frog on PigSequencing and repitition are workable means of presenting narrative employed by artists creating wall works. Andrea Peterson‘s Pig series is a 51 pig installation of bright pink handmade paper pigs, each printed with a symbol that shows how almost everything can be traced back through the stomach of a pig. The installation is accompanied by wood-fired ceramic pics made by Andrea’s husband Jon Hook.

Thought Harbor

Working entirely outside the parameters of personal narrative are Lauren McCleary who uses the absence of humanity in her quietly elegant paper cutouts to tell tales of the world’s wonder.
WMFD'sAlso in the exhibit are woven paper pieces by M. Beneventi.
Continue Reading →

Denver Square

An exhibition featuring artists working in or near Denver who use the square format as a conceptual and visual tool. Denver Square is accompanied by Boxy Books in the Reading Room.

Artists included in the Denver Square are gallery director Alicia Bailey, here exhibiting mixed-media assemblage pieces from her Navigation Timeline series. Built in layers forward from figurative oil paintings, the pieces incorporate a blend of artifacts culled from Bailey’s collection of oddities, including items such as butterfly wings sandwiched between mica, snake skins, vials of pigment and ash, vintage and discarded maps, letters, prints, and glass lenses.

Anna Newell-Jones exhibits four small color photographs from the series Halfway Between Here and There. Newell-Jones is a Denver based photographer who quite often works in the square format, occasionally pairing square images for an overall rectangular shape based on square. For Newell, recording moments of interest is a form of study and examination. “I look for subtlety and a sort of quiet, says Newell of her compositional philosophy. I take pictures because I have a compulsive need to record. I photograph things that intuitively appeal to me… objects I want to look at longer, things I want to study. My photographs are a reaction to an exploratory process that investigates the interplay between colors and concepts, patterns and associations.”

Brianna Martray is a Denver painter who works with oil on wooden, boxlike forms. The cubes she has in Denver Square are free-standing and potentially functional as table bases. Brianna’s gestural swirls are applied by her gloved hands rather than brushes and have an energy that works particularly well ‘off the wall’. Of these pieces she says “On this particular project I was intrigued and ultimately satisfied by the tension and duality created between the swirls and circles of color vs. the perfect geometry inherent of the cube.” 

Daisy McConnell is a Colorado Springs artist trained as a printmaker who has moved into the painting realm by first mounting/collaging prints and drawings to wooden supports and painting over them with encaustic. Her subject matter ranges from organic body systems to feminine frippery, from domestic musings to animal mortality. Here she exhibits pieces from her Ornamental Organ series.

Gail Wagner is a Boulder based mixed media artist who has recently returned to painting. She states: “In my older fiber pieces (exhibited in the Interweavings show), I used forms inspired by plants and animals as a way of exploring contradictory views of nature coexisting in our culture. Another part of this exploration was through my construction process: crocheting, sewing, and weaving are activities that bring together separate components, in the act of creating a new whole. In my newer work, I continue the practice of linking seemingly disparate elements through painting. Flatness vs. space, spontaneity vs. control, whimsy vs. gloom, sophistication vs. naiveté—all these conflicting extremes are brought together in the new works. Though a different medium, hints of past materials persist: threads, yarns, and loops pervade the new work, linking past and present.”

Hamidah Glasgow – Richly beautiful, the photographs of Hamidah Glasgow in Denver Square are selections from her series Shadow World. Glasgow states “Shadow world is a body of work about what we leave behind. Even in the simplest landscape there is a human presence. Sometimes the traces are obvious and sometimes sometimes not. I am interested in traces of humanity that inhabit the seemingly empty landscape. . . Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell Tale Heart and Dante’s Inferno have in common an exploration of the inner workings of the mind. I am interested in exploring the emotions and thoughts that take hold of our imagination and begin to bend time as well as perception. How we experience the world on an experiential level as well as an emotional level is a theme that has captured my imagination and my creative need to explore.
Heather Doyle-Maier has pieces from her Wane series on display, along with brand new series. . . “As a form, I find the square to be irresistible and I am drawn to create square works again and again. Solid and uniform, squares provide for me a clearly-defined arena in which to explore line and texture, yet they are blessedly free from internal tension. Squares offer reliability and objectivity, not favoring one side or direction over another. Yet squares maintain a sense of themselves, not fading into the background but remaining present as a frame. In a square, I can create a visual language that has its own integrity, a world that is contained and held. The borders of a square are strong enough to contain anything that needs to happen within them. My love for squares and combinations of squares has grown out of admiring traditional quilts, in which geometric shapes are stitched together to form square blocks and the square blocks are then stitched together to make the quilt surface. The pattern of repeating squares that forms the quilt top serves to both comfort and organize, offering a respite from chaos and meaninglessness. In my work, repeating squares act to slow down sequences and to make visible small variations and slight shifts. Progressions of squares serve to regulate and, like the pages of a book, break down raw experience into uniform, manageable pieces.
Maura Gramzinski exhibits several handbags crafted from vintage slides, along with her brand new laptop bag. RedCamper handbags are built literally from memories. Comprised of authentic vintage travel and family images, permanently sealed in a sturdy vinyl with industrial modern touches of stainless steel and rubber, the handbag is both cutting edge and retro in a sweet fusion.  Its old school in a new way. RedCamper celebrates the human story, no matter your age, race, class or education.
American/human history has for too long been written by the TV networks, advertising blitzes and newspaper headlines. The real American history we all lived and loved is locked into mildewed boxes in attics, basements and closets seen only once, twice, maybe three times, and as time marches on these little relics often find themselves sitting on the curb waiting for the trash truck. The human story has become irrelevant in the face of history. It’s a tragedy to waste these decisive moments that were important enough to that person, in that time, to be worthy of encapsulation forever on film. These images are the authentic, pure, real, look into the life of a person living life and this average persons view of their world is as fascinating and telling as the most brilliant scholars thesis.

Mia Semingson is a photographer and artist living in Lafayette. She is exhibiting a piece created specifically for Denver Square. She also has two pieces in the Boxy Books show in the Reading Room.
gallagher_mars for blogTony Gallagher is exhibiting works from his series Anthropomorphize. With an SX-70 Polaroid SLR (single-lens reflex) camera in hand, Tony captured this series on Alterimage 600 pack film—now discontinued, but chosen for its color, grain and matte surface.

Words Works opens

Words Works / March 6  – April 18, 2009, at Abecedarian Gallery.

Denver area artists included in the exhibit are Gail Watson, Joan MacDonald, Katie Taft, Kirsten Vermulen, Kimberly MacArthur Graham, Lara Schenck, Mia Semingson and Rachel Hawthorn.
Also exhibiting are Evan Jensen (Annapolis, MD), Donna Price/Juliane Leitner (Asheville, NC/Altmuenster, Austria), Heidi Zednik, (Asheville, NC) Melissa Duckworth (Royal Oak, MI), Sue Anne Rische (Lubbock, TX) and Tate Foley (Athens, GA). Artists are listed here in first name alphabetical order. Images of all the works, as well as price details,  can be found at the Abecedarian Gallery Flickr site.

LifelinesDonna Price is an Asheville, NC based sculptor and Juliane Leitner is a ceramicist living and working in Altmünster, Austria. Price’s work was included in a three-person exhibit at Abecedarian Gallery last fall. Leitner has not previously exhibited in the US. They collaborated last month during Juliane’s month long visit to the States on Lifelines. About this piece they say: (Julia) In 2008 I started working with “Kluppen,” the Austrian dialect expression for wooden, hand-carved clothespins. The region I grew up in has a 450-year-old carving cottage industry; the “Kluppen” carvers were considered to be the lowest of the carvers, and so also the poorest.  In my 2008 installation, “Kluppenklang”, I elevated and honored “menial” employment, such as carving “Kluppen” (in the past) and assembly line work (in the present) to a higher level by recasting it in porcelain.

(Donna) ‘Lifeline’ rapidly evolved from the gift of 14 porcelain clothespins into collaboration with Julia Leitner.Our discussions resulted in images, ideas and associations of what a clothespin represents in society, past and present. Julia’s original project involving these porcelain clothespins had also explored similar phrases and associations from the Austrian perspective. An intensive German to English and English to German translating session resulted in the phrases on each ‘clothespin’.

The image of the clothespin, and how it relates to life-relationships, holds both negative and positive connotations. It literally becomes a lifeline of how we relate to one another as human beings…our needs, our desires, our fears and our exploitations.

evan jensenEvan Jensen is an illustrator, designer and printmaker living and working in Annapolis, MD. On exhibit are  intaglio prints incorporating both printed and handwritten text. This is the first Denver showing of his work.
Gail WatsonGail Watson is a letterpress printer and book artist. She maintains a studio and residence on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway near Rollinsville, CO. Her work is frequently included in group shows in the Denver Metro area. Last fall, during a residency at Platte Forum, Gail began a project casting letterpress wordforms in earthenware. Exhibited in Words Works are a continuation of that project.
zednikHeidi Zednik is an Asheville, NC based visual artist and writer. She is currently represented by Abecedarian Gallery and was the focus of a 3-person exhibit last year. Zednik has become increasingly interested in the actual process of each piece –  how to hold the essence of thought, line or color at its moment of creation. These pieces of pigment and thread on used chemex coffee filters heavily impregnated with beeswax initially appear minimal or fragile, yet in time reveal the strength of poetic practice. Her pieces in this exhibit are a continuation of a reoccuring theme – the tensions of growing up in two countries and were begun during 2005 visits to her home town of Altmuenster, Austria then finished this year.
macdonaldJoan MacDonald is a mixed media artist and long-time member of Edge Gallery in Denver. She lives and works in Pine, CO. Her work was included in Interweavings at Abecedarian Gallery last year. On exhibit are selections from First Draft: A life deconstructed through writing in the genre of the William Burroughs, Anais Nin and Andy Warhol diaries. “First Draft” was begun in September 1999 as an outlet for the thoughts that are continually flowing through one’s conscious and unconscious mind. Similar to Jonathan Borofsky’s “Thought Books” and his counting works, the words and thoughts that unceasingly flow are acknowledged and recorded. MacDonald has chosen to track the subconscious coming into consciousness onto paper. Thoughts, partial thoughts, memories, observations, reflections, dreams, events and automatic writing; the prosaic to the profound, are all woven together into over eighty word pictures. The words are written on Rives BFK paper in pen and India ink with an ink wash background.

Katie Taft is a Denver artist (currently a member of Sliding Door Gallery) best known for the sculptures she creates and places in a variety of circumstance and then photographs. For Words Works she has crocheted more words – her first crocheted words were exhibited in the Interweavings exhibit). Guilt, gilt, guild, geld and guile crotcheted from a linen rayon blend are gold in color and exhibited on a paper-cut backdrop. About words Katie says I used to be afraid to put words in my work, fearing that the visuals wouldn’t stand on their own, that if it needed explanation I hadn’t done it right. But these days words come much easier to me they not only convey information, literally, but also visually and materially. In this work the word is the art both in body and in spirit.
Katie  was taught to crochet by her grandmother in 1980. Katie can be commissioned to crochet other words.

grahamKimberly MacArthur Graham is a Denver painter regularly shown at both commercial galleries and art centers across the Western US. In 2004 she began a year-long collaboration with writer Kathryn T. S. Bass on the Within/Without series. "For a year, every few weeks I met with poet Kathryn T.S. Bass to exchange paintings and poems, reflect upon our experiences as artists and women, and share tea. I painted panels that responded to her poetry, and she wrote poems that responded to my paintings. Within/Without is the intertwined result of our conversation, which centered on issues of creativity, fertility, and feminism. Over the course of the project, we grew as artists and as friends." The four remaining panels available from this series are on exhibit.  Copies of the Within/Without catalog are also available.

Kirsten Vermulen is a Denver area musician and visual artist, currently working with Itchy-O. Her work was included in Transparent/Opaque at Abecedarian Gallery last spring. For Words Works she created a bird does not resemble an egg. Developed in response to a poem by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi, the panels reflect an indefinite middle, between beginning and end, idea and outcome, egg and bird and the relief found in soft deliberation.

schenckLara Schenck is a printmaking student at University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work has been shown locally at Inklounge and at Core. A triptych of drawings and wall mounted tri-fold book from her No Do I series.

Melissa Duckworth is an MFA candidate at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Her installation Love in Four Pieces was exhibited last year in the Denver metro area at both East End Applied Arts and Abecedarian’s Interweavings show. More selections from that series are included in Words Works.  The ability for readers to interact with a book in a meaningful way, and through that interaction to be engaged viscerally with the text is the main thrust of my work in the book arts. "Love in Four Pieces", explores the voyeurism and exhibitionism that has become so prevalent in youth culture today, as well as the exploitation which exists within even exclusive relationships. The work as a whole is nuanced in its redundancy, a reflection of the confessionalist poetry which was the inspiration for the book and installation.

semingsonMia Semingson teaches photography and book arts at University of Colorado, Boulder.. She shows regularly at Abecedarian Gallery, including the Sculptural Book show last year and most recently in Molten II –  Erotic Bookworks. Exhibited in Words Works is Self-Conscious My newest piece titled Self-Conscious consists of three identical looking books each approximately the size of an “A Format” paperback novel (4.33" x 7.01"). Inside the books house folded pages from one discarded mass-market romance novel.

hawthornRachel Hawthorn
is a Denver mixed media artist and is currently a member of Sliding Door Gallery. This will be her first time exhibiting at Abecedarian. On display are selections from the Family Secrets portfolio. Although photographically produced, the pieces are word rather than image based. 

These images represent a collection of family photographs as they might be displayed on a wall in the living room or hallway of a home, with generations of the family joining together in the display. Unlike the happy moments that are captured and displayed on a wall, however, these text based pieces represent the unspoken issues, thoughts, struggles and negative interactions of the family, the dirt secrets, hidden dramas and other things in the past that aren’t so picture perfect.

rischeSue Ann Rische of Lubbock, Texas teaches at Texas Tech University. Her studio work is primarily in metalsmithing and drawing. Her work was included in Transparent/Opaque at Abecedarian Gallery. in Words Works are exhibited sand-blasted teacups based on tea-reading ritual and a grouping of open-weave, crotcheted pillows stuffed with various religious texts.

Tate Foley is an MFA candidate in printmaking at University of Georgia in Athens. His work is numerous private collections and widely exhibited. This is the first showing of his work in Denver. Here are exhibited screenprints paired with found print in a series of diptychs. Text is ubiquitous. It is misspelled, perverted, and reused to reflect subliminal messages, hidden meanings, and subconscious thoughts. Read as headlines and advertisements, text works to sell not simply ideas, but new thoughts about ideas, beliefs, and modern concerns.

My work aims to thrust the viewer into divergent thinking and nostalgic recollection, while keeping the work lighthearted. I am interested in the use of narrative to convey memories about a person, and the play on narrative to create blithe situations for the viewer to relate and react to.