California minimalist artist displays Oehme Graphics prints at Steamboat’s Depot Art Center |

California minimalist artist displays Oehme Graphics prints at Steamboat’s Depot Art Center

Nicole Inglis

— Among her stark whites, soft grays and profound blacks, artist Patsy Krebs introduced a piece of art that does not belong to her.

Sonnet No. 65 by William Shakespeare simply speaks to her, she said, especially the last line: "That in black ink my love may still shine bright.”

Shakespeare's words did outlast and so can art.

"I think not only is it true for words, but it's true for etching, and in a way, it's just true about art making," Krebs said. "I really do feel things that are beautiful have a way of staying, somehow, in the human psyche."

Typically a painter working in watercolor and acrylic, California–based minimal abstract artist Krebs has twice collaborated with Steamboat-based printmaker Sue Oehme. In spring 2011, Krebs and Oehme create a series of aquatint prints depicting variations on a simple geometric theme.

Park Myers, Steamboat Springs Arts Council artistic director, has taken the works and curated an exhibit that opens Thursday at the Depot Art Center.

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The show is entitled "Fugue," after a musical composition that also is characterized by variations on a single theme, and it opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Also opening at the same time in the small works gallery of the Depot is a new realm of work from local abstract artist Jan Maret Willman in a show titled "Elements of Force: Fire – Water – Wind – Earth."

Krebs' collaboration with Oehme utilized the process of aquatinting, in which a design is etched into a copper plate then inked and run through a press.

The pair began with plates comprising designs of various types of squares and circles and then layered and rearranged them.

"I think I really loved this idea of having a set of visual elements and arranging and rearranging them until something comes to life," Krebs said.

It was the intricate process combined with a sensitivity to the ethereal nature of Krebs' work that sparked Myers to take on the show as a Steamboat Springs Arts Council presentation.

"They are so minimal yet so powerful in their presence," Myers said. "The use of black can appear very bold, but it comes off incredibly intimate."

Myers created custom exhibition tables that display some of the works horizontally at hip-height through glass-topped display cases. In addition to the carefully curated show, the Arts Council will be producing its first catalog of the show due out in early March, Myers said.

In contrast to Krebs' calculated, minimal prints, Willman has been exploring a more internal, wild side of her broad and colorful works on canvas.

"What's happened is I've gone back to working from my heart and my deep philosophies on life," she said.

She said the new works stem from the inner forces of fire, earth, wind and water — the building blocks of consciousness.

At first, when she began to explore these concepts in her artwork, she explored each force individually. But she found through experimentation where her heart led her, and it was mostly toward fire and water, which represent spirit, strength, femininity and fluidity.

"There were some that clicked," she said. "I very quickly found the place I want to move forward with."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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