Chase, art school team up for show

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— A one-night show this weekend will present a local interpretation of an interesting medium of art.

The show, titled "Transitions," exhibits at least 18 pieces of mixed-media art on canvass. The pieces were created by members of the Mixed Media Painting School of Steamboat Springs, which is teaming up with Chase Oriental Rug Co. to present the exhibition at the company's showroom.

"We think it will be quite a unique show with the beautiful rugs," Suzy Holloran said.

Holloran is the president of the Mixed Media Painting School. She explained the group puts together an exhibit each year that is shown multiple times.

"It's a beginning of a series of three shows," Holloran said.

This year, "Transitions" opens to the public Saturday for a one-night showing. Then in the spring, it travels to Aspen for a monthlong show. After that, it opens at the Depot.

One may describe mixed-media art as broad because it doesn't have a clear definition of boundaries. In fact, if there is a definition, it's that it has no boundaries.

Any materials can be used to create the art. Traditional fine art elements, such as paint and clay, are fine, but mixing them with newsprint, fabric, wood, glue or nearly anything is what really defines the medium. Even more to the point, in mixed media, the artist uses items that wouldn't normally be considered art, such as gunpowder, sticks, dirt, leaves or anything the artist chooses to achieve a creation.

"It's taking something that wouldn't traditionally be art and putting it in a setting that would make it art," art history professor Amy Ploeger said.

The art is sensually driven, Ploeger said. Though a concept may be connected to the piece, most often its creation comes from an artist grabbing what's at their fingertips that inspires a concept.

And by no means is mixed-media art meant for just canvass, Ploeger said.

Sculptures, installations, canvass painting or just about anything imaginable could hold an argument of being mixed media.

The result is an opportunity for people to express themselves through art without letting traditional methods and skills hold them back.

"It just opens you up to be able to express yourself," Mary Levingston said.

Levingston, the vice president of the Mixed Media Painting School, explained it allows the artist to explore the meaning of an idea or concept that arises while creating the piece.

For "Transitions," the artists were asked to use a canvass and to create pieces reflecting the "Transitions" theme of the show.

"We pretty much left it open to determine what it means to you," Levingston said.

Some people saw it as birth and death; other interpreted a transition as growth or even related it to the seasons.

"It's your personal feelings about what it means to you," Holloran said.

The Mixed Media Painting School has been in Steamboat Springs for three years. It was formed by Eileen Braziel and Wanda Brehmer and has grown to have 25 members.

The school grants two $500 fellowships to community members wishing to study art. In return, the person holds a workshop in Steamboat on what he or she learned.

"It was founded to help educate the community about the medium," Holloran said.

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