As Steamboat Springs residents get punched in the stomach by the deaths of one local after another, Ann Root hopes her art exhibit can be a healing salve.
The exhibit of 15 new mixed media works on display in the Small Works Gallery at the Depot Art Center was created by Root during the summer as she processed the pending death of her closest friend.
"Another Dimension: New Work by Ann Root"
On display through Nov. 17
Small Works Gallery in the Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St. 879-9008
The pieces move back and forth between life and death. The canvas is her tarpaper tray, where she pins her subject, examining with paint and collage the unseen spirit world that surrounds us.
Root's friend died Sunday.
"I didn't know why I was painting these things," Root said. "When I stepped back and looked, I realized how much I had been caught up in her trauma.
"This show was part of my spiritual journey."
The show is as emotional as it is philosophical.
In one painting, titled "Pathfinder," Root offers an image of a female figure with the moon behind her. The woman is a guide. She is the connection between this world and the next.
Root chose the word "pathfinder" because her friend always was the first to do things, and Root would follow. She imagines her friend still leading her from the spiritual realm.
"Making (this show) was comforting to me," she said. "Her spirit is still with me, and this show can be a tribute to her."
Root sees the show as the beginning of a new direction in her work. It was the first time she focused heavily on mixed media. The layers allowed her to add meaning that she thought paint by itself could not express.
"This show is also about the positive side of death, and the rebirth and growth that comes is the next part of the process," Root said. "Maybe this show can help other people going through the same thing. It's a lesson."