Landscapes of color

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Susan Schiesser thought she should make her new art gallery's first show conservative, but the death of a mentor and close friend changed her mind.

"I was going to tone this first exhibit down a bit and play to the provincial sensibilities of our majority audience, you know, be conservative, try to fit in. But then I experienced one of those milestones in life that just made me question the validity of that mindset," Schiesser said.

¤ Studio Gallery 27's opening reception featuring the show "Elements of Landscape."

¤ Open house from noon to 7 p.m., with reception beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday

¤ Studio Gallery 27 in Ski Time Square next to The Tugboat Pub & Grill

¤ 879-6114

The death of San Francisco artist Julius Hatofksy made Schiesser rethink what she hoped to portray during this weekend's opening of "Elements of Landscape," a show combining the eclectic and diverse styles of about a dozen local and national artists.

Schiesser said the show will focus on the elements of a landscape and will be expressed through a variety of styles and media.

"This show is in deference to the spirit of my dear friend Julius Hatofsky, who always said 'no' when the correct answer was 'yes,' who always sought vitality and beautiful color and strength in painting," she said.

Schiesser described Saturday's show -- which also will serve as Studio Gallery 27's opening reception -- as "very next-level" and "dynamic, loud, aggressive and beautifully crafted."

The show will feature artwork from national artists Cara Ober, Sara McCormick, L. Gregory Scheer and local artist Rob Williams.

"It's important to me to mix local artists with national artists because the combination ups the ante. If I just had local artists, the show wouldn't be as dynamic. Having a variety of art makes for interesting imagery," Schiesser said.

Baltimore artist Ober said Saturday's show is especially exciting because she never has showed a landscape nor has she had a show in the Rocky Mountain region.

"I am really happy to be included in the upcoming show. I think it is very interesting to view my drawings in (a landscape) context. They are, I suppose, landscapes of the mind -- of my mind. They have little bits and details from different events and thoughts and words that I hear, so I guess in an abstract way, when you view them you are experiencing my landscape, as I experience it," she said.

Most of the "Elements of Landscape" show already was planned when Schiesser learned of Hatofsky's death. She then found herself rearranging the show to reflect something Hatofsky always used in his art: color.

"I wanted more vibrancy in the palate," she said.

"We build a show based on a central theme and then just add the artists. The concept is to be aware of a large, diverse group of artists and assemble their art accordingly," she said. "I'd never ask an artist to paint just for a theme. That would be wrong."

Studio Gallery 27 assistant director Kimberly Conrad said she is excited about Saturday's show because of the artistic diversity Schiesser has put together.

"'Elements' is just the beginning in a series of stimulating and diverse exhibitions tapping in on the cutting-edge works (Schiesser) is finding around the country," Conrad said.

The art from the four featured artists in "Elements of Landscape" will include computer-generated fractal art, oil paintings, photography and mixed media.

Schiesser said the exhibit is a "jangle of color and movement" -- just the way she likes it. --

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