Death and Resurrection, 2006 
Scanograph
By: Jo Ann Baker Paul

Courtsey photo

Death and Resurrection, 2006 Scanograph By: Jo Ann Baker Paul

Old names, new work

'FIVE' local women open new downtown gallery

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Courtsey photo

Death and Resurrection, 2006 Scanograph By: Jo Ann Baker Paul

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Kimberly Conrad Saari pauses while speaking to a reporter in her new art gallery, K. Saari Gallery, in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. The gallery is scheduled to open for the first time this Friday evening.

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Local artisan Sue Hover Oehme explains the process for creating some of her painted paper artwork in the K. Saari Gallery in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. The gallery is scheduled to open for the first time this Friday evening.

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Local artisan Susan J. Thompson explains the process for creating some of her artwork in the K. Saari Gallery in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. The gallery is scheduled to open for the first time this Friday evening.

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A series of acrylics by local artisan Laura Wait hang in the K. Saari Gallery in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. The gallery is scheduled to open for the first time this Friday evening.

Past Event

Grand opening of K. Saari Gallery and its first group show, "FIVE"

  • Friday, August 10, 2007, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • K. Saari Gallery, 837 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat, CO
  • Not available

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— Ask Kimberly Conrad Saari why she decided to open the K. Saari Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs and she acts as if it was something completely out of her hands.

"This is what I do," Saari said. "It was never a question of if, just when and where. It's my time."

The gallery, at 837 Lincoln Ave., will open Friday with a show titled "FIVE," which features the art of five local women. Saari said the show is a great one to open with and hopes it shows people her gallery will be an avenue for local, regional and national artists.

While the artists in "FIVE" - Diane Cionni, Sue Hover Oehme, Jo Ann Baker Paul, Susan J. Thompson and Laura Wait - are familiar names to Steamboat's art community, their work is brand new.

Cionni has several paintings in the show that represent the last step of a process that begins with the observation of nature. Cionni takes digital pictures of her observations and chooses up-close, detailed, "ant view" portions of them to alter in Adobe Photoshop. Once satisfied, Cionni recreates the digitally manipulated image in an oil painting. The resulting depictions of nature are abstract, yet mostly recognizable.

"The images are romantic and richly painted but awkwardly unreal, prodding the viewer to sense another kind of operational reality than what meets the eye," Cionni says in her artist's statement.

Thompson's works in the show are done in the encaustic style, a method of painting in which colors in wax are fused to a surface with heat. The use of wax allows encaustic painters to build up textured areas in their paintings. The temptation to run a hand across Thompson's works is strong - and she believes a part of the experience - but discouraged. The works are abstract and deceptively complex.

"For me, they have a lot of meaning," Thompson said. "There are so many layers that are hard to see."

Oehme's works are done on a thin but strong Asian paper called gampi. Oehme created designs on the paper using everything from watercolors and ink to crayons and glue. Oehme said her work evolves throughout the process of its creation.

"It's sort of whatever mind frame I'm in at the time," Oehme said.

Wait's collection of paintings combine abstraction and unmistakable symbolism such as crosses. Wait, who also makes books, said she is really interested in handwriting and symbolism. The paintings are "written through," sometimes with words and other times with loops and other scribbles.

"It takes 10 layers, probably, to do most of these paintings," Wait said.

Baker Paul has lived in Steamboat for 20 years. She said her new work in "FIVE" may surprise those who know her.

"Most people in Steamboat know me as a photographer primarily," Baker Paul said.

In this show, her work includes a collection of drawings, new photographs and "scanographs." The scanographs consist of an assortment of items randomly arranged and digitally scanned until Baker Paul finds an image that strikes her. The flat images create a near optical illusion of depth.

"FIVE" opens at 6 p.m. today and will be on display until Sept. 19. Saari said all the work in the show is for sale. To reach the gallery, call 870-0188.

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