An oil painting by Susan Gill Jackson depicts life in the brothel for women in the early west and will be on display at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat this month.

Photo by John F. Russell

An oil painting by Susan Gill Jackson depicts life in the brothel for women in the early west and will be on display at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat this month.

Personal history

Artists put own touch on a common theme

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Painter Susan Gill Jackson, from left, sculptor Sandy P. Graves and fabric artist Jacque Hart will be featured at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat this month. The show opens tonight at the downtown gallery.

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Sculptor Sandy P. Graves' work will be featured at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat this month. The show opens today at the downtown gallery.

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Jacque Harts' weaving will be the featured work at this month's show at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat. The show is scheduled to open today.

Past Event

"Passages," July show featuring weavings, sculpture and oil paintings

  • Friday, July 4, 2008, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Artists' Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / Free

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— When a long winter kept local plein air painter Susan Gill Jackson indoors a few extra months, she started doing research - on bordellos.

What Jackson found was a story with strong characters, girls who had run away from home and gotten into the world's oldest profession because they had nowhere else to go. Jackson has packed her new series of paintings, depicting the "soiled doves" of the American West, with symbols and personal touches to give the works a narrative feel.

"I tried to interconnect them, just for the fun of it, and to kind of create a story that could have existed," Jackson said of the series, which opens today with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat. The show, which is titled "Passages" and features weavings by Jacque Hart and sculpture by Sandy P. Graves, is part of the July First Friday ArtWalk.

"Life is going through one passage after another, and this is just these girls and their story. They're just going through passages, living their lives, like we all do," Jackson said about how her work relates to the theme of the show.

"My personal Western history, instead of being the cowboys and the rodeo and everything, I'm going to stick with the girls, with the women of our Western history, because they were a part of it. And that was a tough job, living like they had to live," she said.

Graves, who has bronze and mixed media sculptures in the show, said the "Passages" theme means something different to each of the three featured artists.

"I think that it has the human condition of change, how nothing is constant," Graves said. "Everything that happens brings us to who we are. So we pass from who we are to who we're going to be," said Graves, whose public art project for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is set to take its place on the Routt County Courthouse lawn later this summer. That work, a large cast bronze sculpture depicting children at play, is more traditional. Outside of commissioned pieces, Graves said she tries to expand into new media and concepts.

Hart uses the same expanding principals in her weaving. Her works in "Passages" range from traditional clothes and patterns to pieces involving burned and tattered fabrics, canvas, oil paint and found objects.

"Passages" will be on display at the Artists' Gallery through the end of July.

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