Steamboat Springs photographer Kim Keith hangs a print Tuesday at RED Contemporary that she took during a November trip to Africa. Keith will join artists Gregory Block and Stan Madeja for an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the gallery in Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs photographer Kim Keith hangs a print Tuesday at RED Contemporary that she took during a November trip to Africa. Keith will join artists Gregory Block and Stan Madeja for an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the gallery in Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

3 artists featured at RED Contemporary opening today

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Gregory Block will show his narrative collection of paintings titled “100 Little Things: A Play in Five Acts” today from 5 to 8 p.m. at RED Contemporary in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

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Jewelry maker Stan Madeja will also display his work at the RED Contemporary gallery show.

If you go

What: Art opening for Kim Keith, Gregory Block and Stan Madeja

When: 5 to 8 p.m. today

Where: RED Contemporary in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, 2200 Village Inn Court

Cost: The event is free. Free parking is available after 3 p.m. in the garage below the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

— Local photographer Kim Keith normally doesn’t take pictures of faces, but on a month-long trip to Africa in November, that was all she saw.

Faces of the children in HIV orphanages, and faces of lionesses sunning themselves on the savanna.

And although she normally works with bodyscapes, Keith was especially captured by the face of an orphan girl who sang a song to her in Swahili about how she had hope once Keith arrived.

“It was just really intense,” she said. “They just need so much there; it’s overwhelming, the impoverished state of things.”

When she left the villages of Kenya for a safari, or a “gift” to herself, she kept her shots tight on the downcast eye of an elephant or the beating wing of an exotic bird, allowing the substantive weight of her experience to show through in the animals.

“This is more a bridge to the more intense work,” she said about the safari photos.

Keith’s safari photos and a handmade book of photos from the orphanages will be featured at RED Contemporary art gallery at tonight’s art opening during the weekly Wild West Wednesdays.

Also featured tonight are the paintings of local artist Gregory Block and the jewelry of Illinois resident Stan Madeja.

Wild West Wednesdays, def­ined by the tagline “Love the Moun­tain,” is a base area celebration that includes drinks, snacks, discounts and a reinvigorated community of mountain businesses.

This is the gallery’s first opening in conjunction with the new Wednesday stroll, and RED co-owner Susan Schiesser said there is a buzz about town.

“Everybody is responding so favorably,” she said. “Everyone is really excited to tell their clients and guests.”

She said she was thrilled about the way all of the art worked together to make a “beautiful symphony of a visual feast” and was excited that Keith decided to give 10 percent of her sales to the orphanages she visited in Africa.

While Keith’s handmade book and wall of safari photos will offer a view into the exotic, Block tackles the mundane in his new series “100 Little Things: A Play in Five Acts.”

The project, which he started in November, is a series of still life paintings — 94, to be exact — of everyday objects that people interact with. A paper clip, a pack of cigarettes, an orange, a bottle opener: They’re each a part of the story of a day in the life of a couple in contemporary society, which the viewer only sees through the inanimate objects on the wall.

“It’s not full of intrigue or drama,” he said about the narrative, which took shape after he started picking random objects from his house and painting them on small canvases.

And while it’s a fictional story of someone else’s day, bits and pieces of Block appear in the series, both through the reality that most of the objects do belong to him and play a part in his life, and through the subtle reflections of his face in several objects.

“I’ve always been interested in story-telling,” he said. “With poetry, music and painting. I just wanted to tell a story with things.”

For all of the artists, who were hanging and arranging their work at RED on Tuesday, a sense of excitement comes with completing a collection, like Block, or returning from an emotional journey, like Keith.

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or e-mail ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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