Buhr cuts through layers of memory | SteamboatToday.com

Buhr cuts through layers of memory

Autumn Phillips

Elizabeth Buhr’s paintings feel like someone projecting an old Western movie over the top of an already decorated wall.

Your attention flickers in and out of the layers of imagery.

° Opening reception for “A Sense of Place; Three Colorado Artists Share Their Vision of the Landscape in Their Unique Style” including mixed-media works by Elizabeth Buhr, black and white photography by Ian McVey and landscape paintings by Sallie Smith ° 5 to 7 p.m. today ° Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St. ° 879-9008

By training, Buhr is a sculptor and, in a way, her paintings are as sculptural as a two-dimensional piece can be.

Each piece has two surfaces. The top layer is made of printmaking paper and usually holds some sort of stark, black and white image. She creates the image with crayon, acrylic paint and oil stick, creating a dense dark image.

The second layer is seen through cuts she makes in the first. Inside are ranching images — horses, cattle, roosters and farm equipment.

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These images, however complicated, tell the story of the life on her grandfather’s ranch.

At first glance, the shapes in the foreground look like references to Asian calligraphy, but they actually refer to the symbols usually tooled into Western tack.

Some of the symbols bleed off the canvas, only revealing part of their shapes, while on others, Buhr takes special care to keep them contained within the work.

“I’m really fascinated with drawing as a sculptural activity,” Buhr said. “I have a lot to say about ranch life, but I don’t want to tell it through the traditional Western art forms.”

Through her work, Buhr is sorting image by image through her memories of her grandfather’s ranch in New Mexico.

Her piece “Buckle” is an artistic rendition of her uncle’s large cowboy belt buckles. “Margaret’s Gate” is a reference to her aunt who lived and worked on the ranch for years. She asked to be buried there.

Although Buhr’s artwork is starting to gain recognition, she still makes her living as an elementary art teacher in Lakewood and a summer children’s instructor at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass.

° Opening reception for “A Sense of Place; Three Colorado Artists Share Their Vision of the Landscape in Their Unique Style” including mixed-media works by Elizabeth Buhr, black and white photography by Ian McVey and landscape paintings by Sallie Smith ° 5 to 7 p.m. today ° Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St. ° 879-9008

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