Artists venture outside comfort zones to create Eastern-influenced work | SteamboatToday.com

Artists venture outside comfort zones to create Eastern-influenced work

— Inspiration for one local artist started with a fish.

"In Japan, fishermen would often fabricate how big their fish were," said glass artist Jennifer Baker. "So they would take ink and paper with them on their boat to document how big the fish actually was. It really become a trophy."

If You Go…

What: First Friday Artwalk: "The Art of Zen"

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 4

Where: Circe 7 Fine Art Gallery, 1009 Lincoln Ave.

Transporting viewers to another culture and time, the Circle 7 Fine Art Gallery will feature Baker and another local artist Maggie Smith, who have worked since last fall to venture out of their comfort zones for this month's First Friday Artwalk show, "The Art of Zen."

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Baker's simplistic compositions of panels handmade from glass represent images of coy in a pond, cranes and Sohji-influenced lanterns and were initially inspired by this story of the fish and the Eastern culture embedded within the symbols and images.

"This is a whole other piece and way of looking at art," Baker said. "The art is of the piece itself and not the other colors or distractions going on in the background."

"It's simple composition balanced by imbalance," said Smith about Baker's pieces in the exhibit. "Both of us have that Eastern influence in our work but are coming at it from different directions. For me, there is a lot of symbolism represented that is almost a standard that is recognized by the people in countries like Bhutan."

In the southern Himalayas, Bhutan was a place Smith had always heard about but never had the opportunity to visit until 2013.

During her time there, she visited the School of Traditional Arts where students were taught 13 different arts and crafts, each with specific methods to create representations of various symbols.

"I was intrigued by the stylistic ways they did things," Smith said. "The paintings were very figurative with things from life used in their landscape stylistic motifs from people, animals and Buddha images."

Inspired by the student's motifs, Smith — who primarily works with printmaking and oil paintings — said she had to approach each painting in a different way.

"It looked easier than it was," she said. "It's a really different way than what I'm used to when representing a landscape. But I think that if anybody has been to this part of the country, they will recognize these motifs. It will take people back to that time when they visited there, and it will help them remember it."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

If You Go…

What: First Friday Artwalk: “The Art of Zen”

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 4

Where: Circe 7 Fine Art Gallery, 1009 Lincoln Ave.