“Combobulate” means to put something together. So, while one does not find a dictionary definition of “Recombobulation,” one can assume that it speaks of putting even more things together ... The art of assemblage holds similar meaning.
A group of eight established Colorado artists, who have been planning this exhibit for a year or so, opened “Recombobulation” at Curtis Center for the Arts at 2349 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, which will run through Oct. 29. It should interest art lovers in the area, including younger ones, who may find inspiration to experiment. (Note the kids’ work near the entrance, produced in Michelle Lamb’s classes there.)
Artists included in this exhibit are: Deborah Jang, Mark Friday, Michelle Lamb, Susan Blosten, Jimmy Descant, Leigh Campbell, Floyd Tunson and Kelton Osborn.
Their announcement says: “These artists create a narrative through strategically arranging found objects and other ephemera, allowing a specifically determined amount of original patina, shape, texture or inherent iconography to provide the plot for their story.”
I’d add that a viewer might concoct more than one story from some of these works, as they enjoy the detailed pieces. Allow a bit of time to look at each piece and appreciate the craftsmanship involved here, as well as storytelling.
Enter the historic schoolhouse gallery and turn left to find works by Jimmy Descant, who describes himself as a “Severe ReConstructivist.” He writes: “I see in the parts found at thrift stores and flea markets my own vision of what craftsmen put into their anonymous vision and expression of their part in creating the Golden Age of American manufacturing.” He says he grew up in New Orleans, is mostly Cajun, part of the Tunica-Biloxi tribe from mid-Louisiana and currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. “But I am an artist and resident of the whole world,” he adds.
Deborah Jang, a University of Colorado Denver graduate, continues in a 30- year career to explore new materials and techniques. She has participated in numerous group and solo shows in the western U.S. and her works are included in corporate and private collections in the U.S. and beyond. “Each salvaged component carries its own unique history. Some remain mysterious while others offer familiar social or cultural references.” Note her “Keys to the Kingdom.”
Mark Friday “often starts in the middle of a piece” and adds “miscellaneous bits and pieces from the discarded, unwanted leftovers from our mass-produced world.” He writes than he joins parts together with screws, bolts and nails and usually paints or stains, sometime incorporating screen prints or pigments.
Littleton’s multidisciplinary Michelle Lamb, whom we met when she created the mural on the back of the city’s light rail station, writes: “I consider assemblage a form of narrative, strategically arranging objects and allowing a specifically determined amount of the original patina, shape, texture or inherent iconography to provide the plot for my story. Making trash into treasure is an alchemy more noble than the ethical necessity of recycling.” Her “Chronocalcula” has an air of mystery with a hand marked with astrological signs.
Kelton Osborn says his works include marks and images that relate to past experiences. “I do not work in a linear process, but rather in a spiral that allows influences from multiple sources ...” Note his “Dead Fish and Debutantes” on a pedestal in the middle of the gallery.
Longtime Denver artist Floyd D. Tunson writes of his pleasure in learning. “Along the way, I have become a Janus. Looking at life from one direction, I see the terror of chaos, man’s inhumanity to man, mortality and the vastness of the unknown. From another direction, the human condition seems like a magnificent, orderly evolution of extraordinary beauty.”
Susan Blosten, also from Littleton, writes that “one or two objects can spark her to create a scene in which they feel comfortable. Or a painting can dictate what added objects will complete the subject.” As a longtime antique dealer, she has collected fabrics, buttons and many objects that lead her into a finished work. Her “Room with a View” combines painting and the addition of small pieces of this and that.
Leigh Cabell says: “each of my creations is made from things we discard. Gum wrappers, twist ties and cereal boxes, just to name a few. I take small pieces of each, sometimes the whole if it is small enough, and sew them together without altering the original color ...”
Look for detail in all of this work...
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