The VIP reception for Art Aspen 2019 Mark Cesark, Karl Wolfgang, Hunt Rettig

The VIP reception for Art Aspen 2019 personified everything I love about being a local here in Aspen. There I was looking at the incredible artwork of my friends; Mark Cesark, Karl Wolfgang, and Hunt Rettig, friends of whom I have gone backpacking with in Canyonlands, 17 years ago on a school outdoor ed trip. Friends I have raised a ruckus with pre-kids, and even after. Friends I have swum naked in mountain lakes with, and gone skiing under full moons with. Friends who are so absolutely talented, and who I would love to fill my 1st and 2nd home with their works, if only I had one….or the other.

Having just picked up our middle son, Axel, from the summer pre-college program at California College of the Arts, I am making a concentrated effort to introduce us both into the local art world, and so we went back to view the show through his eyes. What fun it was to give him the perfect opportunity to practice speaking eloquently about art and his work to gallery owners, and to experience what type of gallery owner we would choose to display his own work. We shrugged off those who couldn’t make the effort to stand up to talk to us about the artists they were representing, and gravitated to those who greeted us enthusiastically, clearly impassioned by the works of their artists.

Lawrence Schiller

The highlight of the evening was taking a photo of the 82 year old Lawrence Schiller in front of his portraits of Marilyn Monroe, and behind the scene shots of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, taken while filming Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Lawrence told me of his experience while working on set with Paul Newman, and how he mentioned that he was tired of photographing just one more head on another body. On the spot, Newman suggested that it was time for Schiller to start directing and gave him his first break by having him direct 8 mins of the film they were working on. Schiller went on to direct an Oscar-winning documentary, and an Emmy Award-winning tv mini-series.

Lawrence Schiller – Art Aspen 2019

As I struggle to stay in my fullest expression, I have a full appreciation for the artists who don’t hold back to their drive to create, for it’s all they know how to do. We need more artists to do all they know, and that’s why I am trying to write more and stay in the flow of my work. We need more people to think out of the box, to lead the way for those who are stuck.

Hunt Rettig Aspen Artist

Hunt Rettig is known for his 3D assemblages that produce the illusion of 2D illuminated digital images. Self-taught, Rettig’s process-based discipline is a continual quest to transform quotidian material into the sublime. In Rettig’s hands, moldable synthetics and reflective acrylics become encapsulated sculptures implying kinetic movement if not actuating it. He has been drawn to the op and kinetic art movement since adolescence.

An explorer of both geographic and psychological terrain, Rettig is most at home on a dirt path or body of water observing “familiar patterns that connect us as one, like source code.” Biomorphic shapes seen in Rettig’s work suggest sensual elements omnipresent in nature. How connected are we? “If it didn’t exist, if it didn’t resonate, we wouldn’t be here.”

Kris Rettig, Wife of Hunt Rettig, and Suitable for Framing Owner, with Axel Livingston, Rising Teen Artist

Karl Wolfgang

Before moving to Basalt, Colorado, Karl Wolfgang spent 15 years in Los Angeles as a union cameraman, working primarily on commercials and music videos. He began his training in photography as a sixth-grader in his father’s darkroom. He has done editorial work and fashion shoots for local magazines and created a coffee-table book of images he made several years ago on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, a project that has eased his transformation from moving to static photography.

Amanda Rae in front of Karl Wolfgang’s New Works.
Karl Wolfgang stealing a moment at Art Aspen to give me wings.

Mark Cesark

Mark Cesark creates his pieces from discarded painted steel from old machinery, farm equipment, vehicles, etc. The steel surfaces he uses had a life, a death and a rebirth. The underlying history and actions that caused these surfaces transpired over many years, thus creating an abstract visual documentation of that history. The found color plates, their natural patinas and textures are not created by any one individual – but by a collective of man, machine, time and nature. Mark Cesark sees his work as collaboration: between those who painted the metal, the actions of its past, time, the elements, and myself. He does not alter the surfaces. To alter them would destroy the intrinsic quality and history. The transformation takes place through assemblage and choice: the metal is chosen in much the same way a painter chooses paint from his palette. The found objects thus create a uniqueness that is individual to each piece.

Starting as a child you are trained to recognize objects, what they are and how they are used. I feel there is a certain strength that bonds the viewer to an artists work who uses recognizable or transformed objects or imagery; especially if the viewer can make the association of how separated the object has come from its original intended use. Although many of the objects I use are recognizable when I find them, through dismantling and reassembling, the primary functions and histories are hidden. This process and transformation is what makes the art important to me.

Mark Cesark
Mark Cesark
The Faces Behind the Businesses of our Valley
Mark Cesark, Cesark Gallery

Nick Archer

Another artist we enjoyed was Nick Archer, a painter based in Rye, East Sussex (UK), who paints on sandpaper to create a tension between something beautiful made on a utilitarian material. The link between the concept of the work and the process of how it is made is key to his practise. The paint utilises the language of suggestion and poetry where the idea of a narrative is planted in the viewer but it is the viewers who develops this narrative.

The Sandpaper pieces, ‘Ice’ and ‘Room with a view’, are based on places he visited near his home and studio in East Sussex in the United Kingdom. In ‘Ice’, diluted oil paint spreads and bleeds intollthe texture of the black sandpaper capturing the essence of water freezing on a pond. The addition of the caravan on the edge creates a mysterious narrative; is the caravan inhabited or abandoned? The graffiti covered building in ‘A Room with a View’ is based on a building at Dungeness, a nature reserve in East Sussex. The shack of a building is in an area of barren landscape by the sea where there is nothing but abandoned huts and the occasional relic of a boat.

Sharing is Caring 💙

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Check us Out on Instagram

Check us Out on Facebook

2 days ago

Aspen Real Life
Get your tickets and support this incredible fundraiser supporting WindWalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center"Please join WindWalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center for our first annual Wranglers and Rhinestones Fundraiser on Saturday, October 23rd. Join us for an evening filled with local bites, specialty cocktails, lawn games, silent auction, and the talented singer/song writer Bailey Callahan."Buy tickets now before they sell out by clicking here: ...
View on Facebook

1 week ago

Aspen Real Life
Repost @harveyprestongallery・・・SEAN MUCKIAN: this is what i do at home⁣Saturday, October 9, 2021 5-6:30pm⁣Please join us on this Saturday for an experimental audio experience by Sean Muckian. Using modern versions of the hardware that birthed Hip-Hop and House music, the artist will explore pattern, rhythm, layering and modulation.⁣Drop into an unrehearsed environment and get lost in this aural event!⁣Sound on for a sampling :)⁣#harveyprestongallery @smmuck #seanmuckian #soundperformance⁣#experimentalspund #hiphop #house⁣ ...
View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Aspen Real Life
Aspen Real Life's cover photo ...
View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Aspen Real Life
It's amazing the treasures one finds when one slows down to take an old pup out for daily slow walks. Having been up in Aspen for 5 years, I forgot about this old Fairview Cemetery that Loki guided me to where I discovered Merino Fiou: Merino Bruno Fiou, AKA “Mr. Basalt”, born July 29, 1940 in Glenwood Springs and died March 6, 2011 at Valley View Hospital.This from the Aspen Times: A constant staple of the Town of Basalt, Merino was always on the search for a treasure that few of us cherished. He had a love of hats and was always seen wearing a different one. He walked many miles each day back and forth into town.Many local merchants of different stores knew him by name. Merino was very proud of his money jar that he accumulated by turning in his aluminum cans that he collected. Merino had many jobs throughout the years including trash pickup and working at Two Rivers Cafe washing dishes. He liked to help out wherever needed, even volunteering when they built the playground. Merino was very fond of River Days and loved to listen to the music in town. With a constant smile on his face, he was very friendly and never knew a stranger. Merino loved the annual yard sale at his house, looked forward to sifting through all the stuff, he found a treasure in things that other people threw out.Did anyone know Merino?#iseenya#mrbasalt#coolcemeteries ...
View on Facebook