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Dross of a Passing Dream

Madeline Stillwell, Berlin: "Banquet" performance, video, mixed media

Open Letters Monthly believes in interdisciplinary work — in cross-fertilization among fields — and although we primarily talk about the words and ideas inside books, we’re always anxious to cover more ground. This is just one of the reasons we’re especially pleased to welcome sculptural artist Katie Caron to our masthead as our new Curator of Art. Each month, Katie will select a different artist or exhibit to feature as our cover art and to explore in further detail in an interview with the artist or curator.

Katie lives outside Denver these days and will be curating an exhibit, Displaced, at Denver’s Ice Cube Gallery, starting in February, from which this month’s art (and artists) have been selected.

Q & A

OL: Welcome to Open Letters, Katie! We’re honored to have you onboard!

Katie: Thanks! I’m excited to be part of it, and to have such a sharp online forum to share myriad emerging artists. I’m looking forward to sharing some deeply rich and conceptually driven works and exhibitions; with luck, these works will be both visually engaging and and raise questions about our world’s current social, political, visual, scientific and cultural landscape.

OL: What catches your eye in a new work of art? What holds your attention?

Katie: I just went to the Denver Art Museum today and was thinking about this question as I looked at the work. I was most engaged by abstractions of forms, lines and colors that reference a phenomenon seen in daily life. Today I enjoyed viewing Philip Gustin for his expressive strokes and strange organic forms; Nicola Lopez for her obsession with highway systems and their relation to veins or roots, and her immersive use of the space;  Sandy Skoglund for the chalky saturation of colors and the creation of an alternate reality, the repetition of her narrative; a Native American screen composed of tiny metal fragments woven together to create an undulating form; an animation of fabric falling with quiet ephemeral beauty.

I’m drawn to the ephemeral, the residue of action, the intuitive gesture of the artist, the repetition of forms and materials for alternative use, the mixed metaphor, the immersive, and to work that is about both ideas and visual experience.

Addie Langford, Detroit: "4 Men at a Desk" mixed media

OL: You’re in Denver these days. What’s the art scene like there? Would you encourage a young artist (or an old artist, for that matter) to check it out?

Katie: Denver is an ever evolving art scene. It’s a small pool where all types of artists can find their niche, but it’s also a very open scene, and easy to navigate. There are blue chip galleries, commercial galleries, co-op galleries, museums (MCA, DAM), and university spaces to exhibit work. There are multiple districts to explore: “Santa Fe,” “Rhino,” “The Golden Triangle,”  with artist’s studios and galleries — often with active first Friday art walks and shuttles.

OL: This month’s art is from an exhibit you’re curating at the Ice Cube gallery in Denver called “Displaced.” What’s displaced about it? What were your criteria while making selections?

Katie: Ice Cube Gallery is a co-op gallery space in the “Rhino” Art District. The show brings together regional and national artists exploring ideas of “displacement” through the varied mediums of drawing, fiber, ceramics, sculpture, painting, interactive installation, sound, performance and video. I want the show to have a well rounded sensorial experience for the viewer, and show the varied mediums and approaches in contemporary art.

Jaime Carrejo, Denver, "Reconstruction Time Again"

About Displaced

“The uncanny is what one calls everything that was meant to remain secret and hidden and has come into the open” –Sigmund Freud

Through installations, drawings, and performances, the artists of Displaced reveal the residue – often hidden in plain sight – that results from our culture’s constant creation and consumption, the unexplored detritus of our daily lives. Wrongly disregarded, too-easily disposed, these artifacts from the daily rituals of life engage us by prompting a fuller, more clear-sighted picture of our world: the sound of ice melting in a glass, the dust under your radiator, the imprint left by your shoe, or the dross of a passing dream. The artists of Displaced record these moments, revealing the overlooked conflicts, unnoticed materials, and hidden components that make up so much of our culture and our lives.

Curator: Katie Caron
Ice Cube Gallery

Invited Artists:
| Max Blankstein, Detroit | Tiernan Alexander, Philadelphia | Madeline Stillwell, Berlin | Addie Langford, Detroit | Jamie Carrejo, Denver | Theresa Clowes, Denver | Nikki Pike, Denver | Marie Perrin-Mcgraw, Detroit | Megan Heeres, Detroit
| Rebecca Vaughan, Denver | Peter Illig, Denver |

Max Blankstein, Detroit, - cast detail - plaster, fiber

About Katie Caron

Katie Caron earned her BS in English Education with a minor in Theater Arts from Boston University in 2000. In 2003, she moved to Denver to pursue a career in Fine Arts, where she was a resident artist and teacher at the Arvada Center for the Art and a member of Spark Gallery & Sandra Phillips Gallery for 6 years. In 2006, she ran the ceramics program at Dakota Ridge High School and taught 2d and 3d design, drawing and ceramics. During her initial time exhibiting in Denver, she won Westword’s Best Ceramics Show in 2005 for her solo exhibition microCOSMIC, and she was the featured artist for Sculptural Pursuit Magazine and in Ceramics Monthly for exhibitions in Colorado Clay 2003, 2005 and 2010.

Katie earned her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2009, where Diamler Financial nominated her work in Loose Cannon for an Emerging Artist Award at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Art Education at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, where she teaches all levels of ceramics and sculpture, the psychology of creativity and instructional technology. She was recently invited to show her installation work at the Denver Art Museum in Denver and Monroe Art Museum in St. Petersburg for 2011.

She lives with her husband, the artist Kevin Caron, in Lafayatte, Colorado.

Katie Caron with "Dominion" mixed media