Chairs have been the subject of paintings throughout history. Van Gogh painted one, so did John Singer Sargent, Henri Matisse and David Hockney. Edward Hopper chose a train car filled with mostly empty dark green chairs, focusing on a blonde female figure for his painting “Chair Car.” An exhibit currently open at Shy Rabbit Contemporary Art in Pagosa Springs, called “The Chair” hearkens back to these traditions. But the subject of the work is not just the brown leather chair from the artist’s home that sits in the middle of the gallery.
Goodnight and her husband, Roger Brooks, live between the brow of Mesa Verde and the La Plata mountain range, near Helmet Peak. Within a 30-minute drive, Goodnight can explore groves of aspen trees, the headwaters of the La Plata River, the barren alpine tundra above timberline, or the red rock canyons to the south. Herds of elk and deer are abundant, joined by the occasional bear, mountain lion or coyote.
Just as the Impressionists broke with the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the 1913 Armory Show in New York brought the scandalous work of Brancusi, Matisse, Braque and Duchamp to America. The 1948 division in Denver showed that modernism had rooted itself in Colorado brought by John E. Thompson when he came to Colorado in 1914 with his Fauvist and Impressionistic style.
Reclamation speaks to the human need to overcome consumption, to subvert capitalistic messages and to focus on the still, quiet voice at the creative core.