Collaborative Creations: Auction to benefit Arts Center, Durango Herald, July 6, 2007

This collage of portraits, created by members of Kindred Spirits program, will be sold at auction tonight to help fund exhibits at the Durango Arts Center.
ELI RUBEL/Herald photos

Tonight’s auction of collaborative sculpture, painting, poetry and dance won’t compare to sales at Sotheby’s or Christie’s. No Rockefeller Rothkos for sale or Monet water lilies, but if you fancy a glow-in-the-dark mermaid or an ode to wine corks, head to the Durango Arts Center.

A mystery auctioneer will auction 14 works created by 77 artists; all money raised will fund exhibitions at the DAC. A performance by Laurel Schaffer’s ballet troupe and a basket woven by visitors to the gallery also will be for sale.

Groups of artists either agreed to collaborate or had their names drawn from a hat and were thrown together. Each team approached its collaboration differently. Some worked on the piece then passed it to the next artist. Others planned in advance what each person
would contribute. Still others did not speak or share.

A group of Barbara Tobin Klema’s painting students collaborated on three paintings, each getting a turn to take a painting home and add to it. The classmates are Aline Schwab, Susan Koonce, Leslie Talmon, Allison Andersen and Catherine Wagner.

“Spring Blossoms” is the best of the three. It incorporates collage to capture the cotton-like texture of blossoming trees. The mat and frame detract from the work and give it a dated appearance, but the painting is effective.

Dave Sipe, Nancy Segal and Amorina Lee Martinez created the bug with the illuminated tail. The wooden sculpture features a female torso, arms extended, elaborately painted, with lace-covered wings, wearing an expression of joy. The funky sculpture hangs from the

Only one collaboration uses a literary component. “Waiting for a Perfect Planet” includes a large abstract collage made with photographs by Claude Steelman and painted by Adele Kurtz. A companion piece is a poem by Kaibab. The collage is a spiral of bird-like shapes in a metallic swirl.

One of the more intriguing pieces is a digital collage of 25 portraits (mostly self portraits) by participants in the Kindred Spirits program. Kindred Spirits is a program for adults who are physically or mentally challenged.

Some of the drawings are remarkable in the emotion they express, their use of color, and even their use of line. Each work was scanned and placed in a patchwork format by artist Adele Kurtz.

The work was printed on a heavy stock and is presented as an unfolding accordion of color and imagery beneath an acrylic frame. I would have preferred to see the original drawings in a traditional collage. For me, the digital reproduction sucks some of the life from the artwork.

DAC accepted silent bids all week and the live auction happens today from 5 to 8 p.m. No minimum prices are listed, and the artists donated their time and materials. Leanne Goebel is a freelance writer specializing in the visual arts.

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