Art in springtime, Durango Herald, May 9, 2008

Explore Downtown during Durango’s Gallery Walk

Jami Tobey will be at the Rain Dance Gallery to talk about her paintings like “Wildflowers,” shown here.

Twice a year, Durango galleries get together and host a gallery walk. They invite artists to show up and mingle with guests, chill the Pellegrino and put out a plate of cheese and crackers. Visitors and locals alike wander the streets and herd themselves in and out of exhibit spaces trying not to knock over a glass or a ceramic vase.

Within six blocks, one can visit 10 art spaces and see everything from photography to bronze sculpture, landscape painting to giant abstract canvases, traditional turquoise jewelry to elegant miniature silver sculptures on black silk cord.

On East Second Avenue, visit Open Shutter to see the reverent digital images of Frisco (Colorado’s Frisco, not California’s) photographer Bob Winsett. Images of two-dozen statues of Buddha from around the world are on display, some ironic, others iconic.

Cross the street to catch opening night of a group exhibition at the Durango Arts Center. Watercolorist Dwight Lawing, an instructor at San Juan College in Farmington, is joined by layered abstract painter Tess Corrinne Jordans and nature painter Coni Grant in displaying canvases and works on paper. Henry Woolbert and Kathy Park, who create tribal-inspired spirit masks, are thrown into the mix.

Wander down to Main Avenue and head over to Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts and see the fluid, elliptical sculpture of Santa Fe-based Somers Randolph, and catch a trunk showing of his simple and elegant jewelry. Randolph begins each piece of jewelry as a simple soapstone carving. When his wife, Hillary, found a box filled with these tiny sculptures, she figured out a way to have them turned into exquisite silver creations.

Head north on Main and catch the 10th anniversary exhibit at Ellis West Gallery featuring new work by local painters: Phyllis Stapler, Krista Harris, Cynthia DeBolt, Joan Levine Russell, Jenny Gummersall and C. Gregory Gummersall. And as a special treat to celebrate 10 years in the gallery business, Ellis West is offering 25 percent off all blown glass this weekend.

Jenny Gummersall’s painting on her own photograph “Sheep 3” will be on display at the Ellis West Gallery during tonight’s Spring Gallery Walk.

Continuing up Main Avenue, stop in at Sorrel Sky Gallery, where Santa Fe jeweler Doug Magnus will show his high-fashion western jewelry and happily chat about his passion for turquoise.

Magnus owns three turquoise mines that he plans to donate to a conservancy or university.

And don’t miss Rain Dance Gallery. It will have California-based artist Jami Tobey present. Tobey creates fun patterned and layered acrylic, watercolor and ink landscape paintings on clayboard, canvas and paper. Tobey is the daughter of famed sculptor Gene Tobey. Rain Dance also features a museum-quality collection of Nicaraguan pottery, including masterwork by Helio Gutierrez.

Skip over to Maria’s Bookshop and check out the work of Arizona artist Shay Lopez, a self-taught painter whose vibrant oils and acrylics are influenced by Austrian Impressionism, Harlem Jazz and Chicano art.

Earthen Vessel on west Ninth Street will feature local potter Nick Blaisdell, who creates functional work punctuated by vivid red-and-blue dripped glazes. Blaisdell will be available to chat about his work and technique.

The evening’s happiness will be heightened by the reopening of Termar Trends at 780 Main Ave. after the smoke damage caused by the fire.

Finally, don’t miss sculptor Kevin McCarthy at Toh-Atin Gallery on west Ninth Street.

McCarthy creates highly detailed, western and art deco-themed sculptures of dancers and warriors using the lost wax-casting method. He will be demonstrating with several of his wax originals. Ask him about the ancient process of bronze sculpting.

Kevin McCarthy will demonstrate preparing a maquette for a bronze statue as in this 22-inch-tall dancer at the Toh-Atin Galley.

Gallery walk is a great time to get out and walk around downtown Durango. It’s the perfect opportunity to hang out with neighbors, make new friends and learn something new about art from the people who make it.

The Spring Gallery Walk will be held from 5-8 p.m. today. Here are the participants:

Durango Arts Center, 802 East Second Ave., 259-2606. Featured artists: Dwight Lawing, Tess Corrinne Jordans, Coni Grant, Henry Woolbert, Kathy Park.

• Earthen Vessel, 115 W. Ninth St., 247-1281. Featured artist: Nick Blaisdell.

• Ellis West Gallery, 822 Main Ave., 382-9855. Featured artists: Phyllis Stapler, Krista Harris, Cynthia DeBolt, Joan Levine Russell, Jenny Gummersall, C. Gregory Gummersall.

• Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts, 680 Main Ave, 247-9018. Featured artist: Somers Randolph.

• Maria’s Bookshop, 960 Main Ave., 247-1438. Featured artist: Shay Lopez.

• Open Shutter Gallery, 755 East Second Ave., 382-8355. Featured artist: Bob Winsett.

• Rain Dance Gallery, 945 Main Ave., 375-2708. Featured artist: Jami Tobey.

• Sorrel Sky Gallery, 870 Main Ave., 247-3555. Featured artist: Doug Magnus.

• Termar Trends, 780 Main Ave., 247-3728.

• Toh-Atin Gallery, 145 W. Ninth St., 247-8277. Featured artist: Kevin McCarthy.

artsjournalist@centurytel.netLeanne Goebel is a freelance arts journalist from Pagosa Springs.

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