A showcase of women artists in Basalt

Jul 11, 2013

This weekend, three women artists will have their work exhibited in Basalt. The pieces range in style from tranquil landscapes to bold abstracts. The artists are Dinah Worman, Betsy Chaffin and Cathy Schermer. Tomorrow (Fri., 7-12-2013), three of Basalt’s art venues will host their openings. Aspen Public Radio’s Rebecca Kruth got a preview of each collection

Pastels and oils are scattered around the showroom of the Ann Korologos Gallery in downtown Basalt.

The collection of Dinah Worman’s art, called Definitely Dinah, is mostly landscapes, influenced by Worman’s western roots.

“I really love the horizontal lines of New Mexico or Colorado, and these vertical old buildings, or roads going up that will stack in a way that looks like they’re going straight up into the sky,” Worman said.

A painting called History of a Field is an aerial perspective of a snow covered farm. The piece reveals depth in the starkest of spaces. The painting won Best in Show at this year’s Coors Art Show.

“I’ve heard it put that’s there’s a point in a lot of artists’ lives where your vision stops being from your eyes out. It starts being from your eyes back, and it starts happening in your brain more,” Worman said. “You start looking for something that’s more a part of you, and you aren’t looking for outer reference anymore.”

Down the street, artist Betsy Chaffin’s abstract oils and acrylics jump off the walls of the Wyly Community Art Center. Her work announces itself with bold, playful colors.

Chaffin’s exhibition, Daily Fragments, represents her responses to the places and events she encounters in her day-to-day life.

“Whether it’s the rainbow that takes place for a few seconds, whether it’s snow coming down, and then you’re looking at it, but you’ve seen snow come down time and time again, and yet, then there’s a moment, a fragment, a time that you see it differently,” Chaffin said. “Maybe life is seamless, but it’s also broken up into specific moments, specific fragments of things that you respond to more vibrantly, more emotionally than you other times.”

Chaffin says she often finds herself being lead by her paintings instead of the other way around.  

“If you ever heard of an author say, ‘Well, this character, he’s doing something I didn’t want him to do,’ I think the same thing is true with paintings,” Chaffin said. “Oh my gosh, it has a life of its own. That character, that painting, has taken over.”

“Perhaps the thing I can do best is try to look closely and see what that painting is trying to say,” she said.

The Toklat Gallery will exhibit new work by Cathy Schermer who has a permanent corner for her work in the gallery.

Schermer’s are whimsical paintings of wildlife - soft, colorful images with a childlike quality.

“I would say art saved my life as a kid because I was, evidently, a slow learner when I first started school, and I had a second grade teacher who saw that I could draw, and she made me feel real special,” Schermer said. “From then on, I thought I could do anything because I could paint, so I always credit art as giving me the ability to achieve in life.”

Schermer uses a process called encaustic painting, or painting with pigmented hot wax. The technique gives the Japanese inspired paintings an ethereal look. The collection, appropriately, is called West meets East.

“I had Japanese gardens in Dallas. I’ve just always been interested in that aesthetic, the simplicity of the oriental paintings and I thought it was a nice compliment to nature,” Schermer said. “In Japanese, it’s all about nature. It just fits in with my way of thinking about all the connections with nature.”

Julia Novy, manager of the Ann Korologos gallery, says she’s “thrilled” to have Basalt’s three established galleries presenting openings on the same night.

All three events are free and open to the public.