Arts & entertainment

Finding the Common Ground at Walker Fine Art

New exhibit focuses on feeling of natural world

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People are coping with the loss of the summer of 2020 in many ways, but there’s a reason that so many are finding their solace in the natural world - there’s often a comfort and peace in nature that’s difficult to replicate. But Common Ground, the current exhibit at the Walker Fine Art gallery, gets wonderfully close to recreating that feeling.

“These works are more about capturing a feeling than a specific place,” said Bobbi Walker, owner of the gallery. “Visitors have been surprised at how this exhibit slows time down a bit while they’re here.”

Featuring the work of Elaine Coombs, Carol Browning, Theresa Clowes, Cara Enteles, Mona Ray and Derrick Breidenthal, Common Ground is on display at Denver’s Walker Fine Art, 300 W. 11th Avenue, Suite A, through Sept. 19. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

In the works on display, guests view pieces in a variety of mediums - including in mark-making, gestural painting and sculptural construction - that evoke familiar scenes without being specific. It’s easy to think one has shared the very view the artist has conjured, no matter where the viewer comes from.

“My art is not a window but a vessel that contains my dreams, experiences, emotions and spirit. The paintings pull me in to the vast landscapes of color, pattern and shape,” wrote Browning in her artist statement. “I often think of my paintings as visual symphonies on canvas, an expression in mark-making that emphasize the rhythms of life.”

As gallery manager Libby Garon explains it, the vividness of the colors and familiarity they evoke serve as balm for those who see them.

“The title ‘Common Ground’ is a play on words. While this is a contemporary landscape exhibition, the title is about interconnection and unification. We believe art has the power to do that,” she added. “The works allow us to see the world through the eyes of creatives, and it’s a very healing place to be. We want to contribute to people’s healing in any way we can.”

Common Ground is the gallery’s second exhibit since its phased reopening, and so far, people have been eager to get back into the gallery. The opening for Common Ground sold out, and Walker hosted a very successful event that gathered collectors for an evening focused on how collecting artwork can evoke a similar feeling of traveling. Whether that’s being swept up in a narrative, or the dynamic composition of a piece, they think art can take viewers somewhere. And the gallery is open to the public, plus Walker and Garon have kept their art consulting services going and available.

For those who aren’t yet interested in going to the gallery but still want to experience the works, Garon and staff have worked to create a dynamic online experience. There are video tours and spotlights of the artists which provide insight into their inspirations and work styles. It’s an immersive experience and very visually welcoming.

“We’re learning and improving, and with each exhibit the online version gets better,” Garon said. “We’ve taken lemons and made lemonade by really pushing forward our digital presence.”

While the world still works on the pandemic situation, Walker Fine Art is dedicated to avenues that allow people to receive inspiration and comfort from the artists they’re working to showcase. The early successes serving as guideposts as the situation develops.

“I’m still riding high on the magic of the gatherings we’ve had,” Walker said. “While everyone is slowing down, it’s a good time to tell people the story of art.”

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