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  • Bolder Boulder

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, the San Antonio-based curator Patty Ortiz invited me to participate in a ten person group show at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art this May and I happily accepted! For this exhibit Ortiz requested two "really big" wall installations and asked that I dream big and create wall works that spanned upwards of six to seven feet in width. A little daunting to move a good three feet beyond my comfort zone and well beyond any size work that I have created before, but I took on the challenge. With seven full days in Colorado I set out to make the best and BIGGEST works to date and had a blast doing it!

    Founded in 1972 by a group of local artists, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) is one of Colorado’s premier venues for the exploration of contemporary art. BMoCA provides enriching experiences for nearly 30,000 regional, national, and international visitors annually through innovative exhibitions and engaging programs for all audiences. In 1976 the organization moved to its current location in downtown Boulder, a 1906 historic landmark building that once served as a warehouse. From the minute I walked into the space, I could feel nothing but good energy and was so excited to get to jump on the walls nestled in the same gallery as the incredibly talented Penelope Umbrico and Matthew Chambers.

    What I expected when planning for this installation was long days of quick decisions and sore legs from climbing up and down ladders, but what I didn't expect was how much fun I was going to have with the curator Patty (seen below), her assistant Yvonne Montoya and the other visiting artists flown in to install.

    Man Bartlett (above) was one of those artists and during his short stint of installation in the gallery before jetting back to NYC, he and I had numerous thoughtful and considerate conversations about the art world over delicious Boxcar Coffee Roaster pour overs. Man is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in New York. His diverse practice includes drawing, collage, video, performance and digital projects that use online platforms as outlets for playful yet subversive social critique. My favorite work of his in our show together is called RAGA/CHAKRAa continuous 24-hour cycle over six phases to incorporate psychoacoustic binaural audio, The Schumann Resonance, crowd-sourced messages of people describing their surroundings, recordings of clandestine numbers stations, traditional Mongolian throat singing, analog and digital synthesizers, and more.

    We also bonded over our stay in one of the most bizarre artist accommodations I have ever been hosted in named SWOON. While there we got to meet the artist Berndnaut Smilde, most famous for his cloud making, who was just finishing up a short residency in Boulder where he was invited to make a rainbow of all things.

    Back in the galleries, days were spent listening to super loud Kate Bush and dancing on top of ladders as the two works finally began taking shape. Informed by the rainy cool mountain air, the emphasis on the new age and mystical "hippie" culture of Boulder and the dawning of summer, the completed works hold snippets of mushrooms from horticulture diaries, glossy images of crystals and bright and bold swaths of deep greens and lilacs.

    At the opening, I was introduced to so many wonderful people and had the pleasure of talking about my work in the context of the show's title Flatlander and its exploration of how our compulsive relationship with the flat screen and the Internet has changed our view of the world. Ironically, many of the people I met during the reception came up to me because they follow me here or along my Instagram adventures, their interests sparked by images of my work they found while google searching or what have you. It was certainly wonderful to share the work in person and get to show of the not-so flat aspects of the work that they surely miss when glancing at it on the digital screen.

    My week in Boulder was filled with Farmer's Markets, more than one meal at Oak and The Kitchen Next Door. Multiple coffees and croissants at Boxcar, the best sandwich on gluten-free bread I have ever had at Cure, several bottles of Rose Bud kombucha from the Boulder company Upstart, and so many wonderful meals with art patrons of both Denver and Boulder. A HUGE HUGE shout out to Patty Ortiz and her company Patty Ortiz Unincorporated for curating such a fantastic show, the amazing staff at BMoCA and to San Antonio's Liberty Bar for their sponsorship of the exhibit! To close out my whirlwind tour of Boulder and Denver, I hit up the brand new Clyfford Still Museum and just stood in awe of the gorgeous colors and paint strokes within the museum's perforated concrete ceiling that diffuse natural light just perfectly creating the most terrific environment for art viewing. It was the best way ever to end an art experience and I jumped on a plane back to Austin so rejuvenated.

    If Colorado is calling you this summer, please check out the show at BMoCA up now through September 13!