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Monday, October 15, 2012

Art Conversation @ St. George Art Museum (St. George, Utah: Oct 18)


OCTOBER 18TH, 2012

Spike Ress & Sue Cotter – Sharing a Love of Travel & Art 
For twenty-three years we have journeyed together through different countries, a variety of cultures, diverse landscapes and the up and down adventures of life. Sometimes two artists in one household create tension but we have found great compatibility between our vastly different artistic visions. We share common goals and many common passions, among them our dedication to making art and our great love of travel.
In this exhibit we hope to share with others a full range of work we have done over the years all inspired by travel experiences. We fully agree with Mark Twain when he said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness...” Wherever we travel we try to learn something of the history, culture and language. It all adds to the quality of our experiences and our artwork. As can be seen by the results in this exhibit, our approaches are quite different. Though we may be drawing inspiration from the same scene or location, we arrive at finished work via alternate routes.” Spike pursues a fresh, immediate response to something visual. Sue looks beneath surface appearances. While Spike paints directly on location, Sue often writes, sketches, collects found objects, seeks stories and details she will later assemble into a symbolic whole. “We respect, admire and support each other's work and believe strongly that all artists deserve support for their unique visions, not only from the general public but from fellow artists.

is a mixed media artist, letterpress printer, artist book maker. She was born in Kalispell, Montana in 1955 and grew up moving first to upstate New York, then southern Idaho and finally Las Vegas, Nevada. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three years on an a full art scholarship, then went on to graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1983 with a B.A. in studio art, painting emphasis. Four years later she returned to UNR to study letterpress printing with Robert Blesse at the Black Rock Press. There she began making limited edition and one-of-a-kind Artist Books. She moved to Utah in 1990 and now lives in Parowan where she has her own letterpress studio and continues to explore the artistic possibilities of the book form. She travels as much as possible, seeking inspiration from experiences in both the natural and human world.

Born in Long Island, NY in 1948, Spike Ress had early exposure to the world of commercial art through visits to his maternal grandfather's studio at Grand Central Station. Though his Air Force family moved from place to place, these early impressions never left him. Ending up in Roswell, New Mexico in the 1960s, Ress began his art career at the age of sixteen working at a local sign company. With his strong interest in art and a passion for learning he quickly gained the skills needed to advance into ever better positions in new locations. He eventually became art director for a major sign company in Las Vegas, Nevada.  In spite of success as a commercial artist, Ress felt the pull of fine art ever since he first held a brush. Weekends and vacations were devoted to pursuit of his own artistic development, traveling with paints and camping gear to find the diverse landscapes that inspire his work. In 1978 he left commercial art to pursue painting full-time. Ress's interest in painting was initiated with watercolor, a medium he still finds challenging and exciting. After gaining national acclaim as a watercolor artist, Ress began to add oils to his repertoire. “I find the contrast between the way one must handle the paint and brushes in oil versus watercolor stimulates me to more creative and expressive use of both media.” Today he works comfortably in both watercolor and oil but always with a focus on landscape. Although he knows and loves the land and light of the American Southwest above all, the challenge of new subject matter in different parts of the world is always rejuvenating. With a wanderlust born of his transient childhood, Ress still seeks adventurous travel whenever possible. “No matter where I am, I try to respond with direct honesty to what is before me. It is my aim to capture the way a scene feels, not just the way a scene looks. Whether it's bright light of a hot Utah desert or a misty cold day in Alaska, I hope to communicate that feeling to the viewer.”  Both artists now living in Parowan have long lists of awards and exhibits.  The thematic nature of their show is divided into four installations:  Mexico, American West, Alaska, and Europe.  Each grouping will be a combination of two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces.   

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