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Artists paint the Art Center at Fuller Lodge RED

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By Special to the Monitor

“Red Dominant” features two- and three-dimensional works in many mediums including fiber, colored pencil, photography, acrylic, oil, watercolor, stained glass, wood and pastel, all with the color red foremost. Because the show’s guidelines center on a color, artists have exercised a great deal of creativity, such as in a trio of red fused glass-topped tables by Trish Reed and a face-shaped mirror framed with red wooden “hair” by Gerrit Van Ness.Art is hard-pressed to be considered art without color, but artists have long challenged themselves by limiting their palettes. The artists of “Red Dominant” join post-modern or minimalist artists like Yves Klein, Ad Reinhardt and John Virtue—all painters known for restricting themselves to limited color. Yves Klein even patented a color of blue he called “International Klein Blue” that he used almost exclusively in many of his later paintings.Like Klein, Reinhardt and Virtue, many of the artists in the show have restricted themselves to monochromatic content—variations of a red hue. “Red Moose” by Tom Alvarez, “Red Face” by Beth Ferguson, the fiber art of Renee Brainard Gentz and beaded jewelry by Rebecca Estep all explore a monochromatic palette. Others, however, have submitted works like Virginia Lee Lierz’s “Red Leaf,” which depicts a single red leaf against a green background. Because the red leaf is what the viewer notices first, the color red is dominant in the photograph without being the only color in the piece.Other artists have explored the function or meaning of color—“Red by Day” and “Red by Night” by Sue Ellen Hains may be viewed together as a study of how red interacts differently with white than with black. “Red Head 1” by David Delano is a juxtaposition of a beautiful redhead with a partially red background that challenges our ideas of how red is defined.Centering “Red Dominant” on a color also allowed artists to explore the many associations that red carries with it. Red is a great color for a January show, as it links the traditional red and green of Christmas with the lovers and hearts of Valentine’s. Of course, red also goes with the patriotism and fireworks that accompany the fourth of July. Red has cultural significance beyond the holidays as well; it is also associated with a diverse assortment of concrete things like stop signs and fire or with abstract ideas and emotions like energy and passion. In the show, batik prints by Gloria Sharp explore the vibrancy and movement of red, whereas the stark silhouette of a bonsai tree against a red background by Midge Tosten Kilgour prompts the viewer to stop and stare.Some of the things we associate with red occur in nature—photographs of “Tomatoes” by Jerry Beguin, “Red Paintbrush” by Robert Epley, and the painting “Red Apples” by Asja Kornfeld depict the variations of red that occur in the world around us. The fall season also offers ample subject matter, as depicted in “Berry” by Don Hoffman and “Autumn Reds” by Jill Boronda Rushton. Red is also linked to contemporary usage—for example, brands like Target (a store); (RED)e,,/(PRODUCT) REDe,, (a fund designed to fights AIDS); and Red Hat (a computer operating system) all feature red prominently. Mike Austin explores this side of cultural red recognition with his “A Red Fender” and “New-Fangled Contraption,” featuring a guitar and a car, respectively.Red also carries with it connotations of religious or mythical significance, as exemplified by “Firebird” and “Fire Temple Shrine” by Elyn Aviva, who incorporates antique fabric, ribbons, wire, paper clay, yarn and sequins into her fiber sculptures. Robert Estep explores both the cultural and the religious sides of red with his two paintings, “Gentlemen’s Club” and “Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel.”“Red Dominant” begins Friday and continues through Feb. 16 at the Art Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting visual art and art education in Los Alamos and the surrounding areas. The Art Center’s Portal Gallery will feature the work of photographer Hari Viswanathan in a show titled, “Colorful Visions of the World.” The show features vivid landscapes and close-ups shot at locations around the world. Viswanathan uses digital technology to seamlessly stitch photographs together to create detailed panoramas that capture the grandeur of color and scale.For more information, call the Art Center at 662-9331, or stop by 2132 Central Avenue in Los Alamos from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.