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Anderson Ranch’s Open House exhibits old work and new

Artists from all over the country, and all over the world, come to Snowmass Village for residencies at Anderson Ranch. There’s a wide body of work to take in, from previous residents and current ones.


Nancy Wilhelms is the executive director of Anderson Ranch. She’s standing in the main gallery, staring at a pink, sparkly bear, made out of metal, and sitting on a turquoise ball. The whole thing is a huge sculpture, probably 13 feet high. Wilhelms and I are looking at a collection of work from the 2015 artists-in-residence, which is on display for a public open house.


We walk over to another piece: Nine sheets of white paper arranged in a grid. The sheets are punched, poked and ripped subtly, and not-so-subtly.


“I don’t know if I’m looking at the patterns of wildlife through snow,  or something that came from another galaxy,” she said.

If the work on display wasn’t created at Anderson Ranch, Wilhelms said it was at least inspired by the artist’s time here. It’s a coveted place to be. There are two residencies at Anderson Ranch each year. Several hundred artists apply and 14 are chosen. If you get it, you get 10 weeks.


“Which is enough time for some people, but for me, apparently, it’s not,” said David Zuttermeister, a sculptor from Los Angeles and a current artist-in-residence. He’ll display unfinished work at the open house. It’s not that he hasn’t been productive. In fact, he tried working with wood during his residency, which he rarely does.


He said spending time with other artists has led to some important discoveries for him.


“Working in ceramics, something I never thought about was that touch is super important,” he said.


In the art world he’s accustomed to, the onlooker isn’t normally invited to touch the work. He’s bucking this.


“I want to make something that people really do touch, that you’re explicitly invited to touch,” he said.  


Wilhelms and I also paid a visit to photographer AsiyaAlsharabi. She’s from Yemen, although she’s been living in Virginia for the past few years and now in Snowmass Village.


She has a bunch of photos of Yemeni women. The society is a conservative one, so Alsharabi had to come up with a way to “show their outfit, but not their identity,” which she does by taking a photo with film, developing the negative, then painting over it. It’s a technique she learned and practiced here at Anderson Ranch.


She shows me her favorite photo: A woman is covered from head to toe, and a little bit of her hair is showing.


“To a lot of people, it looks like a ghost, but behind it, there’s a beautiful woman,” she said.  


All this work and more will be on display beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at Anderson Ranch. Visitors are free to look at what’s on display not only in the gallery, but also in the studios, and talk with the artists themselves.

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