Artists find ‘Common Ground’ and friendship through Sister Cities exchange program
An artist exchange between two sister cities is the impetus behind a new exhibition at the Red Brick Center for the Arts.
“Common Ground,” which opened last week, is the product of a longstanding relationship between Aspen, Colorado and Bariloche, Argentina. Both featured artists capture life in a mountain community, though distinct styles and mediums distinguish each one’s work from the other.
Deborah Jones, from the Roaring Fork Valley, has created a series of small mixed-media collages on 8-inch square canvases, inspired by her visit to Buenos Aires and Bariloche last year. In a combination of still life and abstraction, Jones depicts fruit and pasta, leaves and lakes, cracks on the sidewalk, the month of February.
Meanwhile, Soledad Escudero, from Bariloche, captures her environs through performance arts. Videos and photographs document her treks through the mountains of Argentina, camouflaged in cloaks made of lichen and sticks.
At the opening in Aspen, Escudero donned a new creation: A headband of leaves and a shawl made of pinecones, foraged from Jones’ property on Basalt Mountain, which Escudero planned to leave as a gift to the community.
“I wanted to make a piece which reflected the outdoors of Aspen and also (was an act of) gratitude, in a way,” Escudero said.
But this program is about more than the final product, or even the creative process itself. For Escudero, friendship and fellowship with other artists has been a highlight.
“Artists, sometimes we are weird people, different, you know?” Escudero said, laughing as she gestured to her foraged outfit at the opening.
“It’s nice to share with other artists our weirdness, being able to talk about these things that we share,” Escudero added.
Jones agrees. While the exchange did give her the chance to find inspiration and make art in a different country, it’s the sense of camaraderie she appreciates most.
“We are of a particular ilk, artists,” Jones said at the opening.
“It’s just like-mind, like-heart, like-soul,” she added. “You have this creative part of you, and you’re with these people who understand.”
“Common Ground” will be up at the Red Brick Center for the Arts until Jan. 10.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct a typo in the first photo's caption. It was taken on Oct. 12, 2023.