July 2017: Lila McClellan & Muffin Ray
The SteamPlant Event Center is hosting two art exhibitions this July. Lila McClellan’s landscape paintings, pastels and photographs will be shown in the Diesslin Gallery, and Muffin Ray’s Leonard Cohen Radio, a collection of large-scale, mixed media on textile assemblage paintings, will be displayed in the Paquette Gallery.
Both artists will welcome the public at a reception in each of the galleries on Saturday, July 8 from 5 – 7 pm and will speak about their work at the Creative Mixer on Thursday, July 13 from 5:30 – 7 pm. Refreshments will be provided at both events.
Lila McClellan has lived in the mountains of the southwest for forty-five years where she enjoys taking photographs and painting landscapes that portray a sense of peace and balance in her studio, Wolf’s Head, in Coaldale, CO.
After painting off and on her entire life and graduating with a BA in art education from SUNY at New Paltz, NY, McClellan moved to New Mexico in 1971 and then to Colorado in 1995 where she currently resides. “Hiking in the mountains of the southwest for 45 years has filled me with wonder and a deep sense of peace within,” she said. “Sharing this experience through my photography and painting is my highest purpose in life. May you be as inspired as I am by all of the beauty that surrounds us in the natural world.”
According to art critic Marc Awodey in his review, “Materials Witness,” “Muffin Ray transforms vintage quilt patches, found tapestries and other sumptuous yet cast-off textiles into broad fields of texture and color. She creates deep, mysterious surfaces soaked in resin, encaustic and oil-based media that preserve embroidered textures like primeval insects in amber. Then she juxtaposes areas of painting, frequently floral but sometimes wholly gestural, with the glazed and stained fabrics.”
Several canvases in Ray’s Leonard Cohen Radio series “reveal painted or stenciled words, letters and geometric patterns buried in thickly layered glazes. Like the patterns in the textiles,” observed Awodey. “Ray’s painted flowers and buds hark back to Victorian design. Her flowers are reminiscent of the most delicate still lifes of Odilon Redon (1840-1916), or classic art nouveau motifs. Ray pushes technical boundaries to invent a hybrid art — part assemblage and part painting — that carries viewers down a meandering sensory stream. Her paint handling echoes the art-historical trends of the last hundred years, while her discarded, readapted textiles seem to bear the ghosts of the former lives they’ve touched.”
“Leonard Cohen poetry and lyrics have been somewhat a score accompaniment throughout my life,” Ray acknowledged. “A few years ago, I lost someone dear to me, and had a difficult time returning to my vivid life. I always had Leonard Cohen Radio on and I began to channel and process my thoughts through his language, and it helped bring me back to my own language, hence, my own paintings.”
Muffin Ray lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts, home of the oldest art colony in the United States, for forty years. “I lived across the street from Robert Motherwell and have Mark Rothko’s old pot belly stove,” she recalled. “It’s a very exciting place to make art.”
Ray raised her four children (whom she refers to as her “best works”) between Provincetown and Northern Vermont: “They are all distinctly authentic and original— they can fix a truck, build a chicken coop, and make and print lithographs all in a day’s work!”
Ray came to visit Colorado and stay with her childhood friend for a few weeks about three years ago. She decided to stay and make artwork in the west where she has a studio in Howard, CO.
Ray also serves on the Articipate board, teaches art, has a Holistic Health and Counseling Center, and has made good friends here. “I am enjoying the magnitude of the landscape and the raw beauty and lore of western life,” she said. “I am thinking I live here now.”
Muffin Ray Artwork is represented locally by Royal Contemporary Gallery in Florence, CO.
Second Saturday Artists’ Reception: Saturday, July 8, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Please join Lila and Muffin for an artists’ reception on Saturday, July 8 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Free hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine will be served.
Creative Mixer: Thursday, July 13, 5:30 pm-7:00 pm
Join the Salida Council for the Arts and the Salida Creative District on Thursday, July 13 in the Paquette Gallery for a fine and festive social hour from 5:30 to 7 pm. Munchies are served, the cash bar is open, live music will be playing, Lila and Muffin will speak about their respective work, and you’ll hear news about the many creative projects being launched.
Join us, bring your friends, meet some new ones, and, if you have news about your own artistic endeavor, you’re invited to step up on the “Soapbox” to share the excitement.