Each year, the American Art Awards select 25 galleries with different strengths. In March 2013, Mirada Fine Art was named the AAA’s Best in Choice in Colorado and one the top 25 galleries in the nation.
“Mirada Fine Art has impressed us with their history, drive and unique trajectory,” says Thom Bierdz, president of the American Art Awards.
When one looks up "trajectory" in the dictionary, the definition is simple: “The path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces.” While Mirada has its feet firmly grounded in the renovated log building in Indian Hills, the contemporary gallery is definitely moving under the action of given forces. These forces are the ever changing tastes and talents of the art world. Mirada’s owner, Steve Sonnen, has worked hard to keep up with the vast talents of artists in the West and to select pieces for Mirada that are not seen anywhere else in Colorado.
“Today it would be hard for people outside of Colorado to argue that we don’t have a lively art scene," Sonnen says. "The gallery scene has been continuously growing as well. Just the other day, a couple walked into our gallery and told me they were on an art trip across the western states. They’d been to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Scottsdale and Santa Fe. They said they were more impressed with the quality of art in Colorado galleries than they were with the work in Santa Fe. I wasn’t surprised. What’s available in Colorado to art collectors is really amazing.”
What is available at Mirada to art collectors this month is a spotlight show that features a unique match-up of three-dimensional work. The “Heart, Wax & Stone” exhibit, which opens at Mirada on Friday, Sept. 20, showcases two artists whose creative processes are dissimilar but whose work causes spontaneous emotion from collectors.
Jill Shwaiko has a formal art education and studies ancient civilizations, and her work has been inspired by the petroglyphs so prevalent around her home in New Mexico. Mark Yale Harris abandoned a successful career in sustainable urban development to pursue a passion to create wildlife and figurative sculpture and now calls the mountains of Colorado home. Shwaiko’s whimsical sculptures are originally created in wax before they are cast in bronze. Harris chooses to initially carve his work in stone, and then casts some in bronze as well.
“What ties these seemingly diverse artists together is their intense desire for their art to derive an immediate emotional response,” says Sonnen.
This emotional response is perhaps derived from the artists’ choice of subject. Both Shwaiko and Harris seem to be drawn to the animal world. Harris’ most iconic work portrays stylized bears and buffalo — the creatures’ rounded backs and lumbering frames wrapping around one another in whimsical sculptures such as “Bear Tango” and “Unbearable.” Shwaiko sculpts bighorn sheep whose drum- and square-shaped bodies render the animals proud, gleeful or downtrodden. Whether it is a bear catching a butterfly or a sheep providing transportation to a stowaway bird on its back, the sculptures of Shwaiko and Harris are infused with personality.
The work of these two artists does have a unique trajectory. It is the emotional resonance of all of the work at Mirada that sets the pieces and the gallery on a trajectory straight to the collector's heart. “Heart Wax Stone” begins on Friday, Sept. 20, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Mirada Fine Art Gallery. The exhibition runs through Oct. 27. For more information, visit www.miradafineart.com or call 303-697-9006.
Jill Shwaiko & Mark Yale Harris: Heart, Wax & Stone
Opening reception: Friday, Sept. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Exhibition: Sept. 21 through Oct. 27
At Mirada Fine Art Gallery, 5490 Parmalee Gulch Road in Indian Hills
Visit www.miradafineart.com or call 303-697-9006