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'Upcycled' art can also raise spirits, consciousness

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By Sara Miller

Spring cleaning is just around the corner. Many people will clean out their closets and garages, tossing rusty tools and scratched CDs into the trash. The artists at the Evergreen Gallery have a different take on “trash.” The old adage says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”


“Reclaiming Art,” the latest show at the Evergreen Gallery, features artists who use recycled, reclaimed and found objects in their artwork. Your trash might just be the treasure these artists need to create their latest “upcycled” piece.
The ideas of recycling and upcycling have been around for years, but artists are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to making “green” aesthetically pleasing. “Reclaiming Art,” running March 1 through April 26 at the Evergreen Gallery, takes the idea of upcycling to a new realm in presenting the work of artists who create both fine and functional art from reclaimed, salvaged and recycled materials.
“We try to create shows that highlight what the artists represented at our gallery are already doing so well,” says Lisa Gibson, co-director of the Evergreen Gallery. “ ‘Reclaimed Art’ allows us to do just that, since we have some wonderful artists who are creating all sorts of beautiful art out of found or discarded objects.”
The show will highlight the work of eight artists who reclaim their materials from disparate trash heaps. Nancy Larner is a three-dimensional artist who specializes in “vintage, discarded, inspired metal sculptures.” Larner’s whimsical pieces have titles such as “A Spring in My Step.” In one such sculpture, “A Few Loose Screws,” the body is made from an old metal screw box, the arms and legs are created from discarded screws and nuts, and the head is a ballast into which one would screw a light bulb.
Carol Baum is a Boulder artist who recycles CDs and computer parts and fashions them into colorful and functional clocks that add a little funk to any décor. Arlyss Grosz is a fused-glass artist who uses old wine bottles to make glass cheese trays. If you are a fan of Evergreen's own Creekside Cellars, Grosz uses bottles with Creekside labels to create cheese trays with a local flair.
Wendy Sollod collects vintage and reused kitchen gadgets such as colanders, spatulas and frying pans to create her art. Using polymer clay, Sollod creates faces for her kitchen creations and fashions anthropomorphic sculptures with personality.
Other reclaimed creations in the show include decoupage treasure boxes created with found and recycled materials by Julie Halvorson; handmade silvery jewelry with vintage findings such as typewriter keys and old dice created by Deanna Hood; mixed-media art using reclaimed lamp bases and found objects by Gwen Pina; and hoop-skirt dolls fashioned with found materials and scavenged vertebra bones by MJ Butler.
“Reclaimed Art” is one of many exciting shows that make up a busy calendar for the Evergreen Gallery during its 25th year of operation. All the shows will culminate with a 25th anniversary sale in October.
For more information, visit www.theevergreengallery.com or call 303-674-4871.