May 12th from 5:00 - 8:00pm
Light and shadow work in tandem to illuminate and define the world around us, and yet, when we look closer we can observe that light contains infinitely more than meets the eye. Much like our personhood, something that is so easily split into categories actually bursts forth with infinite potential.
This is the impetus for Prismatic, an exhibition celebrating the queer community across the Front Range for Pride month, most often celebrated in June. This exhibition was curated along a simple idea that allowed breadth for personal interpretation: color and space.
Often confined to queer art showcases, gay rights exhibitions, queer material or sexuality-themed shows, The Dairy intentionally called artists who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community to display the layers of richness within their own personal practices’ with the only qualification being color. Some artists choose to dive deep within their sexuality and unearth injustices present within our current political climate, while other artists choose to meditate on the land, exploring materials and creatures that connect with the human experience.
Using the layout of the gallery spaces as a formal template, Prismatic is divided into two sections: Black & White or Color Spectrum. The MacMillan Family Lobby, Polly Addison Gallery, and Hand-Rudy Gallery contain works curated with a lack of color. Artists invited to participate in this section of the exhibition focus on identity/sexuality, commercial consumption, and the natural world primarily.
Moving into the formal McMahon Gallery, white light is split apart, the brilliance of light is fully observed, and the color spectrum becomes evident and individual. Selecting works from a public open call with the seven gallery walls in mind, each wall creates one section of a larger rainbow spectrum and encompasses a broad range of material and content from artists across Colorado and beyond.
Tyler Alpern, Finley Baker, Shaunie Berry, Scottie Burgess, Carey Candrian, San Canessa, Dagny Chika, Sarah Darlene, JUHB, Jesse Egner, Levi Fischer, Kate Geman, Nathan Hall, Hudson Hatfield, Sophie Hill, Grace Hoag, Kora Hope, Padyn Humble, Talia Johns, Alli Lemon, Cherish Marquez, Robert Martin, Dez Merworth, Nems, Zachariah Rampulla, Alexander Richard Wilson, Tracy Stegall, Joel Swanson, Louis Trujillo, Chloe Wilwerding
Dagny Chika, Yellow as in cowardly, yellow like the back of my hand
Premiere of Just Us: The longing and hope of LGBTQ people
May 21st @ 4:00pm
Directed by Exhibiting Artist Carey Candrian
Running Time: 60 minutes
Stigma and discrimination take a toll on people’s lives and health. The effect on people who identify as LGBTQ is profound: a lifespan that is up to 12 years shorter than straight people. In 2022 alone, over 250 bills were introduced to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people. In 2021 — in the midst of the pandemic — more than half (56%) of lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people experienced discrimination from a healthcare professional. “Just Us” is a film about the challenges LGBTQ people face on a daily basis. And the humanity and strength of this community – a community that has been whispered and shouted at, legislated against and marginalized – and all the while, shows what courage, resilience, and belonging really look like.
Black and White Galleries
Portrait of Nathan Hall
Portrait of the contemporary composer Nathan Hall. My original drawing captures his likeness and the painting, based on the drawing, seeks to visually capture the essence and layers of his music as it envelops his abstracted figure fusing the composer and his music into one.
Tyler Alpern (he/him)
I am an artist, painter and social instigator holed up in a rustic log cabin in Colorado that I’ve transformed into a jewel box of curated treasures. My artwork reveals that I am not frightened by the unusual, and embrace unconventional beauty that I find in many different places from roadside litter to the nuance of a once soaring voice in decline.. As an amateur historian and pop culture archaeologist, my original research into lessor known but amazing gay artists and performers has revealed fascinating stories that sometimes are documented and retold in my paintings and have been recounted by others in several books and articles.
My own likeness anonymously appeared wrapped around the front and back covers of James Spada’s book “The Romantic Male Nude.” and in several portraits by Don Bachardy. My portrait of Yma Sumac was featured on the cover of her biography. The bracelet she is seen wearing on the Peruvian stamp honoring the centenary of her birth now graces my own arm. I’ve authored some books and had numerous exhibitions of my paintings. The Library of Congress has preserved a digital archive of my work and career because of “its cultural and historic significance.”
Scottie Burgess is a native to Colorado. He received dual BFA’s with emphases in Digital Design and Sculpture/Transmedia at the University of Colorado Denver, graduating with honors. Burgess earned a scholarship to study at the Bemis School of Art as a child. Later, his interests took him to explore other creative disciplines, including philosophy and music technology, revolving around the transpersonal ritualistic nature of rave and club culture manifested through electronically driven live sound. Burgess’s current creative practice is predominantly visual installation and sculptural based, ranging from the digital to the physical. He is currently a resident artist at RedLine Contemporary Art Center, was an artist fellow at the MOA: Museum of Outdoor Arts, and is active in the performance iron casting community. His work has been exhibited nationally, including in the Biennial 600: Textile/Fiber at the AMoA, Amarillo Museum of Art, has been honored to be part of the meaningful pro-feminist exhibition Pink Progression, and has been featured in publications including The Guardian and Colossal.
Eye to Eye
This exhibit is about bravery.
These are your neighbors, your friends, your relatives, your colleagues, your patients.
You see them — and others like them — every day.
They are older women.
They are part of the LGBTQ community.
And they are brave.
The women you see on these walls grew up when coming out meant risking their health, their jobs, their housing, their families, their friends. To stay safe, many stayed silent for years. Stereotypes and stigma filled the vacuum of silence.
They’ve been whispered about, shouted at, insulted, rejected, isolated.
But here they are, strong and brave.
Look into their eyes.
There are approximately 2.4 million LGBTQ older adults living in the U.S. right now. The women you see here are taking a risk to break the silence — to be seen as they really are. To show you that being openly LGBTQ is profoundly human and courageous. They are unraveling the stigma that was formed without knowing them. They are building a kinder world: a world where being LGBTQ is safe and accepted.
Things have improved, but undercurrents of misunderstandings, assumptions, and discrimination still exist. Seventy-six percent of LGBTQ older adults fear having adequate support as they age. Thousands still experience discrimination, harassment, and abuse when seeking or living in senior housing. Even today, there are no consistent federal anti-discrimination protections for people who are LGBTQ. Without such protections, half of all LGBTQ older adults in the U.S. live in a state where they can be legally denied access to housing and public accommodations. Things are even worse if you are trans or your skin is not white.
We all play a role in building a kinder world for everyone.
LGBTQ people are part of the fabric of our communities. Let’s make them feel welcome. You will learn so much.
Carey Candrian (she/her)
I’m an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and on the National Board of Directors at GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality. I came out to myself when I was 16 and didn’t tell my family and friends until I was 28. It’s still hard.
I interviewed nearly three dozen older LGBTQ women (59-85 years old) during the first year of COVID-19 to understand their health needs and the challenges as they age. Since 2014, I’ve been dedicated to advancing health equity for older LGBTQ communities.
As I was taking these pictures, one of the participants met me outside with a sheet of paper that she had hanging in her office. “This reminds me of what you’re doing,” she said. The sign read: “The bravest choice you can make is to be yourself.” I did this exhibit because I wanted more people to meet these women. To look in their eyes. To be in the same room and wonder, how many other older adults we know might be silent about this fundamental part of their lives?
Why do we make it so difficult for people to be who they really are?
And how can we make it better — safer — for them to speak out, and be heard?
As a water- based and site-specific artist, I am drawn to the fluid, non-linear nature of water and its ability to connect us to the subconscious. I view water as a source of DNA, a collaborator and a documenter of time. In my work, I seek to capture its energy and movement, allowing it to guide the flow of the ink and create unique visual records of our interactions.
Through my art, I explore the relationship between water, the subconscious, and the conscious mind. I am interested in how this dance can tap us into an emotional landscape, allowing us to connect with our deepest selves and to navigate the complexities of the human experience.
My work is also deeply connected to the future of regeneration and sovereignty. I believe that water is a fundamental source of life, and that it is essential for the health and well-being of our planet and its inhabitants. I strive to create a visual representation of this connection, inviting viewers to consider their own relationship to water and to their inner-verse.
My process is intuitive and improvisational, allowing the materials and my own emotional state to guide the creation of each piece. I am drawn to the unpredictability and fluidity of water, and I follow the art that reflects this.
San Canessa (they/them) (1988) is an abstract painter from El Salvador working with water, ink and yupo paper.
Their work is an intuitive dance, an improvisation between material and memory, a process of internal and external cartography in which emotional, neurological, and spiritual landscapes are surveyed.
San explores water as DNA, collaborating and documenting time through its currents, queering landscapes and capturing the vibration and energy of water in motion. The conducting of liquid and ink, resolve in a visual record of where and how the two have been.
The way to explore the inner world with no boundaries is through liquid and water. Their work is an invitation to commune with Water as a vessel of self-discovery and journey into the collective subconscious.
San’s studies in psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies inSan Francisco, CA and postgraduate degree in plastic arts at the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland have been vehicles of evolution for their visual and contemplative proposal.
‘Contract’ from the installation You’re Not the Boss of Me
This piece is from a larger installation about the tension between being a classically-trained composer and a queer artist interested in sexuality and kink. For this work (and accompanying soundtrack), I imagined that I drew up a consent agreement between myself and an instrument as a living being–in this case a harpsichord. I’m having a dialogue of consent between myself and the instrument I’m playing. This is what I want from you. What do you want to give me? The music notation is the written agreement that we follow together.
Usually my works are directed outward to learn about the world around me. In this case I looked inward to find empowerment, working to overcome shame to reach for something beautiful.
Composer and artist Nathan Hall (he/him) uses music and sound as an artistic medium to explore a variety of fields including science, nature, the fine arts, history, and sexuality. There is an emotional resonance present in all of Nathan’s works, from his traditional classical pieces for chamber ensembles to experimental electronic pieces, sound sculptures, and multimedia projects. Nathan’s drive for making site-specific work is tied to his passions for travel and cultural exchange. Other works are inspired by the composer’s sexuality and experiences as a gay man, creating a special intimacy between performer, place, and audience.
Nathan is a former Fulbright Fellow to Iceland, a McKnight Visiting Composer, and he holds his Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from CU Boulder. His works have been performed and exhibited in 13 countries and 21 US States, and his grants and residencies include work with FEMA, Mattress Factory, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Denver Art Museum’s inaugural Creative in Residence, and Joshua Tree National Park. Nathan is current Adjunct faculty in Composition at DU and in Music Production at RMCAD. He is President of the Board of Playground Ensemble, and lives in Denver with his husband Andy.
Alli Lemon is a multimedia artist living in Denver, CO. Originally from Memphis, TN, she holds a BFA from the University of Memphis and an MFA from The University of Colorado Boulder. She was a Yale University Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellow in 2015. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and CU Boulder. In addition to her arts practice, she is a licensed cosmetologist working in Boulder.
More information coming soon!
Color Spectrum Gallery
Finley Baker (she/they) is a queer interdisciplinary artist and birdwatcher based in Colorado. They use printmaking, fibers, sculpture and time-based media to explore environment through the paths of memory and personal connection. Finley is currently focusing their research on the Great Plains and the Intermountain West.
Finley earned their BFA in Printmaking and Sculpture from the Metropolitan State University of Denver in Spring 2020 and is currently pursuing their Master of Arts in Art and Technology at The University of Oklahoma.
Long time positive light and rolling stone- I am a QTPOC artist residing in Denver, Colorado. My mission within my art is to depict and celebrate the unique essence and energy of diverse human figures and spirit. My work is also an ode to the various chapters of my own spiritual journey. I want viewers to experience how I see spirit energies through my eyes. Ethereal realities consisting of colorful energetic beings, dream-like images that invoke you to see the beauty in all people and things. I believe that life should be a celebration of our existence, spirit and the divine. All of my pieces reflect these sentiments. My art depicts gratitude for what individual essence each of us brings to this chaotic world- hopefully adding some stillness and appreciation to our narratives. If you look at my work and feel happy, excited, calm or your heart feels content- I have fulfilled my destiny in this world.
Art is self-care, art is medicine, art is a form of protest.
Shaunie Berry (she/her)
I grew up with a family who celebrated good black art, and it adorned the walls of my aunts, grandparents and loved ones. Paintings of beautiful black figures depicting the Black American experience. Church scenes, kids indulging in life’s curiosities, couples dancing in living rooms, country-scapes, neighborhood happenings from front porch stoops. Vivid saturated color, energetic scenes, an appreciation for regular life. Annie Lee and Forest Kirk commonly adorned our walls, and my mother collected any black illustrated children’s book she could get her teacher hands on. This very art would plant familiar images in my head from childhood that would ultimately affect my style as an adult. Color, texture, celebration and movement are common themes within my style. I have a love for rending people, experiences and energies through portrait work and ethereal landscapes. Oil pastel, acrylic and pen and ink are some of my most therapeutic mediums to work with.
I have a BFA in drawing and ceramics and went on to get my Masters in Public Health- Community Health Education. I currently have the honor of teaching social justice and social emotional learning concepts in my current position as Art Education Coordinator at RedLine Contemporary Art Center. I run various art programs in local schools and community organizations and adore the work I do. I have shown my art in various public spaces and have also completed murals for a handful of organizations and causes. I am a true believer in the power of community and art, and I also believe it should be accessible to all people. It is medicine and can be healing and empowering to the spirit. It can promote a regular sense of joy, relaxation and positive internal thoughts and confidence. It can accommodate one’s development and be an outlet for creativity and emotional expression. I strive to not only create visual work for people to enjoy, but I balance this task with connecting with communities and amplifying experiences.
Yellow as in cowardly, yellow like the back of my hand
Dagny Chika (she/they) is an artist, writer, and art educator. Her personal art practice is interdisciplinary, often centered around fibers and textiles, poetry, and printmaking. She is intent on using these mediums to explore mixed and woven identities, vast emotional landscapes, and the moment-by-moment processes of creating, inviting in both the personal and the universal.
Dagny has spent most of their life in the Pacific Northwest: growing up in the Seattle area and then attending Western Washington University where they studied both Creative Writing and Physics. Her current visual art practice is almost entirely community-taught by her beloved friends and neighbors. Her work has been published in Jeopardy Literary and Arts Magazine, Just Begin Magazine, The Nearness Project, and exhibited at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
Blue Shadow II
Rooted in abstraction, my current work uses recycled clothing and fabrics to explore how embodiment practices can support healing and transformation. The intuitive construction and abstract composition of each work speaks to the internal, emotional experiences of the Self, while the fabrics reference the external, tangible expressions of the body. As a queer artist, I explore different practices like hand stitching and gestural painting in conjunction with yoga and meditation, because they all are practices that require us to be in deep relationship with our bodies. This kind of embodiment and present moment awareness is what Rev. angel Kyoto williams talks about when they say “Everything I know about liberation, I learned from queerness.” Each creative or yogic practice acts as a bridge or portal between the internal and external through embodied, ritualized, or repetitive action. I found the tedious and slow process of hand sewing creates more spaciousness for that same kind of present moment awareness.
Denver-based artist Sarah Darlene explores the functionality of abstraction in self-transformation and healing. While she primarily identifies as a painter, Darlene often works beyond traditional painting methods by exploring new materials with an intuitive, gestural, and mindfulness-based approach. Her process is rooted in body awareness, femininity, and queer identity, which has been informed through her yoga practice and meditation training with author Rev. angel Kyoto williams. Darlene’s current work replaces paint with recycled clothing, some from her own closet, and uses meditative hand stitching to create “fabric paintings.” This series echoes Abstract Expressionist compositions and concepts while simultaneously referencing the body, meditation practice, and ritual.
Darlene holds a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Louisiana State University, and an Executive Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the University of Notre Dame. She studied at the New York Studio School under painter Graham Nickson in 2010, and became a member of Strangers Art Collective in Santa Fe, NM in 2015. Since moving to Denver, Sarah has collaborated with dozens of nonprofits to bring arts education and wellness programs to various communities across Colorado. Sarah served as an Artist in Residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver from 2020 – 2022 where she participated in social justice arts programming in schools and community centers. Sarah is currently teaching meditative painting classes with partners like the Denver Art Museum, with goals to continue to integrate meditation into art spaces across the community.
I go by JUHB. Self taught gay artist from Denver, CO. Love creating simple fun characters that involve bright colors and are typically pretty fun to stare at. Also like to createbig intricate patterns as well that are made of “boomerang like” shapes. The main point I try to get across in my art isthat the world is crazy so enjoy it while you still can.
This work began with self-portraiture, allowing me to explore non-normative queerness through elements such as absurdity, humor, and the uncanny. I then began photographing other queer people in a collaborative process. Collaboration became an integral part of my work, with me often appearing in the photograph with others.
My photographs present uncertain and fragmented narratives that exist in a space between reality and fantasy, rather than concrete records of identity, reflecting the transitional space(s) in which queerness exists. When I take photographs, the process is spontaneous, playful, and collaborative. This process—which is reminiscent of the practice of free-association—echos the fluidity and dynamism of non-normative queer identities.
Jesse Egner (he/they) is a queer artist and educator currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Often taking the form of playful and absurd portraiture of himself and other individuals, his work explores themes such as queerness, homonormativity, mental illness, and body neutrality. He received his BA from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from Parsons School of Design. His work has been exhibited and published globally and is included in the permanent collection at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts. He is a 2022 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Photography and has recently participated in residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska; Studio Vortex in Arles, France; and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York.
As an artist, I enjoy exploring the relationship and partnership between the creator and the technology they employ to create art. We are now in the “wild west” era of digital art: exploring new definitions of art and a whole new world when it comes to creating it. Do computers dream? Can they capture the human element that comes with the art of creation? For the past 26 years as an artist, my work has been digitally created. For the past three years, I’ve been exploring creating that digital work with the assistance of AI. As a trans neurodivergent person, my connection to people in a cis heteronormative and allistic world has been an alien experience for as long as I can remember. I was able to navigate this throughout my life with the use of technology in order to express myself creatively. I connect with people best behind a screen, and I incorporate that in the work through disorienting, sometimes lonely, abstract environments devoid of human figures. I take heavy influence in my work from photographers like Avi Ganor, as well as painters like Caspar David Friedrich. Other influences include contemporary environmental artists like Nils-Udo and digital artists such as Erik Johannsson.
An artist and educator both, Levi Michael Fischer was born in 1983 in New York City and has been creating since he was a small child. In 1996, he acquired his first computer and began creating digital art soon after. In his artistic life since graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006, Levi specializes in both digital painting, graphic works, photo-bashing and working with various techniques in combination with modern art technology like AI to create dreamlike environments. As of 2022, these environments usually feature water as a central element, as this is often considered a type of portal into a different world. Levi identifies as transmasculine and Queer and has been transitioning since 2020. Thus, Levi plays with the concept of transformation, liminality, and escape in a lot of his works. He uses empty environments to express the strange sensation of passing beyond the veil of reality where the landscapes and interiors seem both familiar and unfamiliar all at once. He expresses his own alienation and disconnect using varied environmental design and color to illustrate strange and almost ritualistic places.
I feed my soul by painting with oil paint, because I am passionate about representing people who have been oppressed and are now finding themselves. My purpose is to create art that consumes the viewer, igniting the voice inside of them. My brand of imaginative realism is founded in healing.
This painting has sparked a new series that I am so excited to begin. I love the idea of a classical painting with a modern surprise. At first look the viewer might think, “oh, what a beautifully painted bowl of peaches….wait….what is that?” As they study “that” closer, they will find that yes, it is in fact a sex toy. A butt plug to be precise. I love that there is something to be discovered and discussed, and even giggled at. I hope the Queer community finds this “cheeky” painting to be both beautiful and humorous.
Kate Geman (she/her) satisfies her soul through the meditative practice of classical oil painting. Her brand of imaginative realism and representative art is built on a foundation of healing, growth, and acceptance. As a proud queer and agnostic artist, she hopes to continue making art that represents the queer community and resonates with those deconstructing capitalism, the patriarchy, and religious trauma. She explores spirituality and theurgy outside of the Christian lens with which she grew up.
Sweetcorn Hud, The (sometimes) Ultimate Boyfriend, Everybody’s Bitch, The Poor Man’s Jennifer Lawrence, Triple Schnitz, Weapon X…are just a few of the monikers Hudson Hatfield has gone by throughout his career. Hailing from Colorado Springs, Hatfield graduated from SUNY Purchase in 2014 with a BFA in Studio Art (Printmaking) and thereafter began a career in fabrication for various artists in Philadelphia PA, including two years printing for Durham Press. Currently living in Denver CO, Hatfield applies the majority of his energy towards his own studio practice while maintaining a job with Split Lip Chicken. He has had two solo shows with Lane Meyer Projects, including Flaming which was on view through the month of July 2022 and consisted of 9 sculptural wall works.
Hatfield’s studio practice breaks the limitations of what came before by incorporating a variety of techniques and media. At the beginning of a new project, YouTube is one of his most consistently used tools. As a result of his background in printmaking, Hatfield’s layered compositions have a strong emphasis on flat color. Similarly, the communication style in Hatfield’s work layers themes of spirituality, impermanence and sexual identity in relationship to geography, pop culture, and personal experience with a mix of often slap stick or campy sense of humor and wit.
Hudson is gay and uses he/him/his pronouns.
A half-length view of the full medallion with coiled rope on a black background. The medallion depicts a red perfume bottle with a heart on it. The bottle has a frosted-white and gold outline with white edge beads around it. The medallion rope includes stripes of red gradient, with white and gold. A gold chain can be seen at the top of the image, which connects the rope when the piece is worn or hung.
Sophie Hill (she/they) is an Anishinaabe beadwork artist and enrolled member of the Bay Mills Band of Ojibwe. She is a graduate of Kalamazoo College, where she studied English, and Theatre Arts. She is a self-taught artist, and has been beading since 2019. Sophie finds inspiration for her work from Ojibwe culture, pop culture, and a greater sense of nostalgia. Previous exhibitions include the Indomitably Indigenous Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, and her work has traveled all over the globe.
I make large scale acrylic paintings on canvas that explore the emotional lives of color. I use a
repetitive painting process to access reflective states of mind to cope with difficult mental health
I build layers of paint and texture with a variety of mark-making techniques to create unexpected
conversations between colors. The colors I mix tend to be pastel or vibrant, but by thinly layering them over days and weeks I create color mixes that evoke emotional responses. Past layers impact the final painted surface, and later coats are scraped away to reveal earlier marks. The result is a painting like topographical map- evidence of time, work, and complex human processes.
Grace Hoag (she/they) is an emerging artist creating large-scale acrylic on canvas paintings that explore the emotional lives of color. They received their BA in December 2019 from the University of Northern Colorado in Art and Design with studies in Painting, Business Administration, and Arts
Entrepreneurship. Grace is one of three recipients of Art Gym’s Create Award Residency during 2020 and 2021, which culminated in a three-person exhibition, In Absentia, with co-residents Thinh Dinh and Justice Miles. Her paintings are featured in the 2022 documentary, Anxious Nation, directed by Laura Morton and Vanessa Roth. Most recently her work has been exhibited in Denver for Friend of a Friend gallery’s 2022 summer show, Back2School. She exhibited work during 2020 at the Emmanuel Art Gallery at the University of Colorado Denver, as a guest artist at Madison and Main Gallery in Greeley Colorado, and at the Stone House Art Gallery in Charlotte North Carolina. Additionally, they have curated two art exhibitions at the Mariani Gallery at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley: Catharsis In Color, and Homosexual Menace. Reproductions of Grace’s work have been published as cover images of The Crucible literary magazine for five consecutive editions. Grace is currently living in Fort Collins, Colorado, and working as an apprentice jeweler.
I have always been fascinated by the human figure and the stories it can tell. In my early work I created figure paintings with a deep exploration of the color blue, which was a foreway into my studies of various colors. The idea of energy and expression have always fascinated me, and the use of color and form gives me a way to explore the vibrations and connections we all share. Through study of the human form we can get closer to understanding our own interconnectivity and how that understanding strengthens our relationships with others. I combine elements such as linework and color to explore the power of intrapersonal communication and the benefits of healing through auras and color.
Kora Hope (she/her) received her B.A. in art in 2019 and her M.A. in education in 2021. She’s currently an art teacher and pursues her artistic passions on the side. Oil painting, printmaking and poetry have always been passions of Kora’s. She likes to incorporate her strong feminist upbringing and Korean heritage to create contemporary artwork that portrays the world in a different way than we normally see it. Kora Hope grew up moving around her entire life, to countries all around the world. This gave her the opportunity to experience all different types of cultures and people. Her artwork and poetry often reflects upon her experiences with different cultures, their art, and spiritual philosophies.
Her poetry and paintings have appeared in Pathfinder Magazine and Alien Lit Magazine.
I was raised in Montana, where my queerness was shaped in response to cowboy romanticism and expectations of rugged masculinity. Drawing on stage props, trompe l’oeil, and cartoon rendering, my work attempts to unmask the camp inside the myth, seeking the sensual, sexual, and absurd through a sincere surrealism. My practice is a device to recognize the nuance that exists at the margins, dissecting the social structures that validate rigid behavior while weeding out patterns that no longer fit. The drawings reflect on interiority, intimacy, and queer ingenuity.
Padyn Humble (he/him) is a sculptor and installation artist from Montana whose practice reinterprets the intention and nuances of our cultural symbols to establish meaning with a queer perspective. Inspiration stems from various influences like old country music, cartoons, pop culture, kitsch, and “masculine” aesthetics. He has been an active artist since 2014 and is currently working in Berlin, Germany. He earned his MFA in May 2022 and was awarded International Sculpture Center’s ‘Outstanding Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture’ and was featured in Sculpture Magazine. Summer of 2023 he will be a resident at Wassaic Project in New York State.
I will keep you warm
Talia Johns is a Ukrainian-American interdisciplinary artist currently
working in fiber art.
She studied textile design in the Lviv National Academy of Arts in Ukraine
and graphic design in the Denver Art Institute. After graduation Talia
spent years working in graphic design, advertising, photography and
visual art. That experience shapes her present art practice that focuses
on environmentally conscious 3D fiber and mixed media pieces that
include felt, paper-cut, weaving, drawing and collage.
Talia is active in the community with contributing to the public art and
volunteering. Her work has been exhibited and won awards in Colorado
and internationally. She resides and creates in Denver, Colorado.
Mirror Boots is a study of contemporary queer iconography. The mirror boots here are inspired by the disco boots that rotate above the dance floor at Charlie’s in Denver, which I am transfixed by every time I visit. Evoking awe through art and design has always been a tool employed by religious establishments. Though, in this instance, community is found through love rather than forced through fear. Visiting historic queer bars has always felt like a sort of pilgrimage to me. These are our churches. They’re our community centers. They’re the places we go to get over heartache and also to find love. But the subtext of every devotional homage to the joy and warmth found within queer establishments feels underpinned by the hatred just outside… acting upon. While creating this painting, I became aware of the horrific violence that took place at Club Q in Colorado Springs on the evening prior to Transgender Day of Remembrance. Queer sanctuaries have always been targeted in times of incessant hateful rhetoric slung by fear mongering conservatives – violence against marginalized people happens at the hands of the emboldened.
The overlaid text is a linear simplification of the front cover of Mirror Mirror, vol. 1 issue 11 (August 1981). This is an arts and culture publication created for the city of Madison by my uncle, Martin Ross McRoberts. The headline reads “TIN BULLETS SMART TOO” and the subtext notes the article was written “BY VA VA SPECIAL.”
Robert Martin (they/them) (b. 1994, Wisconsin) earned their BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout (2017) and their MFA at the University of Colorado-Boulder (2021). They have had solo shows at The Valley in Taos and 1969 Gallery in New York. Their work has been exhibited in group shows at EDJI Gallery in Brussels, Campeche Gallery in Mexico City, Bermudez Projects in Los Angeles, Rule Gallery and Union Hall in Denver, Galleries of Contemporary Art at UCCS in Colorado Springs, Sierra Arts Gallery in Reno, and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin, as well as elsewhere. They were a 2020 Rough Gems Curator at Union Hall in Denver, a 2019 NEST Grant recipient at CU-Boulder, and their work was featured in UW-Stout’s 2017 Journal of Student Research. Martin was awarded the New American Paintings Emerging Artist Grant in late 2021,was a featured artist in the Denver Art Museum’s 2022 Untitled series, and received the Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Award in November 2022. Martin currently lives and works in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Dez Merworth (she/her) is enchanted with the inner mythology birthed in dreams, and the rapturous untangling of desire and loneliness within queer and divergent identities. In between the folds of tangible external experience and the ever-expanding ether exists an internal purgatory. These convergences are often unclear, isolating, and confronting. Dez explores
these internal spaces through prognostic imagery, visual metaphor, and colorful allegory. Her large-scale surrealist dreamscapes are created by enhancing heavy darkness alongside intense coloration. Often, daily rituals take place which enrich her practice and over time craft new narratives.
Dez Merworth (she/her) is an Amazigh-American artist living and working in Denver, CO. She is a graduate of Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and has exhibited, curated, and performed in many notable galleries and art spaces nationally, including the Denver Art Museum, Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and TaxiAIR.
Petrified Wood on Wood
In February of 2021, I had a serious case of cabin fever. We were almost one year into the pandemic and my anxiety had kept me firmly planted inside my house. I decided to pack up my Subaru with some camping supplies and my dog and take a roadtrip through the southwest. From Denver I headed down to Arizona and one of my first stops was Petrified Forest National Park. I spent the day here exploring and was captivated by the wood turned quartz. I took many reference photos and upon returning home I got straight to work! That’s how Petrified Wood on Wood came to be. This piece really needs to be seen in person to notice how the paint is layered into about a half inch of resin.
Nems (she/her) is a Denver artist who specializes in realistic nature-inspired paintings. Often her work incorporates layers of resin throughout the layers of paint to create depth and shadows within the piece. Nems has recently been focusing on building her mural portfolio by painting on whatever walls and furniture she can get her hands on (her inner child is very happy about this. Her most used colors are definitely blue and green, these tubes of paint need to be replaced most frequently. Nems currently is working out of Walnut Workshop in the RiNo Art District.
Leather celebrates the unique equilibrium we hold on Earth between life and death, reclaiming this material and showcasing the beauty that lies beneath the raw surface just waiting to be uncovered, is a metaphor that emphasizes our delicate position as human beings. The Earth is changing, and so must we learn to adapt; we strive to find the beauty of life in a rapidly deteriorating environment, and yet the world is still filled beyond measure with wonder. Using only the highest quality oil and vegetable tanned leathers sourced from reputable distributors, my creations are meant to bring joy, either as a functional costume piece or to be boldly displayed as contemporary art. Love for me has never known condition and I’m proud to acknowledge the members of the LGTBQ+ community who I gratefully call family. Until peace and love prevail upon this earth, I will not rest, I will continue to weave magic into reality with hope of inspiring others. Proceeds will be used to further our efforts toward our dream of owning/operating a nature conservation and wildlife rehabilitation in northern Colorado.
In a reclaimed studio, built in the cellar of an old farmhouse in rural Weld County, comes the artistic creations of Zachariah Rampulla. Growing up in Boulder, Zachariah developed a true kinship with the mountains, forests, and riparian plains. A great deal of his work is inspired by the simple beauty of nature and this magnificent land he calls home.
Zachariah has always shared an affinity with artistic creation, yet after a rocky career of 15 years in the hospitality industry came to a grinding halt with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic; Zachariah along with his beloved wife/partner moved to the country to begin living a more holistic life. That was the birth of SpruceStone Ranch, and today they are proud to tend a thriving apiary, a lush and bountiful garden, a healthy poultry flock of chickens and ducks, as well as a serviceable knowledge including a plethora of wild edibles that are foraged year round.
In the quiet, rustic setting of rural Colorado, with an immense view of the Rocky Mountain Front Range, Zachariah began to set to work on his one-time passion of leather crafting, and found that what was once a hobby, was quickly becoming a new career. Zachariah masterfully wet molds leather into dreamlike masks, inspired by the Italian carnivals of renaissance era celebrations. The allure of the mask is one of mystic and ambiguity that throughout the ages has inspired humanity to let go of the constraints of our identities and to freely adopt the personage of our wildest imagination.
Continental Divide in Pthalo
Alexander Richard Wilson (he/they), is an African American contemporary artist living and working In Denver Colorado, Born and raised in Saint Louis Missouri, (1993), educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) their painting and sculpture practices reference the spaces and depths of the American landscape we occupy, and the literal relationships between figurative shapes in image and form. Referencing their history as the product of a large, African American family, and their present context as a queer black body in the American West. They work to represent the present conditions relative to climate change and cultural shift in American society with gestural clarity.
These prints begin as 4X6 alcohol ink pieces on photo paper. I then scan them and print them on metal, as photos for cards, and more. When I immerse myself in art, time slows and offers both inspiration and healing.
Tracy Stegall is a recently retired public education leader who comes from a long line of artists. As a musician, a writer, and a performer studying improvisation, she roots her visual arts work in mediums that are forgiving, inspiring, and have very loose guardrails. She knows that she’s ‘gotten it right’ when the image seen by the eye and felt by the heart are in tune.
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I’ve been exploring the sibilant s (phonetically represented as [s]) and its relationship to queer, particularly gay, male speech and pronunciation (i.e.. the gay elongation of the sibilant s being a gay marker, such as the gay “lisp”).
Joel Swanson (he/him)
Born in Chicago, Illinois
Swanson is an Associate Professor in the ATLAS Institute and the Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society at the University of Colorado Boulder where he works and teaches at the intersection of language and technology. He received his Master of Fine Art at the University of California, San Diego with a focus in Computing and the Arts.
His artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally at institutions including The Banff Centre for the Arts, The Broad Museum in Lansing, The Power Plant in Toronto, the 57th Venice Biennale at the European Cultural Center, the Glucksman Museum in Cork Ireland, the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. He is a Black Cube Fellow and his work is included in the Electronic Literature Organization’s 4th Anthology.
He is represented by David B. Smith Gallery in Denver.
Rugged and Rhinestoned
Rigid ideas of gender expression have been impressed upon us from the very beginning of our lives. Gender fluid individuals are often labeled as confused, or going through a phase, and are often shamed for their innate behavior. Rejection by family and bullying by peers lead to teen suicide. The Trevor Project reports that “LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.” Homophobia and transphobia trigger hate crimes of assault and murder. The Human Rights Campaign reports “that hate crimes based on sexual orientation represent 16.7% of hate crimes.”
As a queer contemporary artist I am motivated to disrupt gender stereotypes and inspire social change to combat homophobia, femmephobia and fatphobia. Self love and acceptance is a daily practice for me because I have been nurtured to believe of myself as less than others. Growing up I was demeaned regularly because I enjoyed activities that society assigns to girls. In adolescence I hid these interests out of shame causing me to become depressed. After “coming out” as a young adult and experiencing gay culture it became apparent that my femininity and body type were frowned upon by a majority of gay men.
In my colored pencil drawings masculine and feminine intertwine to engage the gamut of human expression. Curled wigs falling over thick bearded faces, hairy pecks peeking over corseted waists, and curvaceous bodies covered by little more than risqué underwear are all subjects in my drawings. By creating these detailed renderings I ask my audience to examine these taboo topics and embrace the diversity of expression within the queer community. LBGTQ+ individuals have existed since antiquity and at times we were accepted. Today more representation in mainstream allows for more acceptance but we are still fighting for full equality.
With open hearts and minds society can become inclusive for all communities.
Louis Trujillo (he/them) is an artist and curator born and working in Colorado. Identity is the recurring theme of inspiration for his artwork with explorations in gender expression, the unconscious, and family history. He received his B.F.A in drawing at Metropolitan State University of Denver where he was awarded the Nagel Art Thesis Grant and the Nagel Directed Studies Scholarship. He is a former member and PR Director of SYNC Gallery located in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. His artwork is part of national private collections. He is currently employed by Access Gallery as their Gallery
In The Wise Garden Encyclopedia, I came across a diagram of the reproductive parts of a flower. I want to propagate with my person and create a hybrid that combines her overwhelming joy with my cynicism, her fire with my calm, her playfulness compounded by my playfulness. I imagine this impossible seedling with our natures.
This is a pretty room, and I look pretty in this room. We look pretty together. The wallpaper drips with fruit. There’s no pollen in the air.
The germination rate for store-bought seed is low. When we water you, we’ll whisper, “Be like your gardeners. Both of us, please.”
Chloe Wilwerding (she/her) grew up in a Catholic community in Nebraska, where she was given
definitive answers to questions about who we are, why we are here, and how we should live. As an adult, her multidisciplinary art practice centers on these same types of primordial questions about human experience, but explores the complex and varied ways to approach them. Through textiles, collage, digital art, and printmaking, Chloe investigates how we understand what it means to be human. Climate change and digital culture feature in her work as two challenges that require redefining what it means to be human and repositioning ourselves in relation to our environments.
Chloe holds her MFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and her BA in Political Science and Studio Art from Middlebury College. She lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.