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Pagosa artist Charla Ellis featured in international exhibit

By Denise Coffee
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy SHY RABBIT The work of Pagosa artist Charla Ellis is included in The ART of it ALL 2, an international exhibit currently on display at SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts. Ellis has two mixed media collages in the show, “Past Becoming Present I & II,” that combine aspects of the changing seasons of her own life.

Photo courtesy SHY RABBIT
The work of Pagosa artist Charla Ellis is included in The ART of it ALL 2, an international exhibit currently on display at SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts. Ellis has two mixed media collages in the show, “Past Becoming Present I & II,” that combine aspects of the changing seasons of her own life.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts continues the The ART of it ALL 2 through Jan. 11, featuring 90 original works of art by 46 emerging to nationally recognized artists from 15 U.S. states and inclduing work by Pagosa Springs artist Charla Ellis.

“The motivation for my artwork comes from my love of nature. Through my work, I attempt to capture some aspect of our living and changing earth,” said Ellis. “My personal motif would be trees in general and leaves in particular, though I incorporate other aspects of nature as well.”

Ellis received a B.A. in art (with an emphasis on clay) and an M.A. in art education. She taught art and pottery for 25 years to high school students in the public school setting, while continuing to work on her own art. Currently retired, Ellis devotes even more time pursuing her own creativity.

The two mixed media collages on display in The ART of it ALL 2’ titled “Past Becoming Present I and II,” combine aspects of the changing seasons of her own life.

“I tend to begin various works of art that have remained unfinished over time,” said Ellis.  “These two works involve parts of several different pieces that are combined to create a reflection of time passing.

“I’ve used several different media and techniques — including air brush, pen and ink, colored pencil, water color pencil, gauche, and collage.”

Ellis loves to collage and likes to include something literally from nature in the process.

“In these pieces, I’ve included stellar blue jay feathers and hummingbird moths,” she said. “One symbolically represents winter and the other, the end of summer. Cutting and layering with interior and exterior formats reflects the complexities of life.

“The challenge for me was finding the way to combine all these disparate parts into cohesive works that relate well to each other. For me it was rewarding and creating is always time well spent!”

The range of artworks on display include: contemporary basketry, fiber, bronze and ceramic sculptures, collage, digital, hand-formed recycled stainless steel sculptures, mixed media, paintings, fine and re-purposed furniture, fine art prints, drawings, photography, assemblage, ceramics, wax-resist egg shells, fabric art quilts and glass, among others.

Among the lengthy roster of artists selected for display are several Pagosa Country residents, including Sandy Applegate, Valentina Bezney, Todd Condon, Kathie Disner, Linda Echterhoff, Charla Ellis, Buster Griggs, Ursala Hudson, Ivy King, Susan Martin-Serra, Polly McLaughlin, Dee Pitchon and Clay Vyzralek.

The inclusion and thoughtful blending of fine art, craft and, in some instances, function, is at the core of this expansive exhibition, opening the door to a much wider display of individualized interpretations of various art forms.

Artworks are traditional or nontraditional in theme, and run the gamut from folk to fantasy, contemplative to playful, and from baroque to minimalist.

They are constructed of such diverse materials as wood, glass, clay, plaster, plastics, paper, concrete, metals and ostrich egg shells.

The juror for this this second annual all media international exhibit is D. Michael Coffee, curator and creative director, SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts.

The 4,000 square foot arts facility is open to the public daily from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m., at no charge. SHY RABBIT will be closed Thanksgiving Day.

SHY RABBIT is located at 333 Bastille Drive; two blocks north of U.S. 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevarde.

For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766.

For more information on exhibitions, visit http://www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.

This story was posted on December 2, 2013.