Ten artists who left their mark on Colorado in 2010

Categories: Lists, Visual Arts

Colin Livingston
Colorado is a regional art center with literally thousands of artists displaying their work in venues around the state that are as varied as coffee shops and museums. Here's a list of ten artists who made a difference with their work last year. It's a wide-ranging group that includes one who's just out of school and another who died 150 years ago, with the rest falling somewhere in between.

Colin Livingston
A conceptual artist, Livingston's stock in trade is neo-pop parody as was shown off in The Big Idea, where he transformed Plus Gallery into a facsimile of a big box retail store. The art itself came in the form of formulaic paintings, unexpectedly prepackaged in display boxes that all but obscured them. With this work and with his earlier efforts, Livingston raises questions about the nature of art, art as a commodity, and the very nature of art collecting.

Dale Chisman
Though Chisman died in 2008, his work continued to be part of the scene as demonstrated by the strong show in his honor presented at Z Art Department. One of the most important artists to have ever worked in Colorado, Chisman's abstract expressionist-inspired paintings set a high standard. Chisman had a lot of strengths, notably his keen eye for color, and his instinctual sense for asymmetrical yet balanced compositions.

Marie Vlasic
Showing how it's possible to be old-fashioned and outrageous at the same time are Vlasic's stunningly detailed portraits shown at Walker Fine Art. What's traditional is her style -- realism -- and her medium -- painting -- while the outrageous part involves her subjects -- tattooed and pierced kids posing in the nude. Interestingly, each of these purportedly antithetical elements is essential for Vlasic's success, since it's her ability to accurately portray her models that puts their genitalia and pubic hair front and center in the pictures.

Clark Richert
2010 was definitely Richert's year. Not onl y was he feted to a retrospective of sorts at the school where he teaches, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, but he was one of only two Colorado artists to be included in the official show of Denver's Biennial of the Americas. Richert had his first claim to fame way back in the '60s, when he designed the domes that made up the artist colony Drop City, and he's known today for his complicated geometric abstracts and videos based on advanced mathematical formulas -- just like those domes.

Joseph Shaeffer
Boulder artist Shaeffer is the only other Coloradoan to make the cut for the main offering of the Biennial of the Americas. He's something of a mad scientist-artist who uses physics and biology as his mediums, delving into everything from magnets to hydroponics to create his futuristic sculptures and installations. The resulting pieces look a little like art, and a lot like the interior of a laboratory. In the Biennial, his massive work was constructed of Pyrex beakers serving as ad hoc greenhouses for the plants within them, bringing a literal interpretation to the Green movement.

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