100 Colorado Creatives: Beau Carey

Beau Carey, Fata Morgana, 36"x48," oil on canvas, 2013.
#26: Beau Carey

Modern landscape artist Beau Carey goes about his business -- painting -- quietly, but at the same time, he's earned the quiet respect of his contemporaries. Carey's been a RedLine resident and boardmember, a drawing and painting teacher, and a gallery artist at Goodwin Fine Art; he also co-founded Denver's elegant TANK Studios, where he's kept a studio since its inception. The sad news is that Carey's getting ready to skip town to teach in New Mexico. But before he leaves, we asked him to take on the 100CC questionnaire. Keep reading for Beau Carey's thoughts on the artist's life.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Rebecca Vaughan

Photo by Alyson Carey.
Beau Carey at work.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

I've always thought it would have been interesting to be an artist on one of the nineteenth-century surveys of the American West. To be a part of the Hayden survey of Yellowstone with Thomas Moran or to be on the Wheeler Survey with Timothy O'Sullivan would really appeal to me. Those artists were put in situations where they were confronted with spaces entirely unfamiliar. The images they created were oftentimes problematic because they lacked the vocabulary to describe or frame what they were seeing. For an artist, that is an interesting challenge. Painting itself is always a confrontation between the tradition of the way we used to see things and the way we see them now. But that said, I'm not much for collaboration in my work, at least in the conventional sense. I can barely get my limbs to collaborate to make the things that I do. I'm used to spending eight hours a day alone in my studio. There was a time when I was waiting tables three days a week and painting four, and during those four days, I would barely talk to anybody. We had also just gotten a puppy, and my wife would come home and look at the two of us and say, "Oh, my God, you two need to be socialized, I'm taking you on a walk." So she would take the dog and me on a walk.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

There are a lot, and that is a list that changes quite often. As far as paintings go, I think Tauba Auerbach and Wade Guyton are doing interesting things. I just read Lazslo Kraszhahorkai's Seiobo There Below and Sergio de la Pava's second novel Personae, both of which I enjoyed. Colin Stetson's new album this year has been on my playlist for a few months now. There is currently a lot going on creatively in the world. I think there has never been a better time in history to be an artist than right now. Materials have never been cheaper or more accessible. Information has never been more available and we have never been less bound by stylistic or conceptual dogma.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

I told my students that 2013 was the year where it officially became cliché to hate clichés. Every so often, I come across some article that makes sweeping generalizations about the state of the work being made today and about how bad it is. I think the only thing worse than the work being made is the unimaginative and predictable response it generates. Besides, in the age of Twitter, viral videos and internet memes things become clichés almost instantly, which if you think about it is really amazing. We are capable of repeating things, even truths, so rapidly that they lose their initial punch and meaning almost overnight. It used to take us forever.

Continue reading for more from Beau Carey.

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