Skye Gallery has brought back interdisciplinary artist Spencer Hansen for his fourth consecutive winter solo exhibition.
Open tonight and on view until April 15, this year’s exhibition with the Bali-based artist may be the last exhibition held at the Skye Gallery space on the corner of East Cooper Avenue and South Hunter Street in the center -City of Aspen.
The gallery is one of the few purely local art galleries still standing in town. Since opening six years ago, the Aspen and Skye Weinglass native has strived to keep young, emerging artists at the forefront and engage the community in an authentic art scene.
According to Weinglass, the landlord of the building triples the rent and allegedly told the gallerist that while she could afford the higher rent, he wanted to bring an international brand to the space.
“There is still hope that we can stay, but our landlord is threatening to evict us – that’s the reality,” Weinglass said. “So now we’re trying to find a new space because I’m definitely keeping Skye Gallery alive, and we have artists booked for summer and winter.”
Under these circumstances, Weinglass and her team of women at Skye Gallery are determined to give back as much as they can to the community while they still have the current location. Throughout the duration of Hansen’s solo exhibition titled ‘Anima’, Skye Gallery will offer a plethora of community programs and events, all free and open to the public.
Starting tonight from 7-9pm, the gallery will host an artists reception with a local DJ and craft cocktails. The next event is scheduled for February 1, and there will be an after-party on Presidents Day weekend. Weinglass said events will take place almost every two weeks and the gallery will also host many pop-ups with displays of vintage clothing and jewelry over the next few months.
Additionally, Hansen and his longtime business partner Shayne Maratea co-own and operate a clothing line and toy production company called Blamo. The two are teaming up with Beyul Retreat near Ruedi Reservoir to host a Blamo pop-up weekend and ice sculpting classes from February 3-6.
“Spencer and Shayne have been coming to Aspen for about eight years, so they have such a community now,” Weinglass said. “They bring a community and a certain spirit to the gallery space and the valley every year.”
When it comes to her one-of-a-kind artistic creation, she explained, Hansen brings genuine, authentic art and craft to the city, which she described as a breath of fresh air in a community that is becoming saturated with commercial and salable art. .
“It’s amazing to bring a hard-working, full-time artist – he’s dedicated his whole life to art, his art is his main focus – into the gallery for a solo show. And it’s brand new work. and he’s actually here, in Aspen,” Weinglass said. “So if this is the last show in space, I’m glad it’s Spencer of all.”
Weinglass was introduced to Hansen and her work about seven years ago while traveling in Bali and a friend brought her to the artist’s warehouse. Intrigued, Weinglass invited Hansen to Aspen and showed some of her work in her first pop-up gallery in Boogie’s former retail space in 2016.
Two years later, Hansen returns for his first solo exhibition in the current Skye Gallery space. The exhibit was called “Please Play,” Weinglass said, encouraging people to pick up, touch, carry and move the sculptures.
“Usually a sculpture exhibition, gallery or museum is like ‘please don’t touch the art’, and we want to do the opposite – please play with it. ‘art,” she said.
The concept was a success and the Skye Gallery has since held an annual winter solo exhibition with Hansen. The gallery also featured Hansen’s work in his debut at Art Basel Miami in 2019 for Aqua Art Miami.
“This is our sixth show together and our fourth straight year here,” Hansen said. “We’ve focused quite heavily on those exhibitions with Skye’s Gallery.”
Over the past eight months, Hansen and Maratea have prepared for the exhibition, handcrafting, cutting, forging and sculpting a variety of natural materials to bring “Anima” to life.
“We built a workshop in Bali so we could have different areas, like we have a woodcarving area, a goldsmith area, a welding area and a ceramics area, so we can work with a lot of different materials. “, Maratea mentioned. “And Spencer always talks about using only the material that can best express the idea he’s trying to get across.”
The new body of work includes wearable sculptures, light sculptures, wooden works, ceramic works and masks, all handcrafted from repurposed materials. Hansen’s photograph will also be included in the exhibition for the very first time.
“Something I try to put in all my work is contrast, but this year I was particularly focused on that,” Hansen said. “We have hard, shiny metal against soft, flowing fur, coarse, hand-tied hair, or ceramic with human hair—those contrasting, hard, soft, dark elements.”
The artist has reused materials he collects from different places around the world, including metal, hair, ceramics, leather, bone, recycled wood from Javanese fishing boats in Indonesia, and fur from coats. vintage found right here in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The two full-body fur suits featured in “Anima” were created from unsold and damaged jackets from the Heirlooms consignment shop in Basalt, Hansen said, explaining that the inspiration behind these wearable pieces comes from archetypal characters from the Bali Hinduism – the light. inspired by the term “Barong”, representing the good spirit and the darker from the term “Rangda”, representing evil.
“I mean, they’re not black and white characters, they’re more interesting,” Hansen said. “And that’s something we really wanted to focus on on this show – the gray space in between.”
Hansen, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute with a major in photography, took photos of people wearing these costumes in various locations in Bali and created composite photographs to be printed on large sheets of metal and hung along walls. from Skye Gallery.
By incorporating the photographic element into this year’s show, Hansen hopes to enhance the overall experience and storytelling his art brings to the space.
“My hope is that it tells a story – that it better tells the story by having these giant costumes that can be worn but also shown as installations, with the photography showing that they’re being worn,” Hansen said. “Hopefully this will make history come alive.”
Known for its playful and interactive exhibits, Hansen said “Anima” carries a dark undertone or “shadow,” which reflects the times we find ourselves in, as well as his personal experience of undergoing multiple surgeries last spring. .
“I always want interaction, and more than anything, for the art to be playful,” Hansen said. “But I think this year there are elements that show playfulness and also darkness, or shadow. You can’t have light without darkness.
The “Anima” exhibition opens tonight with an artists’ reception from 7-9 p.m. and will run until April 15. For more information and updates on upcoming events, visit skyegalleryaspen.com.