This site-specific textile installation celebrates the 100-year anniversary of Civic Center’s Greek Theater. Clowes found inspiration in the City Beautiful Movement, the Theater’s Turkey Creek sandstone structure, its Allen Tupper True murals, and the Park’s iconic place as the nucleus of Denver’s civic life. Each layer represents a quarter century of time and pays homage to Colorado’s landscape. Clowes incorporated quotes from Denver’s mayors, painted leaves collected from the Park, bottle caps symbolizing the craft beer movement, and clouds suggesting the state’s big sky into the design. The abstract, meditative installation invites viewers to slow down, look closely, and stay awhile.
The Oscar Wallpaper investigates not only the collision of the natural world with the domestic but also the weight of time and history in addition the intersection of the local and global.
The installation reframes and reconsiders William Morris’s botanical wallpaper motifs in three dimensions. Morris, a British artist, craftsman, writer and socialist, heavily influenced the Arts and Crafts Movement inspired by nature, pattern and grace; he remains best known for his iconic wallpaper patterns that dominated Victorian home decor. Kerrane’s piece plays with artifice in myriad ways from faux plants to toy train tracks. Her cast aluminum ropes call to mind the pulleys of the Matchless Mine as well as its shimmering lodes of silver. The classical Greek columns and archways pay homage to early photographic backdrops. The background’s peeling surface references aging wallpaper and the impermanence of not only domestic settings but life itself.
Additionally, the installation pays homage to Oscar Wilde’s 1882 visit to Leadville, Colorado. The witty Irish poet, novelist and playwright developed a lecture tour derived from the theories of the Arts & Crafts Movements called, “The Practical Application of the Principles of the Aesthetic Theory to Exterior and Interior House Decoration, With Observations upon Dress and Personal Ornaments.” He appeared at Leadville’s Tabor Opera House and Silver Dollar Saloon, eventually winning over the miners with his hard drinking and clever repartee, becoming so popular the town named a lode of silver after him at the Matchless Mine. The railroad tracks, pulleys and cast aluminum rope directly reference Colorado’s mining history while the vibrant color palette nods to Wilde’s flamboyant style.
Born in Galway, Ireland, Kerrane received her BA in Fine Arts Degree from the University of Ulster at Belfast before immigrating to the United States where she earned her MFA from the University of New Orleans, Louisiana. Kerrane is Professor of Sculpture and Art Practices at the University of Colorado Denver, where was awarded researcher of the year in 2017, and is represented by Mai Wyn Fine Art. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in Latvia, Italy, Austria, Mexico and Ireland.
The 2019 edition of Between Us: The Downtown Denver Alleyways Project celebrates Upper Downtown as an international business center and Denver as a world-class city with five site-specific art installations by local, female artists Sabin Aell, Lares Feliciano, Rian Kerrane, Marsha Mack and Chinn Wang. These works highlight the connections local artists have to the greater global community, redefine how people engage with urban settings and create a sense of place that goes beyond geography. The project is supported by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District.