5 Colorado Artists To Watch

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It would be easy, says art adviser Ann Benson Reidy, to merely place pretty pictures in her clients’ homes and offices, but this industry veteran is after something more: “If I can make people weak in the knees and educate them about different genres of art—and help them move away from what their parents had to realize their own vision—well, that’s just awesome,” she says. Whether she’s hunting for early-edition photographs for private collectors or works that convey a brand’s unique ethos—her Denver-based firm just placed more than 200 pieces by Hawaii artists at the ‘A‘ali‘i tower at Honolulu’s new Ward Village community—Benson Reidy is game for a global search. “I don’t have a stable of artists,” she says. “I get to use every gallery in the world.” That said, Colorado has proven a wellspring of top talent—including these artists catching her eye now.


abstract painting by Kate Petley

PHOTO COURTESY ROBISCHON GALLERY

KATE PETLEY 

At Robischon Gallery, Denver

“Kate, who is based in Longmont, is always examining how urban and public spaces can be psychologically charged and the result is very powerful, vibrant small- and large-scale canvases, photographs and monoprints. She is quite interested in process and has created a unique way of using photography that does not immediately make you think of photography. I’ve placed her work in private homes, but I love it in financial institutions because it exudes strength and commands viewership.”


abstract sculpture by Emmett Culligan

PHOTO COURTESY WILLIAM HAVU GALLERY

EMMETT CULLIGAN

At William Havu Gallery, Denver

“Emmett studied painting at the Art Students League of New York before pursuing his fine art degree in sculpture at the University of Colorado Denver. The magic of his abstract contemporary sculptures in steel is in his manipulation of the material. In the ‘Rubric’ series, it appears as though he has inflated this hard, unapproachable, almost mean material, giving it a curvature, softness and femininity that is very kind, forgiving and almost sensual. You just want to touch it.”


abstract artwork by Sami Al Karim

artwork of man with lion head by Halim Al Karim

PHOTOS COURTESY ROBISCHON GALLERY

SAMI AL KARIM AND HALIM AL KARIM 

At Robischon Gallery, Denver

“The story of Denver-based artists and brothers Sami and Halim Al Karim is something to grab your heart. Born in Iraq, they fled Saddam Hussein’s oppressive regime. They emerged from this difficult period reengaging with their dreams and identities. Their photography is a dreamy, thought-provoking layering of images—Sami’s explore the natural world, while Halim’s look at the beauty within an individual—and serves as a visual manifestation of that reawakening and of the serenity they’ve found after the trials they endured.”


oil painting of a room by Sarah McKenzie

SARAH MCKENZIE 

At David B. Smith Gallery, Denver

“This Boulder-based painter’s latest oil-on-canvas depictions of interior architecture examine real exhibition spaces—from galleries to iconic museums—and how they resonate with her. She’s looking at geometry, patterns, the surfaces within a room and how art interacts with each space. A composition might include an artwork she draws from reality, but she’ll find that viewpoint that makes it sing. It takes a special person to view her work; the client is someone who understands and appreciates design and space.”