Artists are an independent lot -- they expose and capture their views in visual terms, giving tangible shape to what might seem, at first, like crazy ideas. Crazy, anyway, to an accountant. But when an artist marries another artist, there's a rare symbiosis, a respect and understanding of process, built right into the relationship. They flex together when the going gets tough, yet know also when to stay out of one another's way. That's the premise behind Together/Working, a new exhibit of works by artist couples opening Friday at the Gallery of Contemporary Art at CU-Colorado Springs. It's not a new idea, but it's one that's metamorphosed over the years, especially as artist-wives have risen to earn equal billing in a volatile field. Comments from a couple of local twosomes included in the show:
"It can be an interesting dance," says Denver artist Chandler Romeo, whose union with fellow artist Reed Weimer has produced two children and a lot of give and take. "Neither of us really has a steady job," Weimer explains. "And our income is feast and famine -- after one of us has a big show, we catch up on bills." While both say they experience little creative sparring as an art couple, Romeo notes, "There are complexities, things you have to work out," such as studio time. But each also tends to know what the other needs: "It's not taken lightly that you need time to work or install a show," she adds. "There's this artist language you speak that other people don't understand," Weimer clarifies.
Lorre Hoffman, a sculptor who teaches at CU-Denver while husband Scott Greenig paints at home, notes other advantages: "It's nice to have a critic built into the home. I don't always pay attention to him, but it's still nice." And artist couples also share skills: "Scott ran a foundry for twenty years before I met him, so he's also very useful -- he does lovely patinas. And I build stretchers for him. There's a bit of synergy created between us."
What's the bottom line? "All you've gotta do is get married, and you get to be invited to be in a couples show every few years," Romeo quips. Or, on a more serious note, Hoffman says: "It's been a good thing. We push each other. I think I will probably continue to make art for the rest of my life -- because I'm with Scott."
Greenig agrees: "It's a tough way to make a living. But you wouldn't have it any other way."