Formerly a sculptor of wild papier-mâché cowboys and bikers, longtime Lakewood resident Al Orahood switched somewhere along the way to painting. But even working in a new medium, Orahood still chose a workingmans subject: the weathered neon signs of West Colfax Avenue, the ones that announce such run-down and evocative destinations as the White Swan and B ig Bunny (Colfax aficionados all know the story of how it used to be the Bugs Bunny Motel until Warner Bros. made a stink about it more than a decade ago). An exhibit of this work, Signs: Echoes of Lakewood's Past, goes on display today in the Radius Gallery at Lakewood's Heritage Center.
Als a funny guy who approaches everything with irreverent wit, says museum curator Lorene Joos. But when he switched to painting, it was in a photorealist style, using the palette of the faded signs. The resulting works cast an elegiac vibe thats especially poignant as Lakewoods Colfax Corridor goes through major changes and urban renewal projects.
Signs continues through March 27; beginning at 6:30 p.m. on February 16, the Heritage Center, 801 South Yarrow Street in Lakewood, will team with Lakewood Economic Development to present an artist talk, followed by a discussion with an LED expert on Colfaxs civic past and present. Get details at www.lakewood.org/hca or call 303-987-7850.
Dec. 29-March 27, 2009