Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Laura Phelps Rogers

Laura Phelps Rogers, "Entertain," site-specific Installation, 2013.
Laura Phelps Rogers, "Entertain," site-specific Installation, 2013.
Courtesy of the artist

#8: Laura Phelps Rogers

Laura Phelps Rogers tells her stories in complex sculptural installations combining cast metals with found objects, mixed media, photography and performance. A member of the Pirate and Ice Cube co-ops, Rogers has also placed public artworks, such as her 2013 Nipple Quilt installation, in spots as close as the Anschutz Campus at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities and as far afield as the Talsi Regional Museum in Latvia. As at home in the foundry as she is with staging big ideas, Phelps is now embarking on a new project involving an interesting expansion of her RiNo studio into a retail space. Learn more about what drives Phelps's career via the 100CC questionnaire.

Laura Phelps Rogers, "Nipple Quilt."
Laura Phelps Rogers, "Nipple Quilt."
Courtesy of the artist

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Laura Phelps Rogers: So many…. Louise Bourgeois for bringing her personal experiences to her work and defining new boundaries in feminism through her visual practice. Male artist: Ed Kienholtz, for his offbeat integration of culture and pop culture into visually complex installations, as well as his utilization or construction of everyday utilitarian objects to create environments.

Claes Oldenburg — because I am planning a retail expansion of my studio/gallery into a space that transcends traditional retail by integrating contemporary conceptual installation and sculptural work. I have become very interested in his approach with “The Store” early on in his career. Also: Cindy Sherman, for her success and how her investigations into identity using photography got her there. Lawrence Weiner, for his conceptual work with text. Sandy Skoglund, for her surreal environments. Dorothy Cross, for crossing boundaries in feminist and identity-related practice. Ann Hamilton, for her performance and installation work.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

I am pretty open-minded about artistic expression. However, on a semi-functional side, I do not care for the cookie-cutter-filtered selfie options on Facebook. I like to see folks take the creative initiative on their own. 

Sunburn art.

Art Basel — works with birth-control pills applied to seemingly unrelated objects?

Laura Phelps Rogers, "Self-Portrait," cast Rice Krispies, laundry and found object, 2014.
Laura Phelps Rogers, "Self-Portrait," cast Rice Krispies, laundry and found object, 2014.
Courtesy of the artist

What's your day job?

In addition to my visual practice, I do visual and merchandising consulting as well as window and set design.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

Start an artist residency.

Laura Phelps Rogers, "Iron Maidens," cast Iron with mixed media and found objects, 2012 -2015.
Laura Phelps Rogers, "Iron Maidens," cast Iron with mixed media and found objects, 2012 -2015.
Courtesy of the artist

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Assist co-op galleries in finding, securing and developing a solution to rising rent costs.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

That is a difficult question — there are so many amazing Colorado Creatives. I feel the closest to Phil Bender, though, and he has done a lot to promote my work, as he has done for many.

Laura Phelps Rogers, "Full Metal Jacket," cast iron with found objects, 2010.
Laura Phelps Rogers, "Full Metal Jacket," cast iron with found objects, 2010.
Courtesy of the artist

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

In addition to finalizing the monumental objective of casting "100 Iron Maidens" into a large public work, I will continue to focus attention on my work, solo exhibitions, group shows, public speaking and workshops. I am also going to expand the retail traffic at my studio/gallery at 3240 Larimer Street.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2015?

Rian Kerrane has been doing a pretty good job of shaking it up at several venues.

Work by Laura Phelps Rogers is on view in a solo exhibition at Pirate: Contemporary Art through October 18. The gallery will host a closing reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 16, as well as an artist talk with Phelps and fellow artist Nichole Hongchang Barger from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 18. 

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