Colorado artist Trine Bumiller, who's originally from Cincinnati, schooled at the Rhode Island School of Design and is a member of the Robischon Gallery stable in Denver, has earned a national rep for her abstractions — or “distillations,” as she describes them — of images from nature. Her zest for reinterpreting the patterns and shapes of the natural world has led to artist residencies at Denali National Park in Alaska and, just last year, at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, where she immersed herself in the outdoors in preparation for the series 100 Paintings for 100 Years, now on view in Denver at the McNichols Building. Here are Trine Bumiller’s answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Trine Bumiller: Galileo, because he had the most radical ideas about astronomy and science years ahead of his time. He proposed heliocentrism and invented new ways of seeing into space and stood up to the church for his ideas. I would have loved to be the artist right brain to his scientist left brain.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I am reading the Italian series of books L’amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend), and I find the idea that the identity of the author, Elena Ferrante, is a complete mystery to and secret from the public — fascinating. Her stories of female friendship, the value of education, the lottery of your birthplace, politics and feminism are powerful. The biographical nature of the books is so strong and maybe because of it, Ferrante refuses to reveal her identity: No promotion, no book tours, no photo on the back cover — in this era of oversharing, it’s almost revolutionary.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Zombie formalism, a term coined by Walter Robinson, to describe the trend towards vacuous abstract art that looks good on social media.
What's your day job?
Walking my dog, and painting.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Make sure every child has art classes and contact with art throughout their education. Create art spaces outside of large urban areas where people can see, make and become involved with art. Do the same for inner city areas. Buy art.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
All of the above!
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Many favorites, but I need to mention Cortney Lane Stell, who curated my show 100 Paintings for 100 Years, now at McNichols. I find her dialogue refreshing and intelligent, her curatorial choices brave and sincere. She is executive director and curator of Black Cube, a nomadic art museum, and I am looking forward to their first project, coming this September.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I am looking for more places outside the traditional gallery realm to show my work. I am making the next body of work (water) in the three-part series of Wood, Water, Rock. I hope to see the Venice Biennale before it closes. I am working on having 100 Paintings for 100 Years travel to other locations around and outside of Colorado.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2015?
Definitely the new curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Denver Art Museum, Becky Hart. She comes from the Detroit Institute of the Arts and has curated shows of Julie Mehretu and Shirin Neshat, two artists whose work I admire. I look forward to seeing what she does at DAM. I also think the smaller alternative spaces in Denver are very interesting right now: Dateline, Leisure, Svper Ordinary and Leon. They are each pushing the boundaries of the traditional art gallery and inviting a new audience to experience art in new ways.
See Trine Bumiller’s solo show 100 Paintings for 100 Years through September 13 at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park, where she’ll host an artist talk at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 13. Learn more about Bumiller and her work online.