100 Colorado Creatives: Theresa Anderson

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Theresa Anderson -- fine artist, gallery director, blogger, co-op member at Pirate Contemporary Art and PlatteForum artist-committee member -- already ranked inclusion in our ten people to watch in the arts list simply by being so multifaceted, and in an interesting way. And now she's switching out one of those facets: She's handing over the curatorial role she's held for four years at Ice Cube Gallery to fellow artist Jennifer Jeanelle. But she'll be busier than ever.

See also: - The arts in Denver: Ten people to watch in 2013 - Artist Theresa Anderson explains how narrative plays into her drawings - Soft materials take shape in Stuff(ed), tonight at Laundry on Lawrence

"I've learned a ton on this artist-run project," Anderson says. "But this year my focus will be developing a series of large-scale paintings that intersect with my current drawings, developing further my series of textile-based work/soft-sculpture/paintings and writing like crazy, further developing my art blog, overlapping thoughts on the arts in Denver and the outside world."

She's also ready to delve into the nature of collaboration and curation in contemporary art, beginning with the group show Soft Subversions, which opens February 8 at Pirate. "Amber Cobb and Cortney Lane Stell have co-curated all new work, and as a group we're riffing on the writing of Felix Guattari," she explains. "I'm excited about these conversations, the possibilities for this work and how we move forward as a group."

And that's the key thing to remember about Theresa Anderson as she moves forward in 2013. Expect to see meditations on the community of making a show happen and a lot of "group" mentality in her future.

We asked Anderson a few questions about the arts in Denver and her place in the mix; read on for her answers.

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

Theresa Anderson: Florine Stettheimer, who made these eccentric paintings and installations within her own rooms. Eva Hesse, whose sculpture still has so much to offer. The accumulation pieces of Yayoi Kusama! I saw her series of incredible installations at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1999. Those have been with me since. I'd like to go back to 1962 and make obsessive works with her.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Artists as individuals versus collaborators, artists who run experimental art spaces, curators, effects of curatorial display, art critics, political commentators and writers. Specifically? The two people/things that leap to mind are Rachel Harrison's rough-and-tumble painted sculptures with places to hide household utensils, and Frohawk Two-Feathers's new-book wobbly history paintings.

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

Gravitating toward artists who do and say difficult things. I tend to dismiss one-liners, anything that unfolds on its first read, things that are un-debatable, anything trendy. Well, maybe not trendy. New media work seems quite trendy right now, and I'm really interested in the divisions and interactions between new media works, image and/or sculptural new media works versus work that seems to fit in the tradition of the film/video from the last fifty years.

P.S.: It would be nice to go somewhere in the States/Europe and not see the same exact work I saw the year before at a different museum in a different city/county.

Continue reading for more from Theresa Anderson. What's your day job?

I'm a full-time studio artist who maintains an artist blog. I do tons of research, read, draw, paint and sculpt. Daily. That's my job.

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

Yippeekiyay! I'd fund all levels of arts education, fund artist projects, fund writing projects, fund scientific research on AIDS, fund community projects that combat violence, poverty and homelessness. Once I set up some trusts to keep the money rolling, I'd move to the unnamed outer limits and rotate all my peeps and new persons unlimited and MAKE ARTWORK about ******* and conduct major dream projects that require SPACE IN MY HEAD and SPACE IN STUDIO. On tap. Ad lib. Ad nauseam. Study hermeneutics as applied to art as text. Ha ha. I think I'd have to take a chill pill.

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

One thing? I've three things because they are inextricably linked. Mandate funding to arts education at all levels in all communities. Quite often the first thing to go in budget cuts is arts education. Cutting arts budgets in schools is comparable to denying kids crayons, sand boxes, and music. I lived in a district as a teenager that cut out art education. Dismal. Whether a child/ adult is a scientist or artist -we all benefit from our local Creatives and creative outlets.

Two: mandate fair pay for arts educators. An instructor/ adjunct that works full-time should be paid for full-time work.

Three: Pay artists for their work. River North Arts District has some great guidelines that would go a long way for the arts in Denver and Colorado.

As advocates for artists, we strongly encourage collaborators to fairly compensate artists for their time and effort toward these mutually beneficial projects. The River North Art District offers the following suggestions:

- Pay the artist a percentage of the retail value of the art on display. A standard rate is 5 to 10% per month. For example if the total value of the artwork being displayed were $5000, a stipend between $250 and $500 would be in order.

- Host a reception for the artist to invite collectors and the community to view the artwork. This benefits all involved by expanding the audience for the artist, and increasing sales for the business/host. 

- Purchase artwork.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

I have so many it's hard to list! I've been compiling written documents on my art blog of people in Denver that I find fascinating. They include in no order: Jeff Page, Rebecca Vaughan, Kathy Knaus, Devon Dikeou, Jennifer Jeannelle, Tracy Tomko, Kara Duncan, Amber Cobb, Cortney Lane Stell, Bruce Price, Judy Anderson, Christine Buchsbaum, Jill Hadley Hooper, Elissa Auther and Shannon Corrigan. This list could go on and on but I tried to narrow it down to people who I believe are committed, passionate, smart, full of integrity, hard-working risk-takers.

Throughout the year, we'll be turning the spotlight on 100 superstars in Denver's rich artistic community. Watch for the next installment on Show and Tell -- and go to the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.

Who rocks YOUR world locally? Do you have a suggestion for a Colorado Creative? Leave it in the comments section below.

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