Colorado Creatives

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Rian Kerrane

#98: Rian Kerrane

Galway girl Rian Kerrane came to Colorado in 2002 to teach sculpture at the University of Colorado Denver, but her installations in mixed media and cast iron have an international reach, from the galleries of RedLine and Edge to others in her home country of Ireland. Perfectly comfortable in heavy leathers, helmet and a protective mask, Kerrane has also brought the iron-pour experience to the metro area through CU Denver -- the transformative spectacle of fire and molten metal yielding art. And Kerrane's finished work, stark with human symbology, is like a visceral glint made by the magic of metal-casting. Read on for her answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Eve Orenstein

If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?   I'd love to know Gráinne O'Malley, the Irish pirate queen. She was a remarkable leader from the west coast of Ireland and one of my mother's heroines from Irish history.   Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?   Deirdre O'Mahony, an Irish who recently participated in Hybrid, at RedLine. Her research while in Colorado involved meeting with local ranchers. Her role as an artist is to facilitate communication, and in doing so her art practice becomes social practice. Deirdre is based in County Clare, Ireland, and her art draws attention to farming practices, environmental issues, the landscape, etc. Her works amazes me with powerful results and its reflection and activism on current issues. I love to witness the power of art making.   Continue reading for more from Rian Kerrane. What's one art trend you want to see die this year?   Naming an artwork "Untitled" and "mixed media." I always want to know more about a work and how it's made.

What's your day job?   I came to Denver twelve years ago to be a professor in the Sculpture Program at the University of Colorado Denver, the most satisfying aspect of which is mentoring students to become successful creative professionals.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?   Equip a personal studio with dedicated assistants in Ireland and one in the U.S. I would alternate between isolation, travel and exhibition. A highlight would be to set up an iron/bronze foundry to share the opportunity to cast with artists. Our spring Iron Arts Festival at CU Denver is about education and an opportunity for a community to engage in the process. I'd like to offer this to a wider contingent of the community and more often. It's fun to make folks excited about art. Continue reading for more from Rian Kerrane. What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?   The arts are strong in Colorado. We have excellent supporters and practitioners. Denver needs to feature more of our excellent artists in the contemporary art venues in town. I also would like to be able to read more about our visual art community, and have more writers and art publications in Colorado.   Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?   Michael Brohman. Michael is my colleague in the Sculpture Program at CU Denver -- what a prolific artist and excellent educator (with a beautiful new daughter!). Continue reading for more from Rian Kerrane. What's on your agenda in the coming year?   I'm off to Cork, Ireland as a keynote for IRON R2 at the National Sculpture Factory in April, and I'm really excited to exhibit at the Arvada Art Center in Collin Parson's Unbound in June. I'm participating in the Seventh International Conference in Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Latvia this summer, too, as well as the Franconia Sculpture Park annual iron pour in Minnesota. There's a lot going on for me this Year of the Horse. It's off to a gallop. I'm helping run the Western Cast Iron Art Conference in Laramie, Wyoming in September. We held the inaugural WCIAC in Denver in 2008, if anyone remembers, at Taxi and CU-Denver.   Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?   Timothy Flood is showing his sculpture around the region. His public art piece, "Stranger Reduction Zone," is showing in Colorado Springs until late May, and in Broomfield until October. The work is also scheduled for Scottsdale, Evergreen and Longmont in the near future. 

Everyone should see at least one iron pour in his or her life, and an opportunity is just around the corner: CU Denver's Iron Art Festival IV fires up at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 20 at the Arts Building loading dock on the Auraria campus, with Rian Kerrane, her students and colleagues, guest artist Araan Schmidt and two pouring cupolas -- "Irish Luck" and "Kraken." Spectating is free, and for $10, participants can buy a sand tile to carve into a casting mold for a keepsake, once cooled. Expect a party, with music and food trucks on hand; for more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Learn more about Rian Kerrane online.

Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd