Colorado Creatives

Colorado Creatives: Terry Maker

Terry Maker, “Cowgirl Hat Ball,” 2019; wood structure, straw hats.
Terry Maker, “Cowgirl Hat Ball,” 2019; wood structure, straw hats. Chris Rogers
Artist Terry Maker couldn’t be more correctly named: A lot of her eye-opening, tactile work is all about making: process-heavy constructions built up from a pile of common and malleable materials, ingenuity and know-how. Represented in Denver by the Robischon Gallery, Maker lives and works in Louisville, knows her way around a toolbox and boasts a national presence.

What does Maker think about when she puts her tools down to ponder what being an artist is all about? Get an inkling as she answers the Colorado Creatives questionnaire.

click to enlarge Terry Maker, “Trigger,” 2018; high-density polyurethane foam, wood parts. - CHRIS ROGERS
Terry Maker, “Trigger,” 2018; high-density polyurethane foam, wood parts.
Chris Rogers
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?

Terry Maker: There is an innumerable amount of creative influences on my life and my work, but I would say at the top of my list is my foundation of faith in following Christian belief. I often listen to the music of Arvo Pärt, an Estonian Christian composer. His wordless arrangements become settings of prayer and liturgy insinuating an atmosphere of transcendence into my studio practice. Also, I am a huge fan of the Los Angeles artist Tim Hawkinson, whose sense of handmade focus and keen wit and humor really excite and inspire my work.


Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?

Tim Hawkinson: his art and his sense of whimsical, eccentric approach to art-making; Lee Bontecou: her radical approach to materials, her repeated use of circular imagery and those luscious, black, never-ending portals; and Sister Corita Kent: an extraordinary and innovative pop artist of the 1960s. I love how she mixes political and religious ideas while serving as a Catholic nun in California.

click to enlarge Terry Maker,“Cowgirl Hat Ball,” inner view, 2019. - CHRIS ROGERS
Terry Maker,“Cowgirl Hat Ball,” inner view, 2019.
Chris Rogers
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?

I enjoy being a member of the Robischon Gallery and getting to work with Jim Robischon and Jennifer Doran. Their exciting approach to introducing the Colorado art community to innovative and risk-taking work continues to inspire and stimulate new passion, extending Colorado’s influence not only locally, but throughout the art world.


Sometimes being a bit outside of the major art hubs, an artist here might slip through the radar of national and international art writers and critics.

How about globally?

I hope to make work that is at its core ultimately communicating a larger picture of our cultural dialogue. More than ever, the artist voice is particularly important — the contemporary artist should be a part of this communication addressing the spiritual, physical and even political climate.

click to enlarge Terry Maker operates a chain saw to create a new sculpture. - CHRIS ROGERS
Terry Maker operates a chain saw to create a new sculpture.
Chris Rogers
How do you describe your art practice?

This is a hard question, because I tend to experiment with many different materials and processes, and depending on these, my work can take many curious and circuitous conceptual paths. But I would say that I like to work with sometimes-commonplace materials: cutting, aggregating and finally re-combining them into dense and tactile wall reliefs and freestanding sculptures. My practice of construction, destruction and re-assembly is often very labor-intensive, while I’m hoping to make objects that in the end seem effortlessly built.

What’s your dream project?

I would love to do a show at the Tank Garage Gallery at the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, and, of course, at the Denver Art Museum.

click to enlarge Terry Maker, Bitter Installation, “Garden of Nineveh - Bitter,” 2008, MCA Denver; resin, plastic, human bone replicas, bubble wrap, puzzles, shredded money, audio recordings. - CHRIS ROGERS,
Terry Maker, Bitter Installation, “Garden of Nineveh - Bitter,” 2008, MCA Denver; resin, plastic, human bone replicas, bubble wrap, puzzles, shredded money, audio recordings.
Chris Rogers,
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

Living and working in my little town of Louisville is a great blessing. I have a great art studio adjacent to my home, and Louisville is situated right between Denver and Boulder.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

John McEnroe and Suchitra Mattai.

click to enlarge Terry Maker, Sweet Installation, “Garden of Nineveh - Sweet,” 2008, MCA Denver; Resin, Plastic and Bubble Wrap. - CHRIS ROGERS
Terry Maker, Sweet Installation, “Garden of Nineveh - Sweet,” 2008, MCA Denver; Resin, Plastic and Bubble Wrap.
Chris Rogers
What's on your agenda in the coming year?

I am looking forward to a solo exhibition of my work at the Longmont Museum, opening on January 23 and running through May 17, 2020.

Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

Kevin Oehler, an amazing artist who should be recognized and acknowledged for his drawings and paintings that merge mechanical fragments with plant and animal anatomy in human-sized assemblages.

See sculptural work by Terry Maker in a two-person show with fellow sculptor Walter Robinson, opening with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 19, and running through November 9 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street. Also in the gallery: solo exhibitions by Kiki Smith, Fred Stonehouse and Christian Rex van Minnen.

Learn more about Terry Maker and her work online.
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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