Dana Cain is the lady with her thumb in a million pies: a local maestra of event-planning who throws several well-attended collectors expos, art shows, parties and chocolate-fests each year. Her latest -- and biggest -- project is next summer's Denver County Fair. But Dana is also an avid art collector who's made a conscious decision to collect works by Colorado artists on a regular basis, especially after seeing the 2008 documentary about collector couple Herb and Dorothy.
Dana estimates that she buys an average of two to four pieces a month, when she can afford it. And her house is one big gallery/art installation, with themed rooms arranged and designed to best show off her growing collection. Over the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the individual works and why they belong to Dana Cain.
Dana Cain doesn't simply love the artworks of Lauri Lynnxe Murphy. Truly, she groks them, lives within them and without them, gets them like no other. She likes them because they twist and writhe with life, escaping all attempts at objectification, and they are innately, desperately, unequivocally Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, through and through. And her love knows no bounds: Dana says she had a dream in which she was the Queen of England and demanded that an entire room in Buckingham Palace be given over to an expanded version of a certain wall installation of Murphy's, Archipelago. Comprised of 200 individual resin components, the real Archipelago lives in a corner of Dana Cain's red-and-white kitchen. "I like it there because it sort of looks like mold growing in the kitchen, so it's like a joke about my cleaning skills," Dana says. But you know her inner Queen of England is otherwise entranced by the work: "Each piece," she adds, "is a brilliant little masterpiece in itself."
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Archipelago, though, is only one of many Murphy pieces Dana owns. "I'm proud of the pieces I own," she says. "I think my Lauri Lynnxe Murphy collection really represents most of her primary bodies of work." Here are some of those threads:
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The Tenticular Series: "I love, love, love the Tenticular Series," Dana gushes. "Those shapes are carried over into a lot of her pieces. I have a whole group of tentacles, and it's like a family portrait gallery: They're all named, and I love that." The Hair Ball Series: "I have these hanging in my stairwell: There are nine of them" Dana explains. A friend, she continues, suggested she "paint the stairwell blue with waves and plants floating in space and undersea creatures. That's the thing about Lauri: Her works are very organic and otherwise otherworldly." Untitled: "I got this oval resin collage piece from Plus Gallery. I just had to have it because it looks like she had to have been thinking of me when she created it." As it turned out, there was some truth in Dana's perception. Snow Globe: In a way, this work simply encapsulates everything Dana loves about Lauri. 'Nuff said. Dana continues to collect Murphy's works because she can't stop being fascinated by them. "I love her pop sense. She creates this whole organic pop world in which all of her pieces sort of live. And she's such an original thinker. Sometimes when you meet a true artist, you realize that their brain really functions differently. They're so keyed in to their own internal reality -- their imagination world -- that they can create stuff that is so original and not part of the normal world. Lauri creates her own secondary world. Whatever the medium, her work always takes you to the same sort of place."
But, now that the artist has departed Denver for grad school in Ohio, Dana's Murphy collection serves another, more personal purpose: "It broke my heart when she announced she was leaving Denver," she laments. "But I have a bunch of her work, so in some ways she is still here with me."
Like what you see? Future installments are imminent. Watch Westword's Show and Tell blog for more.