Over the winter, the final leg of the Ritz-Carlton's revamp was completed, and one of the best parts of this change is "Sense of Place: Crafting Urban Adventures," six pieces of original art by four local artists. The work is in the new first-floor lobby of the hotel in downtown Denver, behind the stairs by the elevators.
"The inspiration for the Ritz-Carlton Denver is drawn from the marriage of urban Denver architecture and the extraordinary organic nature that lies on its doorstep," says curator Barbara Lewis of Lewis Art Consulting. "Tying these two themes together is an adventurous spirit longing to explore and experience all that Denver has to offer, whether it's amongst the buildings or amongst the mountains.”
But this new collection isn't all you'll want to see at the Ritz-Carlton. At the entrance are flower arrangements by the Perfect Petal that change weekly. While they may not technically be art, the way that the strange and beautiful flowers and plants are arranged on the new center tables make them look like something Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio might have painted.
The flowers are in front of the stairway; right behind that spot is Sarah Winkler's “Half Dome" diptych. These two acrylic-on-wood panels are layered with paint that the artist partially removes with mixed mediums such as water, salt, carving techniques, heat and sanding tools. Her goal is to showcase erosion through all weather; to the naked eye, the images look like rocks and wood stacked to create dreamy mountain collages.
From there, head to the front desk, where you'll encounter Jeff Richards's "Eros and Agape-Union." From afar, you'd never suspect that the artist's medium is embroidery thread. This large piece features eight miles of the stuff woven across the canvas to create bluish triangles and what looks like a bright light gleaming from behind the azure lines. The work has 600 nails placed in the back so that Richards could loop his thread; if you look closely at the edge of the work (by asking, of course, since it's behind the desk), you can make out the tiny slits along the perimeter — 7,000, to be exact.
The first image from Brenda Biondo's photo series "Remnants & Revival" is close to the elevators; it's a stunning flower paired with the land it grows on. Each work in Biondo's collection includes this dual outlook. The other piece is located just beyond the elevators, in the blue- and silver-toned lobby; the cool-colored print puts what looks like a branch of juniper berries next to a black-and-white image of a mountain.
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Also in this lobby is a piece from the "Rust" series by Madeleine Dodge. The Denver-based artist created the four-piece work out of a raw steel square found among her mother's things after she passed away in 2006; Dodge buried the plate behind her family home in Oklahoma, and over time, it naturally corroded into a mesh of rusty red, orange, ombre and shades of silver. With each stage of decay, Dodge digitally photographed the plate. What you see at the Ritz-Carlton is one of those photos, which was transferred onto canvas and cut into four unique works.
While not new, Robert Kuster's beautiful yellow glass chandelier hanging at the top of the stairs got a facelift. Not only were the 586 arms of the piece cleaned, but 48 feet of LED lighting were added so that now the glass gets lit up from all angles.
Next time you're heading downtown for a cocktail at Elway's or just walking by the Ritz-Carlton, check out "Sense of Place: Creating Urban Advenure" for a quick, creative pick-me-up.