It is difficult to mistake the humble snow globe for an objet d'art. While today's variety of the cultural relic -- generally, a plastic orb filled with water and sealed with a rubber stopper -- has a certain amount of low-rent charm, the funny world-within-a-world bubbles are often derided as nothing more than glorified paperweights. But for most of December, local wits will shake up that perception with 101 Snow Globes, an invitational exhibition that opens at Capitol Hill's Gallery 13 on Friday, December 7. More than thirty artists, working in mediums including bronze sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing, will present their own interpretations of the desktop snow globe -- or as the Brits call it, the "waterball" -- using the confinements of its interior to play with limited visual space.
"Part of what makes the experiment work is that the dimensions are so small," says Doug Kacena, who is co-curating the show with sculptor Stephanie Hill.
Hanging suspended from the gallery's ceiling, as well as mounted on shelves and towers in its main room, the globes will offer miniature, three-dimensional samples of works by local visual artists, ranging from the well-known to the newly emerging: Familiar artisans such as Phil Bender, Tim Flynn, Jeanne King and Rene Farkass will present their offerings -- as will Hill's young daughter Avery. The globes will be for sale, with prices starting at $25. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Denver Artists Service Organization, a nonprofit group founded by Kacena.
101 Snow Globes
Gallery 13, 1215 13th Avenue
Friday, December 7, through Thursday, December 31
Opening reception, 7 p.m. Friday, December 7, free
"The show was put together pretty quickly. We wanted to do something that would be quick and lighthearted, so that we could get as many people as possible to participate," says Kacena, who sees 101 Snow Globes as a chance for artists from all corners of Denver's gallery culture to contribute to one globally minded show.
"It's definitely a play on the kitsch of the holiday season," he says. "But it's also an opportunity for different artists to unite for a common goal: to show that Denver's art scene is unique and that we can co-present works by people from different galleries and, for a couple of weeks, have a common voice."
It's a small world after all.
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