Feminine Nature

BY Michael Cleverly | July 9, 2018 | Feature Features

These eight artists have a few things in common: They're contributing to the valley's cultural conversation, they're inspired by the outdoors, and they're all women.

It would be difficult to come up with a material that Ajax Axe isn’t willing to use in her sculpture. She’ll often weld a metal skeleton and then build on it using found objects, everything from skulls to gun stocks to traditional sculpture materials. Much of her work is interactive, demanding the viewer’s participation, whether it’s simply cranking the gears of a mechanical device or being enveloped by the art itself. A piece called “Modern Man” resembles a mummy morphing into, or out of, something else. Having spent eight years in Africa as a journalist, her work clearly acknowledges a debt to the figurative art, particularly masks found there. Axe’s solo show, Palace of the Beast, Dark and Light Incantations to the Imagination, will be at Skye Gallery Aspen through Aug. 9.

Laura Betti is currently working on a typographic series of highly conceptual large format and detailed ballpoint pen drawings, called Typography. One image begins as a topographical map of Aspen, and upon closer inspection, the shading and details consist of tiny lettering. The piece tells a story of the symbiotic relationship between Aspen locals and tourists, the complete history of Aspen and a sequence of countless comical ski bum quotes. A series called Biodiviersitree presents the cross sections of trees, in which text can be found within the tree rings. These drawings emphasize the importance of biodiversity and bring attention to man’s effect on the natural world. Another piece depicts a 44-by-60-inch fingerprint comprised of 3,500 labels that affect one’s identity (i.e. if someone is labeled a criminal, they are more apt to act criminally). Betti’s works are currently in several private collections.

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