‘DIALOGUES’ at SHY RABBIT, features Christopher St. John

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts continues “DIALOGUES” through Nov. 15 featuring finely crafted works that suggest an exchange of ideas and opinions by six emerging and established artists from throughout the country.

“DIALOGUES” features figurative ceramic sculptures by Carrianne Hendrickson, New York; colorful abstract paintings by Marcie Paper, New York; elegant ceramic sculptures by Jeff Pender, North Carolina; and compelling figurative paintings by Christopher St. John, New Mexico.

Also showing, a collaborative “DIALOGUES” project by Debra Blair, New Mexico, and Marti Bledsoe, Colorado, in the SHY RABBIT print studio gallery.

Whether abstract, figurative, or purely sculptural, the paintings and ceramics selected for inclusion in “DIALOGUES” contain a conversational element special to each piece. They were chosen for their ability to speak in unique ways to and with the viewer, sometimes subtly but often overtly.

“DIALOGUES” features a number of provocative oil paintings by Taos artist Christopher St. John. The offerings include “The Collector and Her Things,” “Petting Zoo,” “Savages” and “Sick Neighbor,” among others.

St. John received his bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in 2002. His work has been included in a number of national group and solo exhibitions, including “Anymal,” Bethel Street Gallery, Hawaii; “Big Hand Blues,” Hawaii Pacific University, Kaneohe, Hawaii; and “Faces and Figures,” The Contemporary Museum Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I’m not a very complicated artist, but I like the darkness that inhabits our world,” stated St. John.

“Sometimes a great strategy for art making is finding a way of grabbing some of that darkness and pushing it out into the road. Occasionally, that darkness turns around and takes me with it.

“This reversal isn’t entirely a bad thing, as sometimes pushing a form as far as it will go frays that boundary between ideas and materials until something unique emerges,” St. John continued.

St. John likes to take very simple ideas, like animal forms or body parts, and let them evolve through many iterations.

“I am constantly trying to push my work into places I hadn’t been before, but I’m not heroic, even if my vanity would like to think so,” said St. John.

A lot of St. John’s work is born out of anger, anguish and frustration, something that he readily admits may be difficult for most people to take “in one sitting.” The opposite is true for his color palette, though, which consists of beautiful shades of light blue, coral, pale yellow and pastel pink, suggestive of a hopeful and optimistic attitude and subtext.

“Transformation is the underlying current for most of what I do in my work. It is important to remember that darkness isn’t the same thing as negativity or pessimism. Sometimes shadows hide much that is worthwhile to examine, if only so one can grow,” St. John concluded. “That’s a whole lot of fancy talk for saying that I just want to make art.”

St. John’s work is included in the Museum of the North, Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Hawaii State Art Museum.

SHY RABBIT gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts is located at 333 Bastille Drive, two blocks north of U.S. 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard.  The 4,000 square-foot arts facility houses a ceramic studio and fine art gallery, two mixed-media workshops, and two large exhibition spaces.

For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766.

For more information on “DIALOGUES,” visit www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.