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‘DISPARATE COLORS’ at SHY RABBIT features D. Michael Coffee

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts continues “DISPARATE COLORS” through Jan. 9, featuring a diverse selection of artwork by eight nationally recognized and emerging artists from throughout the country.

‘DISPARATE COLORS’ featured artists are: Juanita Ainsley, mixed media monoprints; Randy Au, ceramics; Debra Blair, paintings and mixed media; D. Michael Coffee, ceramics and monoprints; Denise Coffee, Cozy Head velvet tie-caps; Patrick Shia Crabb, ceramics; Karl Isberg, paintings; and Shaun Martin, mixed media.

This vibrantly colorful group show is free and open to the public.

When artists work with disparate colors, at random, the joy is often in seeing things come together unexpectedly. For some there are no rules of composition or color themes, but rather just the feel of the moment.

The works on display are markedly distinct in quality or character, but also share an unexpected commonality, each combining fundamentally different and often incongruous colors and elements into compatibility.

“DISPARATE COLORS’ features a number of skillfully crafted sculptural works by nationally-recognized artist and art instructor, D. Michael Coffee.

These unique ceramic works are a part of Coffee’s critically acclaimed “Intuition Marker” series, for which he received a Best of Denver Award for Best Solo Ceramic Exhibition by Denver Westword magazine for “Place of Mind; Works by D. Michael Coffee,” 2004, held at the Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood, Colo.

“The “Intuition Marker series was inspired by my desire to mark time, or more specifically, a nano-second in time,” Coffee states.

“These are my personal ‘Post-it’ notes, or diary entries, where a fleeting thought or a glimpse of an idea is captured, and then fixed. These works function for me as time capsules that serve to record the ‘place of mind’ and space that I was in when they were created.

“I am able to look back on them and remember exactly the way I felt and what I was thinking at that very moment. I can also hear the music that I was listening to, and feel the atmosphere in my studio.”

Coffee received his bachelor of architecture degree with honors from the prestigious Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCIARC) in Santa Monica in 1979.

A parallel career in the arts would coincide with Coffee’s highly successful architectural practice of nearly 30 years.

Working out of his private studios, Coffee created contemplative tea bowls and cups that captured the attention of serious tea practitioners throughout the world, and that would eventually gain Coffee a reputation for his thoughtful and well-crafted tea wares.

Coffee also developed a printmaking technique that he labeled “Reductive Ink”™ monoprinting. He produced hundreds of unique hand-pressed monoprints while painstakingly refining his printmaking process.

Coffee’s ceramics have been exhibited and published worldwide, and are included in the Vance Kirkland Museum, Denver, Colo., and the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), Pomona, Calif.

Coffee’s prints have been featured in dozens of group, invitational and solo exhibitions nationally, and are included in numerous private, corporate and museum collections throughout the world, including: the Dee Roy and Mary M. Jones Collection, Pomona, Calif.; Macy’s, Union Square, San Francisco, Calif.; Park Lane Hotel/Premier Lounge, Hong Kong, China; Nordstrom/Corp. Offices, Seattle, Wash.; National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Santa Monica, Calif.; and Deloitte and Touche, New York, N.Y., among others.

Coffee closed his architectural practice in order to devote himself to art. In 2003, he and his wife, Denise, moved to Pagosa Springs, and in 2004 built a working art studio.

“I am very process driven, and tend to work in concentrated spurts that begin with long periods of quiet, almost meditative calm, followed by what often feels like chaos,” says Coffee.

“I try not to think when I work, in attempting to reach a mindless-mind state of intuitive creation when putting order to my thoughts. I also strive to silence the internal critic during this physically active period, stalling thoughtful analysis until the work is fully materialized,.”

Coffee’s ceramic studio was named SHY RABBIT, after the glaze formation seen by a tea “Sensei” (or teacher) in a tea bowl that she had received as a gift from one of Coffee’s longtime collectors.

Coffee is currently a professional artist and creative director for SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts. His responsibilities include organizing and selecting artwork for the four to six exhibitions that SHY RABBIT presents annually. Coffee also instructs year-round workshops of all levels in ceramics, printmaking and artist development courses.

The exhibition space and arts facility is currently open winter hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, and daily by chance.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts: Gallery, Studio and Workshops is located at 333 Bastille Drive, two blocks north of US 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 this exhibition, visit www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.