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SHY RABBIT opens ‘Down To The Bone’ Saturday with artists’ reception

SHY RABBIT launches “Down To The Bone” on Saturday, June 18, with an open house/artists’ reception from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The public is urged to attend, at no charge. Light refreshments will be served throughout the day.

This long awaited two-person exhibit continues through July 31 featuring new works by Colorado artists Chris Haas and Amy K. Wendland.

Haas and Wendland will be on hand to answer any questions that visitors may have, and to explain their thoughts and working processes. Please stop by to meet them and to learn more about their uniquely eclectic and skillfully crafted work.

By combining found objects and natural materials, Haas and Wendland get “Down To the Bone,” breathing new life into the previously abandoned and forgotten, and creating a vibrant new world without rules.

Incorporating mixed media, Haas infuses a mystical aura into reclaimed animal skulls, meticulously reanimating them back into a different dimension and character.

Using wood, bone, hair, dried plants and discarded mechanical parts, Wendland enters into a dialog of discovery and recognition, addressing human foibles and fears with humor and integrity.

These works are intended to attract and disquiet, to seduce and repel, to bring harmony and imbalance. They are foreign and odd, yet curiously familiar.

Featured artist Amy K. Wendland received her BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design in 1990. She worked commercially as an artist and designer, with projects ranging from book covers and advertisements to logo design and museum exhibit drawings.

After years of freelancing, Wendland returned to school to earn an MA in sculpture and an MFA in graphics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Wendland relocated to Durango In 2000, and currently serves as an associate professor in the Art Department at Fort Lewis College.

She frequently guest lectures on art and design and has been invited to jury several local exhibitions. Wendland’s artwork typically utilizes a combination of humor, offbeat materials and obsessive craft.

“By combining materials that have no business being together, I try to make the result look as if it had evolved spontaneously, free from artificiality or affectation”, states Wendland.

“Each substance requires different handling and finishing techniques to showcase its particular characteristics.

“The process of making work is sensual in the truest definition of the word: it is intensely physical, relating to and affecting the senses.

“Walnut dust smells sweet and darkly smoky; the wood finishes to a moody, melancholic richness.

“Ground bone stinks horribly, yet yields a softly glowing mottled ivory that feels buttery smooth in the hand.

“I confront heavy issues in a lighthearted manner, using humor to point out the droll and occasionally farcical nature of our existence.

“My goal is to create work that with humor and integrity reflects an understanding of what I see and feel.

“Artworks act as cairns marking a journey through the fears, curiosities and pleasures of life.”

Reviewers have described Wendland’s sculptures as “darkly ironic and beautifully crafted,” “creepy and inventive,” and “immaculate, beautifully crafted objects with characteristic intellectual playfulness.”

Her sculptures and drawings have been exhibited nationally, most recently in Kentucky, Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado.

Additional information about Haas and Wendland will appear in future PREVIEW articles.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts is located at 333 Bastille Drive; two blocks north of U.S. 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard, west of the City Market complex.

SHY RABBIT houses a fine art gallery and working ceramic studio, two mixed-media workshops and rotating exhibition spaces.

SHY RABBIT is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at no charge, and evenings by appointment. Ample parking is available in front of the building.

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

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