Telluride Arts' Art Walk, 6/5: Highlights, Slate Gray Gallery

Telluride Arts’ First Thursday Art Walk is a festive celebration of the art scene in downtown Telluride. Participating venues host receptions to introduce new exhibits. Because of the July 4th holiday, the third Art Walk of the summer 2019 season takes place Friday, June 5, 5 –8 p.m.

July Art Walk highlights include a sneak-peek at all of the donated artwork to be featured at the Ah Haa School for the Arts‘ Annual Art Auction on July 19. If you can’t make it to the event, pre-bidding is welcome and there is a buy-it-now option available. 

Telluride Arts’ HQ presents an exhibition of works on paper by artist Meredith Nemirov. Addressing the intersection of art and science through a series of mixed-media paintings, the work is an abstract visualization of the processes that occur beneath the forest floor. Nemirov’s work is regularly featured at MiXX Projects + Atelier. (For more on the artist, go here.)

And Slate Gray presents the work of Joseph Toney in a show titled “Abstracted Alpine.” His illustrative abstractions of majestic mountains reduce his lofty subjects to clean lines and muscular patterns. Please scroll down for more on the artist.

Go here for an overview of all participating galleries for the July Art Walk.

Artist Joseph Toney was discovered by Telluride Arts, who introduced him to Slate Gray Gallery.

The Chinese term for “landscape” is comprised of two characters which translate to “mountains and water.” The age-old tradition is linked with the philosophy of Taoism, which emphasizes harmony between man and the natural world.

Cubist paintings, landscapes or otherwise, broke with the academic convention of a single viewpoint. It is as if the artists kept shifting positions and then attempted to combine the different “views” they saw onto a surface. The resulting image is a complex interlocking and overlapping of forms. The subject is transformed into a kind of geometry – or architecture – often rectilinear in its makeup.

East meets West, past meets present, in the edgy landscapes of artist Joseph Toney, who cites both Chinese scroll art and Cubism as key influences. His work is on display for the month of July at Telluride’s Slate Gray Gallery, 209 East Colorado Avenue. The opening of “Abstracted Alpine” coincides with Telluride Arts’ Art Walk, Friday, July 5, 5 – 8 p.m.

The artist Caspar David Friedrich once said “The artist’s feeling is his law.” Toney’s feeling?: unbridled enthusiasm – especially when in the mountains skiing or just being. Like his Chinese counterparts, the young artist has always been in harmony with the natural world and hopes those feelings pervade his work: “My goal is for my art to communicate the sense of completeness, liveliness, and excitement I feel when I spend time in the mountains.”

In Joseph Toney’s illustrative abstractions, majestic mountains are reduced to clean lines and muscular patterns. These contour studies summarize the richness and variety of the awesome shapes the artist has loved since his childhood growing up in Appalachia just spitting distance from a ski mountain.

Like many of Picasso’s (a major influence) work in this genre, Toney’s images are “memory landscapes,” in other words, they are not painted plein air style on site.

Toney’s creative process begins when he is out ski touring, biking, or hiking, camera in tow. Photograph in hand, Toney initially executes his painting with freehand sketches, then finishes the work using a process he sums up as “device drawing,” a technique that involves the use of rulers, French curves, and a makeshift compass. The resulting mountainscapes, executed in acrylic and resin, are directly translated onto wood panels. At least for now: Toney is moving into deeper abstraction and works on canvas.

Jospeh Toney, more:

Joseph Toney, age 28, grew up in Boone, North Carolina, just 10 minutes from a ski mountain, where he became a self-described “fanatic.”

He began making art in high school and knew way back then his destiny was mark-making. Toney went on to attend a local college, Appalachian State, majoring in the School of Fine Arts in graphic design and painting.

Toney took a hall pass following his sophomore year to spend time in Austria and Germany studying design in Dornbirn, a toy town on the border. Back home, he landed a job with Teton Gravity Research, working his magic on everything from T-shirt design to logos, posters, even magazine ads.

He then returned to college to finish his degree, after which he landed a job with Armada Skis:

“Why Armada? The company had an 800-square-foot studio, which was my playground. I could work and paint.”

Toney left that job in December 2018 to see if he could make it on his own. And to date the artist is rocketing.

The arc of Toney’s career should be an inspiration for all young artists.

In addition to freelancing now for Armada Skis and other clients, Toney took the initiative to put together several grants, which have paid off big time. Following his visit for to Telluride and Slate Gray for Art Walk, he is headed to Westminster Colorado (just outside Denver) to paint a 2,500 foot mural for the city.

And for him, the beat goes on…

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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  1. […] Slate Gray presents the work of Joseph Toney. His illustrative abstractions of majestic mountains reduce his subjects to clean lines and muscular patterns. (Go here for more on the artist.) […]

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