Artist Topher Straus is excited to announce a Closing Reception Party to celebrate the end of his exhibition at a historic Golden, CO establishment. Straus’ visionary National Parks landscape series has been on display at the American Mountaineering Museum since July 18th, alongside centuries of mountaineering artifacts that blend perfectly to create an amazing contrast between past exploration and modern representation. The closing reception will begin at 6pm on Thursday, September 26th and conclude at 9pm. Admission is free; there will be complementary food, and alcoholic beverages provided by Golden City Brewery and Golden Moon Speakeasy. The artist will be giving a speech at 7:30pm to discuss his artistic process and his love of the outdoors.
An exhibition of artworks representing the Sierra Nevada’s terrain, ecology, geology, history, recreation, and endemic species of plant and animals, as well as its effect on the culture and climate of California and Nevada.
About the Juror: Jeanne Lorenz is a visual artist whose work explores ecology and human collaboration with natural systems. She teaches painting, printmaking, mural painting, color theory, and 2-D design at Solano Community College. She holds an MFA from Yale and a BFA from California College of the Arts.
About Arts Benicia: Arts Benicia is a community-based non-profit offering diverse and relevant exhibitions in its gallery and at other exhibition venues in Benicia; engaging public programs; creative workshops for adults; and inspiring youth arts educational programming. Located in the Historic Benicia Arsenal, Arts Benicia has been a vital part of the California Bay Area regional art scene for over 31 years, supporting artistic development and enriching the larger community.
Straus on the event: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have my first showing in California, and it couldn’t be with a more fitting art piece. I created the ‘Yosemite National Park’ painting so I could show it in the state of California, and I know the community of Benicia will appreciate it as much as I do.”
Exhibition Dates: Sep 28 – Nov 9
Opening Reception: Sat., Sep 28, 3-6pm
Juror: Akili Tommasino, Associate Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Artists Talks: Sat., Oct 12 & Nov 9, 3-4pm
New Directions is a premier national exhibition of contemporary art. Artists are encouraged to submit works that provide a juxtaposition of traditional styles and cutting-edge practices in all 2D media, 3D sculpture, video, and installation.
Now in its 35th year, New Directions brings contemporary art to an atypical venue - the intimate galleries of Barrett Art Center’s 1840s Greek Revival townhouse. Former domestic spaces remodeled as galleries create a visually-compelling setting for contemporary and cutting-edge work.
For a full list of artist click HERE
About the Juror, Akili Tommasino
Akili Tommasino joined the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as Associate Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art in fall 2018. An advocate of emerging artists and scholar of the twentieth-century avant-garde, he has curated and collaborated on numerous exhibition projects at institutions internationally. Previously, he was a curatorial assistant at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and a Fulbright Fellow at the Centre Pompidou - Musée national d’art moderne in Paris. He is completing a PhD in History of Art and Architecture through Harvard University, where he earned his MA and BA.
Link to Article: https://www.barrettartcenter.org/new-directions-19
Painting the Parks
By CHL Staff
Topher Straus' unconventional landscape paintings highlight the captivating vistas of our national parks
The many vistas of our National Parks are images we know and have seen time and time again. From the mountain peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park to the red rocks of Arches National Park, these views are stunning and familiar. Topher Straus, a Denver-born artist, presents a new view of some of our country's most beloved landscapes.
Straus chose to use the National Park system as a blueprint for his unconventional representational landscapes. Straus highlights popular vistas through spectacular 30” x 60” paintings on metal with the goal of providing a personal and rich experience for the viewer, much like when visiting the parks themselves.
"My style is unconventional, fresh and inspired. My work is fun, fearless and full of rhythm."
—Artist Topher Straus
Straus is a New York-trained fine artist, known for his raw playfulness and imaginative concepts. He describes his work as “… a deconstruction of reality that is layered with radical color combinations and bold texture.” He believes that nature is food for our souls and fuel for our imagination.
Link to article: https://www.coloradohomesmag.com/Style/Painting-the-Parks/
Today we’d like to introduce you to Topher Straus.
Topher, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I enrolled in art school, with a specific focus on cinema, at Syracuse University—one of the nation’s top film schools. The core curriculum was studio arts-based and I had zero experience creating art. I was inexperienced, surrounded by young prodigies who had been creating art since grade school. It was frustrating to be behind the curve; I almost failed out.
My lack of artistic skill presented me with a blank canvas. I was able to do things differently, my way, and without any traditional bias. Soon I began to enjoy the process of creation. It would serve me well, as a form of self-expression. After graduating from Syracuse, I chose to keep my art very private.
While directing documentaries and tv commercials in Los Angeles, I showed a handful of people some large acrylic paintings I had done in my free time. The paintings were, and remain to this day, very sacred to me. They were dark, unhappy, and private. Part of me was embarrassed to share it.
My friends who saw my work expressed great admiration for my raw emotion and thematic use of my palette—urging me to show it in a gallery. But I wasn’t ready.
I had to go through a divorce and lose my father before I finally found myself. In fact, it took 25 years to submit any of my work to a gallery. I held my first show in July of 2018 at Denver’s Bitfactory Gallery.
As I found happiness, the tone and style of my work would change. Since last year, I have been creating landscape paintings of the National Parks and printing them on 30” x 60” aluminum sheets. I love the way the reflection from the aluminum interacts with all of the bright colors that I use. I had my first landscapes show in early 2019 at the Niza Knoll Gallery, in Denver’s historic Sante Fe Arts District.
The show was called “The Parks.” The timing couldn’t have been better. The show opened just as the US Government shut the national parks down. I saw the show as not only an opportunity to present my art but also to remind everyone of the everlasting beauty that exists in our national parks. The show was a huge success.
The paintings have since been featured in an Internationally Juried show in New York’s Katonah Art Museum and also in a solo exhibition at the American Mountaineering Museum. Both shows will be running until the end of Summer 2019.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to be an artist. In the last year, I’ve sold over 60 paintings internationally and I’m currently featured in various art galleries in Colorado, as well as being featured in international art publications. It’s such a gift to have a passion that I can share with the world. It’s been an amazing year and there are so many bright things on the horizon.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Once my head was in the right place, making the decision to become a full-time artist was easy. There’s been a lot of trial and error; creating art can be very difficult. I didn’t realize how time-consuming logistics can be. Finding art space, transporting pieces from one gallery to another, and distributing pieces to collectors. Some months I do well creatively; cranking out pieces, dripping with inspiration. Other times, I try really hard to get my work out there, but can’t find time to create.
I just have to have faith, that through hard work and a little bit of luck, everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
There are a countless number of individuals that have supported me and my endeavors. I am eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me. I was elated to see the positive feedback from spectators at galleries and Instagram users, it feels great to see my work being appreciated by complete strangers that have no connection me personally. Instagram in particular, has been an amazing resource. It’s the perfect place to display my art for practically unlimited viewers. I’ve gained a significant number of followers and fans that come to the shows, to meet me and view my work in person.
The one person who never fails to be there for me is my son, Oliver. His enthusiasm and extroverted personality enables me to embody the youthful perspective that comes through in my work. He is, by far my most important and inspiring source of motivation.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up as a native of Denver taught me to have a passion for the outdoors. It shows in my work and I love making my work in Colorado. I have always been very creative – it’s a fundamental part of my character. As a teen, I was a child actor for KWGN’s The Two Bits Club appearing in over 350 commercials as on-air talent. I also performed in a children’s performing company. Always been a hard worker and had a passion for life. My mother, Jean Dennis, instilled respect for my environment and encouraged my voice as an advocate.
Topher Straus joins 14 other Denver artist at Cooper and Dash for their “Moonwalk Show” that celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing! The gallery is located at 1441 Wazee St. Denver, CO 80202
The American Mountaineering Museum (AMM) in Golden, Colorado is the first and only museum in the nation dedicated to mountaineering history. Since its founding in February 2008, the museum has pioneered a new approach to interpreting knowledge about mountains and educating people on mountaineering history, safety, and mountain culture. Artist Topher Straus cultivated his love of the outdoors in his native Colorado and has been recently hard at work in his Golden studio creating an innovative series of paintings highlighting U.S National Parks. Given the natural connection of subject matter and as an active supporter of their local community, the museum is pleased to feature these works in a solo exhibition, Topher Straus: The Parks.
The public is invited to a free opening reception at the museum 710 10th St. in Golden on Thursday July 18 from 6-9 pm. Attendees will enjoy drinks, nibbles and chance to meet the artist. The exhibit will be on view through September 30th, 2019 during regular museum hours, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10-4 pm, Wednesdays 10-6 pm and Saturdays 12-5pm. Adult admission is $7.
Inspired by his own exploration of the outdoors and a strong desire for continued preservation, Straus' large-scale paintings take an original approach to depicting iconic national park landscapes around the United States. He is proud to show his work in the area that his fostered life-long connection to nature. His process blends photography with digital painting, with the final image printed onto large sheets of aluminum and finished off with a high-gloss transparent acrylic resin finish. The results are dynamic abstractions of familiar park scenery that pop with color. Michael Paglia, Art Critic for Denver's Westword recently reviewed this series with the following observations:
"Given the high-tech methods and the semi-gloss surfaces, the result could be too slick and commercial, but the expressionistic handling of the outlined forms prevents that. The landscapes are simplified and conventionalized abstractions of the views and have a retro-cubist quality, along with a dash of Yellow Submarine."
Colorado native Topher Straus left the state to attend Syracuse University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Art. He pursued a career in documentary, narrative films and advertising that took him to Los Angeles and later, New Zealand. Upon returning to Denver in 2012, he shifted gears and began fervently working in his studio as a full-time artist, quickly landing his first solo exhibit. His second solo show, The Parks, was featured at Niza Knoll Gallery early in 2019. He is an active, enthusiastic promoter of his own work and the art community as a whole. Follow Topher on Instagram @CreativeTopher and his website at TopherStraus.com
The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum seeks to preserve the history and spirit of mountaineering, to educate visitors on mountain culture and the sport of mountaineering, and to inspire in the modern climber a greater appreciation for climbing history. Known as the nation's foremost destination to experience and research mountain history, the museum's unparalleled and varied collection offers a comprehensive field view. For more information visit http://www.mountaineeringmuseum.org
Article by: Susan Froyd
American Mountaineering Museum, 710 Tenth Street, Golden
July 18 through September 30
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 18, 6 to 9 p.m.
Topher Straus and the American Mountaineering Center and Museum were made for each other. Straus’s large, digital landscape prints of mountain parks are applied to aluminum surfaces for an abstracted look that suggests the very canyon walls and mountain peaks the center was built to extol. As a bonus, the reception for Straus’s show will include punch from Golden Moon Distillery, beer from Golden City Brewery and bites from Cheese Ranch.