Art Gym Denver is honored to show Alopecia by Rachel Doren and Sanctuary by Erin McAllister in the Common Space Gallery with an opening reception July 18 from 5-8PM. Alopecia is a series of gold and black paintings used as therapy for trauma, while Sanctuary uses mixed-media fiber as a meditative art-making process.
Five years ago, Rachel Doren was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, a condition which causes a total loss of hair on the head and body. Putting her focus into painting, Doren used art to work through the shock of her hair loss. The paintings in her series titled Alopecia – created with gold Finetec pressed pigments on black board – aim to normalize and beautify what was a difficult process of working through her trauma. Using art to escape and rest her mind, she meditated through making intricate patterns and linework, covering the black void with gold marks, giving value to her trauma. Discussing this experience in her artist statement, Doren explains that “Trauma is difficult to handle yet we all experience it. After losing all of my hair to alopecia, I want to convey how pain, fear and trauma are necessary and shared human experiences.”
Join us on Thursday, August 8 from 6-7PM for an artist talk/demo with Rachel Doren, where she will explain her painting process and how she used it to grow through her trauma.
Created in a spontaneous burst after a trip to Barcelona, Erin McAllister found inspiration for Sanctuary in the colors of stain glass in that colorful city. Similar to Doren’s paintings described above, McAllister uses art as a meditative device, letting her mind rest while her hands work. In her artist statement, McAllister explains that this series explores the “relationship between the need to create and constant movement in life – going by too fast to sit still. These pieces represent my therapy – my sanctuary, and safe place through the chaos.” She began the mixed media fiber works in the series by drawing, allowing her hand to make impromptu marks on the page. She then took the drawings to the sewing machine, adding stitches of various colors, creating painterly lines with thread to work alongside the playful drawings. Through the creation of the series, McAllister strives to ask the audience “Where do you feel safest? Where do you go to reflect and slow down?”
Join us for Expressive Free Motion Sewing, an artist demo by Erin McAllister on Monday, July 29 from 4-6PM.