Companionless crafting 

Murray and Betty Ross prove individual artistic prowess

click to enlarge d930_sevendays-27753.jpeg

Murray Ross laughs after I ask him an admittedly glib question: How have he and his wife, Betty, influenced each other as artists?

"It's been a quarter of a century of inevitable, constant collaboration," he says.

And that may be more accurate for the Rosses than for most long-married couples. Murray is the artistic director for Theatreworks at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, while Betty designs costumes for the repertory. Together, they've conspired on more than 100 plays.

Fabrications, their first collaborative visual-art exhibition, puts their individual work side by side, allowing the creativity of each to come through without compromise.

click to enlarge Guess which piece belongs to UCCS artistic director.
  • Guess which piece belongs to UCCS artistic director.

"When we work together in theater, we say things like, 'I like this, I don't like that.' As visual artists, we create on a much more individual level," says Murray.

The pair's visual art reflects their individual sensibilities, and apparently, so do their respective creative spaces.

"At home, she has her own studio ... a space I never intrude upon," explains Ross. "And I have my own workshop across the way."

Betty's work uses colorful acrylics and antique lace and fabrics sourced from all over the world, while Murray's art features dramatic boxes with small, juxtaposed human-like figures, reminiscent of dioramas.

Although Betty's visual art is so different from Murray's, you can't help but draw parallels to the couple's work in theater. The fabric in Betty's pieces suggests costumes, and the geometric lines of Murray's point to his set designs. Visually, Fabrications provides a unique window into the Rosses' creative processes.

Fabrications: An Exhibition of Works by Betty and Murray Ross
Business of Art Center's Hagnauer Gallery, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
Show runs Aug. 2 through Sept. 20; opening reception Saturday, Aug. 2, noon to 5 p.m.
For more, call 685-1861.


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