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G44 Gallery gets creative with a socially distant Betty Ross exhibit 

click to enlarge BETTY ROSS
  • Betty Ross

Things have changed rapidly in the last two weeks, and the entire city is trying to adapt to new developments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes the Colorado Springs art community, whose many artists have watched as their shows have been postponed or canceled to comply with new mandates that discourage groups of people larger than 10 from socializing, not to mention the broader encouragement for social distancing in general. However, uncertain times call for ingenuity and G44 Gallery has risen to the occasion.

The exhibit of work by local legend Betty Ross, Daphnis and Chloe in My Studio, opened March 13 but did not get much opportunity to shine before local and national events took a turn for the isolated. However, gallery owner Gundega Stevens quickly shifted to promoting the show online and through the gallery’s Facebook page. It’s not uncommon for an artist’s work to be available online. It is, however, uncommon for that to be the sole method used to share an exhibit.

“I have always put the current exhibit online, but now more than ever I think it’s important for people to be able to see the artwork from the safety of their homes,” says Stevens.

It’s fortunate Stevens made the choice, because Ross’ work is not to be missed. She utilizes beautiful colors and textures in her paintings, which she says are based on a gouache of a backdrop created by a Russian painter in the 1930s. Gouache is a type of opaque watercolor that is created by adding chalk or pigment. Unlike regular watercolor, the white of the background does not show through the paint.

Daphnis and Chloe, the inspiration for this exhibit, is a work of ancient Greek literature by Longus; it’s a love story of two innocent orphan shepherds and the trials they face. Ross’ interpretation has both local and international inspiration. She depicts images of Palmer Park, which she refers to as her personal pastoral place, and Messenia, Greece.

Ross, in addition to being known for her artwork, is a beloved patron of the arts in Colorado Springs, having founded TheatreWorks at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with her late husband Murray Ross.

You can check out the Ross exhibit at g44gallery.com. As the situation evolves, keep an eye out for more ways to engage with — and support — the arts as we all navigate this situation together. As Stevens so eloquently says, “We all want to find a sense of normalcy and we still want to find the beauty in the world, and I believe looking at artwork can do that.”

View the exhibit at g44gallery.com

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