Day | Kelley-Cruz |  Lloyd |  Moran |  Reeves

exhibit opens February 2, 2024, 5-9 pm

artist talk: February 13th, 5:30 pm

on display through February 24th


FIVE: featuring artwork of five local women abstract artists Becca Day, Tara Kelley-Cruz, Valerie Lloyd, Jes Moran and Diane Reeves.
Work shown in this exhibit has been inspired by five historically important abstract expressionist female artists including Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, Elaine De Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell who were a part of the famous 9th Street Art Exhibition in 1951 in New York City.
This exhibit was a key moment in art history that truly embraced both abstract expressionism and the work of women artists.  In homage to these women, Surface Gallery is proud to present local work that commemorates both them and their importance to women in the art world.
Becca Day: 

As an abstract painter, I’m interested in the internal world, and how it can be expressed in visual form. I seek to make peace with unknowing and uncertainty, both in my everyday life and within the process of painting. My work is exploratory and meditative. I paint intuitively, using oil and acrylic paint and gestural marks, employing varying thicknesses of paint and many layers. To form a composition, each mark made informs the next in an intuitive evolution of shape and texture making. A composition feels successful to me when I can create organic abstract forms based on ideas that language doesn’t cover, yet somehow feel familiar.

For this exhibit, I studied and created work inspired by the painter Grace Hartigan (1922-2008). Grace was quoted as saying, “…we must reach somehow into the complete unknown” and paint from “blind, inspired feeling” to get beyond superficial visual appeal. She didn’t want her work to be sentimental or too cozy—she wanted something in her work to put you off. Her abstract work contained strong shapes and bold color, and of the five women we’re inspired by in this exhibit, I resonated most with her style. The challenge was to create works in our own voice with inspiration from the work of our chosen painter. As I channeled Grace’s boldness, I feel like I’ve learned valuable lessons I’ll carry with me in my future work.

Becca is a self-taught painter from Colorado Springs, working in mainly oil and acrylic mediums. She has been making art in many forms since childhood, and abstract painting has been her focus since 2015. She has exhibited in many local gallery exhibits and has collectors nationwide. 

Tara Kelley-Cruz: 

Tara Kelley-Cruz was born in Amarillo, Texas and currently lives and works in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With Fine-Arts background, (Tara has a BFA degree, specializing in Printmaking, from Brigham Young University), she became a Graphic Designer and has worked for 28 years with many high profile companies. In recent years, Kelley-Cruz has realized her lifelong dream of dedicating much of her time to her painting practice, in which she combines the best parts of printmaking, graphic design and the experimental nature of painting.

Tara Kelley-Cruz’s work relies heavily on form, color and texture and deals with the question of what things in our history shape who we are as individuals and as a culture. Her latest series of work contains themes of hope, in mending broken relationships, finding connection and common ground, and finding beauty in the turbulence of life.  As a mixed-media painter, her process includes creating at least 10-12 layers of paint, found ephemera, image transfers and drawings. between layers, she scrapes and sands into the painting. Earlier layers are revealed and the surface begins to take on a rich, textured life of its own with its own history. She works in an intuitive way, relying on her own discernment to guide her in the creative process. Tara focused on Lee Krasner for her inspiration in this exhibit.

Valerie Lloyd:
Valerie Lloyd paints with both acrylic and oil on canvas and wood panel.She enjoys depicting still lifes into modern and simplified images, creating abstract paintings, and occasional works in an illustrative style. Her focus is more on the subjective aspects than the objective. All three styles are often inspired by personal spiritual and metaphorical exploration. Valerie has remained a creative throughout her life, whether it be in her own work at home, as an art teacher to students of all ages, or commissioned design projects. She currently owns Surface Gallery and acts as as the curator itsmonthly shows, and also manages the shared studio and creativebusiness offices in The Sluice. She has a Bachelors of Arts and Education from Colorado State University. She strives to always inspire those around her in their creative endeavors and truly believes in the power of art to transform culture.  
Valerie was inspired by Elaine DeKooning for this exhibit, specifically she strove to experiment with portraying realistic images into abstract expressions.  
Jes Moran:
Jes Moran is an abstract painter based in Colorado, focusing on acrylic stain techniques applied to raw, sewn canvas. Her process involves the application of thinned acrylic pigments through pouring, staining, and brushing onto the canvas, followed by a meticulous cutting and sewing of the material to create new compositions.Moran then adds layers of gradient acrylic paints and incorporates discreet window-like shapes. These elements come together to evoke a sense of quiet depth and multidimensionality within her paintings. Jes is continuously exploring the interplay of light, shadow, reflection, color, and landscapes, drawing inspiration from memories associated with these elements. By subtly translating these impressions onto canvas, she invites viewers to engage with the nuanced details and contemplative aspects of her work. She studied painting at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Apparel Construction at Art Institute of Portland, Oregon. However, she is primarily self taught. Her work has been shown along the Front Range of Colorado. Jes focused on Helen Frankenthaler's work for this exhibit.
Diane Reeves:
Diane Reeves paints to make sense of things, to process thoughts, and to have a conversation with the world. She has been painting for a number of years, exploring her surroundings, finding her connections as she paints each one. She is married to a man who has begun running again, has five children each with their own extraordinary creativities, and has a modest number of close friends, all of whom she counts as her big family. She studied computers in college (which feels like a world away from now), she consults in design aesthetics, and she agrees with Wayne White that there are places and people so beautiful they hurt your feelings. Diane focused on works by Joan Mitchell for this exhibit.