Monthly Archives: August 2014

Matt Sesow tags Access Gallery


It was last Friday, I planned to meet friends for…whatever, maybe it was the movie, “Land Ho.” (I think it was). As is the case with most Facebookers, I had a minute. I opened my laptop and saw an invitation from the artist Matt Sesow at Access Gallery. I thought why not? It’s less than five minutes from my house. It was 5 ish, and before 6:00 p.m. it’s possible to find a parking spot on, or close to Santa Fe Drive. I jumped in the car, found a parking spot, walked a couple of blocks in the rain and, was happy to meet Matt Sesow and his delightfully, colorful, profound, politically correct/incorrect art.  The politics are irrelevant. His art is refreshing, exciting, hip, well executed and, this guy is making a name for himself in the bizarre, continually growing street art genre.

In the footsteps of Banksy, Haring, Fairey, Basquiat and Scharf, Sesow creates a style that comes closest to fine art graffiti.  He doesn’t tag buildings, trash dumpsters or, fences. He tacks a canvas to his studio wall, many as large as  6 ft. x 6 ft., and paints. When he is done he rolls up the painting, treks to his openings in Washington, D.C., London, New York. It’s kind of nice, galleries do not have to ‘hang’ his shows. The acrylic paintings, when he arrives,  are simply unrolled then tacked to the gallery walls and viola, he’s in business.

Matt paints in his studio in D.C. where his art career has gained momentum by utilizing a wacky take on social issues. With great joy he doesn’t avoid politics nor issues which keep the rest of us irritated and awake at night. Instead of spewing hatred and making a stand on Facebook he draws on his creativity and humor to express a political view on news worthy absurdities.  With tons of B.S. at his fingertips he delights in poking fun at politics through his art. He was recently commissioned to create a stamp for the United Nations and travels frequently to Europe where his art has created an international following.

“Access Denied,” show runs through September 13th at the Access Gallery.

get-attachment-8“Border Crossing,” by Matt Sesow.  Painted during his stay in Denver.

Access Gallery + Studio is located at 909 Santa Fe Drive.


What the hell is Lumonics?

If you don’t know. Meet Dorothy Tanner.

Just recently, I stumbled on to Dorothy Tanner and her cornucopia of neon colors and friends. My running buddy called one day to tell me she had just met the neatest woman. “You’re going to love her,” she gushed.

And I did.

Dorothy Tanner is a small, wirey, fiesty energized woman. Nothing like what a woman is expected to look and act like at her age. She loves cigarettes with no apologies. And, Oh, I forgot to tell you, she is ninety-one years old.

She gave me a tour of the north Denver industrial area studio and a broad explanation of Lumonics while showing rooms of sculptures and gracefully practicing her Tai Chi moves.

IMG_1864Dorothy Tanner, artist.

This woman is full of wisdom, adventures, ideas and energy. I wish I had turned on a tape recorder and let her go. I didn’t do that. If I had, I’d have to write a book. This is a woman who is completely candid about everything that is her, right up to the minute.

Dorothy has had two great loves in her life, art and Mel Tanner. He was the reason she got up in the morning. She was his muse, sidekick, friend, wife, collaborator, partner and family. Once they found each other they were together and art was the focus of their lives.

She was born an East Coast intellectual in the Bronx … to very forgiving parents, she added. “At age 27, I fell in love with art after a lifetime of music. My studies at the Brooklyn Museum changed my life. I started working in portraits, then clay, bronze and then, I fell in love with wood – the smell, the act of cutting into it. It allowed me the freedom to break away from representational art. Then I fell in love with Mel Tanner.”

She showed me the portrait of Mel she sculpted when she was first in love with wood and portraits. It remains center stage. After several hours of listening to Dorothy, it goes without saying the two had an intangible partnership that went far beyond marital love [Mel died in 1993].


They met at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and in 1963, opened the Granite Gallery on East 57th Street. This is where they were introduced to and fell in love with plexiglass and acrylic the basis of Lumonics.

“Through our experimentation with light, it became the basic element of our Lumonics art form.” Expanding on the characteristics of Lumonics, she explained, it is composed of colorful sculptural shapes that illuminate and enhance the latitude of space. Inadvertently connecting the elements of relaxation, energy and stimulus for imagination through shapes, light, sound and color. The effects meld into an experience. The Dorothy & Mel Lumonics experience.

Dorothy loved the heady New York City days.”It was an exciting time to be in New York City. We went to shows for De Kooning, Warhol, Louise Nevelson, Red Grooms.

“MOMA was such an eye opener for me. I was so taken by Picasso’s “Guernica ” and Lehmbruck’s (German sculptor) elongated, skinny people.

“Then, we decided to go to Europe to study and explore. After a year, we returned to the states and discovered Florida. We loved that it was so pretty and warm and the ocean was right there. We established a studio/gallery called Lumonics Light & Sound Theatre in Fort Lauderdale. And, this is where our visions came to life. When we fell in love with plexiglass we had no set path we followed, nor, do I have one now. Each piece depends on the mood I’m in.”

Today Dorothy is in Denver with a caravan of friends, artists and assistants, all who left Florida to seek another artistic fulfilling life. And like Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, they hit the road and found Denver. And here they are. Barry Raphael from the original Mel-Merrymakers, is the voice of Lumonics. He serves as her assistant, friend, social media expert, coordinator of events at Lumonics Studio and a gentle artist himself who knows intricately about the beauty and magic of Dorothy and her art. I mention him because he has done much to spread the art of Lumonics and keep the flames burning for all forms of artistic expressions. He’s another story.

Dorothy is waving her hands to indicate the parameters of the studio space which hosts poetry readings, music, art talks and dance, while fixedly observing, ”This [Lumonics Denver Studio] is a community of friends and artists. Our studios/galleries have always been a meeting place for young artists and friends who get together for music, dancing, smoking and discussions.”

Waxing in yet another metaphysical moment, cigarette lit and smoking, and, I’m sure thinking of Mel, she calmly threw this in, “We all have wisdom we block. If we allow ourselves to open up to all that’s possible we could all do whatever we want to do. There are many universes. We never leave. We’re always here.”

IMG_1815 IMG_1817 IMG_1819 IMG_1826 IMG_1830 IMG_1836 IMG_1838 IMG_1845 IMG_1846To find the euphoria of Lumonics at the Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery, is an event, a place to chill, feel free, experience music, talk art, dance, relax and share. Check the website for scheduled weekly events and gatherings.

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The reality of it all, “Boyhood,” is a work of art

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Sometimes I walk out of a movie, like the ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ and go “WOW.” Most of the time I straighten out my legs, stand up and sigh, “Oh, well.” Then there was my surprise reaction to last year’s SDFF Starz Denver Film Festival Belgian movie, “Broken Circle Breakdown.”  When the movie was over and without warning, I broke into sobs. Then I pulled myself together to get out of the theater and cried all the way home in my car. Last night I walked out of the movie, ‘Boyhood‘ and simply went, “Ah.” I didn’t want to leave and I wanted to hug everyone in the movie. It felt really good.

Richard Linklater‘s newest creation (director of Dazed & Confused, 1993) has taken film to a new moment with Boyhood. The story line is about family. The who & what characteristics of a family and how time marks its growth. The fictional drama (as it is being called) is infiltrated with overwhelming, engaging elements of reality.  Ultimately gifting the audience with real-time changes (braces, baby fat, long hair, short hair) of the entire cast. Filmed for several days each year over a twelve year period the audience becomes totally mesmerized with the characters. There’s only one you’ll really hate and I’ll let you figure that out. The son, (Mason) Ellar Coltrane, is the obvious break-out star of this epic reality drama who is so endearing and interesting, even at six years old, you hope and pray throughout the movie that he is always ok. His sister Lorelie Linklater (Samantha) is the quintessential ‘it’ little girl. She’s the tiny, sassy Britney Spears brat-fan of 14 years ago and, before our very eyes grows into a beautiful young college student. Mother, Patricia Arquette and father, Ethan Hawke, are equally compelling.  They masterfully depict ongoing, every day life everyone can identify with at some age and period of adulthood and parenting. Boyhood proves that they are two of the best actors of our time and definitely adept at being in the moment.

Filmed in Texas, where director Linklater lives, the movie reverberates with memories.  Anyone who has ever gone to school there, lived there or visited Houston or Austin enough, will feel instantly at home and a little homesick. You even get to peek inside The Continental Club and Antone’s, Austin’s still hottest spots. Linklater knows what’s important to a Texan.

I would love to go on & on about this masterpiece. But, you need to see it. You will leave the theater reluctantly, but visually and emotionally content. Orson Welles had his ‘Citizen Kane.’ This is the era of Richard Linklater.

I sort of dread the for certain, poor copycat ‘fictional dramas’ that will surely follow but more of this good fictional drama is something to look forward to.  I am hoping it will evolve into other wonderful dramas that satisfy as this one did. But for this movie season, it’s ‘Boyhood,’ the movie. It will remain a work of art throughout movie history.

It’s playing at The Mayan Theater on Broadway.

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