Local artist explores musical themes in new exhibit
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — You may recognize Gregory Block’s work from the mural that he painted downtown on Eighth Street a few months ago. That project was a collaboration with Steamboat Creates, and his submission, titled “Elevate,” incorporated musical instruments, performance and visual arts into the mural’s design.
Now Gallery 89, which represents Block, will display a solo exhibit called “Music of Color” opening Friday. The paintings feature all different types of musical instruments — everything from the classic wooden recorder played by elementary school children to violins, piano keys, flutes and both acoustic and electric guitars — with the goal of reimagining the historic relationship between sight and sound.
“With the mural project, I kind of revisited my love of instruments as objects,” Block explained. “As a visual artist, I really love the shape and texture of musical instruments. They’re so endlessly fascinating in terms of their sculptural and visual qualities.”
It was Gallery 89 owner Rufina Tegeder who suggested an entire show of musical instrument paintings.
“He’s had so much fun doing this,” Tegeder said. “I truly believe that this new body of work will offer to our art lovers and collectors something Steamboat has never seen before.”
Block started on the paintings in late October at his Denver studio and is currently putting the finishing touches on the paintings.
“Each painting is a unique story line and each painting uses a particular instrument as a lead character in the story line,” he explained. “Each instrument develops a certain personality and then I surround it with a set a of characters that pertains to it.”
He goes on to explain how each piece is designed to allow the viewer to almost hear the instrument as well as see it.
“I was really playing with language in large part, too,” he said. “Certain terms, like atmospheric, edgy, bright, are used for describing both visual and musical arts. In working on those themes, each piece has a musical quality to it beyond just the instrument that’s in it.”
Ten percent of the profits from the show’s sales will go to the Routt County Humane Society.
Block, who grew up in the Yampa Valley, has been painting for as long as he can remember.
“My earliest paintings that I have are from when I was 3 years old,” he said. “Those are bright, flowy watercolors. I’ve really just always loved it.”
After graduating from Soroco High School in Oak Creek, he ventured to Colorado College to study biology but found painting was the one thing that he always returned to. Upon graduating, he decided to spend one year painting to see what it would be like to delve deeper into his passion.
When he found that he loved it even more after that first year, he decided to continue to pursue it. He is currently represented by both Gallery 89 in Steamboat Springs and Gallery 1261 in Denver and has had countless solo and group exhibitions in the decade he has been painting.
Tegeder believes that one day Steamboat will have its own museum dedicated to Block’s artwork.
“Greg can do it all,” she said. “In my opinion, that’s the mark of a genius.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.