New gallery the work of local artists with big-city vision |

New gallery the work of local artists with big-city vision

Margaret Hair

Leah Stettner, from left, Pat Walsh and Susan Schiesser stand inside the new RED Con­temporary art gallery. Walsh and Schiesser are partners in the new gallery located inside the Steamboat Sheraton Resort at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

John F. Russell

— Abstract painter Monroe Hodder has a story in mind for each of her large-scale, color-blocked works of art.

She doesn't tell anyone the story and doesn't expect anyone to figure it out.

"They don't come through. What they are instead … are a way for someone else to read their story into it. It's important for me to have that personal connection because it becomes more than an abstract design," Hodder said about her work. The artist has been a part-time Steamboat resident for about five years.

Hodder — whose paintings find homes on gallery walls in New York, London, Denver, San Francisco, Santa Fe, N.M., and other major visual art markets — will show her work in Steamboat for the first time at RED Contemporary, she said.

The gallery, which opened Dec. 20 on the ground level of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, features work by local artists including Monroe and Fred Hod­­­der, painter Susan Schies­ser, varied media artist Pat Walsh and a rotating cast of guests.

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Walsh, who is a co-owner and contributing artist at the gallery along with Schiesser, said she and Schiesser have been business partners and friends for years. That partnership, which has become almost innate as Walsh and Schiesser work in side-by-side art studios, makes the gallery project fun and fast-paced, Walsh said.

"We thought, wouldn't it be amazing to pull together a contemporary art gallery in this space," Walsh said.

Monroe Hodder had a similar reaction the first time she saw the Sheraton location, which until spring 2009 was the primary home of Wild Horse Gallery.

"To me, it was a no-brainer. I said, 'This has got to be a gallery,'" she said.

As visitors with varied art tastes come into town, the gallery could be a place to offer contemporary work with a big-city feel, said Fred Hodder, a photographer and Monroe Hod­­­­der's husband.

"I hope that we're going to be able to bring a little contemporary edge to Steamboat," he said. Fred Hodder's work at RED Contemporary is a modern, slightly abstract take on traditional Western images.

Along with work by Walsh, Schiesser and the Hodders, RED Contemporary highlights art by various local and national artists. A metal sculpture by Steamboat artist Christopher Oar is on display now. Miami sculptor and Steamboat second-home owner Esteban Blanco brought a piece from his "violent toys" series with him on vacation earlier this week.

Schiesser described RED Con­­temporary as upscale, with a minimal design. She and Walsh are committed to run the gallery through early April with a possibility of staying open past ski season, she said.

RED Contemporary is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tues­days through Saturdays at the Sher­aton Steamboat Resort. Call 819-8994 for more information.

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