Steamboat’s Jim Gmeiner to display unique photos |

Steamboat’s Jim Gmeiner to display unique photos

Luke Graham
Local artist
John F. Russell

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— There is a sense when walking to the back corner of the Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts and taking in Jim Gmeiner’s display that the longtime local has a wondrous, wandering mind.

It seems as though the 5 inches between his forehead just never stops churning, coming up with ideas and seeing imaginative images.

“Ask people in my family and I think they’d say I’m pretty compulsive,” Gmeiner said.

But it works in his art world. The photos and images are served up as slivers of imagination, leaving each onlooker in his or her own world.

Gmeiner will present his show “Art Beyond Photography” on Friday as part of the First Friday Artwalk at the Center for Visual Arts.

Gmeiner will begin with a talk at 4:30 p.m.

“Sometimes something just happens by mistake,” he said. “I usually have five to six projects going at once. I’ll be working on this and I’ll get off on another track and come back to one and change it.”

Gmeiner’s show Friday will include a restored old slide of his father’s that he repaired, cleaned and gave a rustic look.

Sometimes he puts photos inside photos and over photos. Sometimes he does it all. Occasionally, he takes an existing photo and paints over it with an electronic brush on a computer. He’s taken photos and slightly bumped the camera on purpose just to see the texture. He has reflection pieces from Denver International Airport and Chicago O’Hare that bend the mind.

But take his favorite piece, titled Return From Oz. It’s from a photo from the 1970s of a barn house with ominous trees next to it.

But there was more to Gmeiner. His mind wouldn’t allow him to stop.

So he used his electronic brush to bring in multi-colored lines to the horizon, the curvatures creating a mythical road and a new image over the barn photo.

“I do it till it’s right for me,” he said.

Gmeiner, an orthopedic surgeon, started taking up art when he was in his residency. His father and grandfather were into photography, and a former medical school professor took him under his wing.

He has dabbled in it since. But now that he’s semi-retired, working only part time with non-operative orthopedics, the art is at the forefront.

“Now I don’t have to worry about anyone dying,” he said. “I don’t worry about making a mistake.”

He certainly doesn’t. Now it’s just him and his imagination. If he wants to combine photos, texture them, redo them, layer them or paint on them, he can.

And the exhibit is just a look into Gmeiner’s imagination.

“I know to make a living from this I would not do well,” he said. “My mind would do well but my pocketbook wouldn’t. I just enjoy an imagination.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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