History, change highlighted in latest Pine Moon exhibit
Local artist Susan Corser’s latest exhibit, now on display at Pine Moon Fine Art, focuses on themes of history and change throughout the Strawberry Park neighborhood that she has lived in for the past 15 years.
It was during the pandemic that Corser spent hours walking up and down the Routt County Road 38A where she lives.
In thinking about an art show, she started to feel that her current view was exactly what she should focus on.
As a former landscape designer and urban planner, change has always fascinated Corser.
What: “Strawberry Park: Scenes of History and Change” by Susan Corser
When: 5-8 p.m. Friday through Jan. 3, 2022
Where: Pine Moon Fine Art, 117 Ninth St.
“It can be distressing to some people and cause a lot of angst, but there’s a lot of good in it, too,” she pointed out.
In this exhibit, her collection of oil paintings depicts scenes from Strawberry Park including meadows and barns, a view up the road leading to Buffalo Pass, landscapes from her own yard and property, Elkstone Farm and a scene from Routt County Road 36 — the spot that always makes her feel like she’s almost home.
It’s a neighborhood rich with history, from iconic barns, rolling fields and community gathering spots like Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. Once covered with strawberry fields in the early 1900s, the valley gradually transitioned to the current hayfields that are now present. Even the fencing, Corser pointed out, has changed throughout the years going from four-wire to wood to steel pipes.
Fascinated by the history and wanting to highlight it in the exhibit, Corser researched and listened to stories about each building, barn and property. The exhibit will feature a card under the paintings, explaining the history or sharing a story of the area depicted in the painting.
One of her paintings shows a red house owned by the Kakela family.
“They told me the story of how they bought the barn and converted it to be lived in,” Corser recounted. “They created a ski package when the ski area first opened and for $9.50 a day, they gave skiers meals, a lift ticket, a ride to the ski area and a place to unroll their sleeping bags at night. Twenty-seven couples who met there got married.”
Even in Corser’s paintings themselves, change is evident — she pointed out that in one landscape, what the painting shows is not a reality anymore as a new house has been built.
Her broad brush stokes create slightly abstract lines and her use of color changes as the seasons change in each painting, featuring muted colors in the late fall and winter and brighter hues in the summer.
Through the exhibit, she hopes that people will think about change in a different light.
“I like the idea of how change is good and bad,” she said. “There’s a flipside to it; it can be hard but it also brings new people into the folds of a community.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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