For the past 18 months, a half dozen area artists have been creating dozens of portraits that explore the visual dimensions of age and the life experiences that lie beneath. Beginning on April 23, their results will be on display in the exhibition Beauty of Age at Foothills Art Center in Golden.
The exhibition, sponsored by AARP Colorado, began with the vision of graphic and portrait artist Renee Peterson.
“I have always enjoyed painting people’s faces and find older faces to be especially beautiful as they show character and reveal the life one has lived,” Peterson said. “I suggested to Eriq (Hochuli), the curator at Foothills Art Center, that we have an exhibit that acknowledges and celebrates the beauty of older adults only.
“Eriq liked the idea and suggested I get a group of fellow portrait artists together,” Peterson said.
She, Hochuli and four other artists had only a little over a year to create the body of work. They met for several months on Zoom, where Peterson said they had the fun sharing their work and planning for the upcoming show, which is beautifully designed and thought provoking.
“This is a very talented group of artists working in different media and with different techniques and styles,” Hochuli said. “They are trying to relay the stories of their subjects, the culmination of their lifetimes.”
Peterson said the difficult part of the last year has been for her to find subjects to paint for the show.
“I have come across many people who have a rich, older beauty, a sort of patina acquired through living, that I would like to put on canvas," she said. "The challenge has been in getting these same seniors to be okay with displaying publicly what I see as beautiful, but which some of them view as simply their loss of youth.
“Many of us, and I include myself here, don’t want to acknowledge our loss of youth as we see it as an absence of beauty,” she said.
But Peterson said she believes “it is time we re-evaluate the idea of beauty. We want to appreciate the beauty of age for its own merits and stop comparing it to the appearance of youth.”
This question of beauty and age appealed to Hochuli, who said Foothills Art Center sees a use for art to raise conversations around issues and themes.
Located at the corner of 15th and Washington Streets in Golden, Foothills Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Wednesdays. There is a parking lot immediately behind the center, accessible from 15th Street. Limited two-hour parking spots are also available on Washington Street and there is a municipal parking lot on Washington Street two blocks to the north of the art center.
AARP is sponsoring admission to the Beauty of Age Exhibition for those 50 years old and above, and AARP members are requested to mention their membership at the time of admission. If registering online at Foothillsartcenter.org select ANDRUS for AARP admission.
Beauty of Age is on display April 23 through July 10. More information is available on the center’s website at www.FoothillsArtCenter.org or call the center at 303-279-3922.