Colorado Springs

November’s First Friday Art Openings at The Modbo and SPQR: Tom Vail and Matt Chmielarczyk


The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. proudly present November’s First Friday Art Opening in the Arts Alley District on Friday, November 7th, from 5:30 pm til midnight.  The Modbo will host “Create Your Own Dystopia” by Tom Vail, while SPQR features “11442” by Matt Chmielarczyk.  This show runs through Friday, November 21st. The galleries are located at 17b and 17c East Bijou, 80903. 719.633.4240.

About the shows:

In the Modbo:

One man’s safe, middle class utopia is another’s frightening dystopia. Come share your vision with collage artist Tom Vail. “Create your own Dystopia” is an experiment in collective art: Tom will provide elements, backgrounds, glue, beer, pretzels and peanuts. You will provide the macabre vision. Works generated from this experiment will be exhibited later at Ivywild School in Colorado Springs. This orgy of collaborative collage will occur during the opening reception of Tom’s show, in which he will also display recent works of his collage art. A new avenue of exploration for Tom is his series called “elements.” These prints are collections of similarly themed images in a single-colored field. Suppose ET wrote a sociological treatise on our civilization– Tom’s “elements” would represent the book’s illustrations. Viewed altogether, they look like color plates of specimens from an old science text.


11442 is the postal code for Coney Island, New York.  The images in this show were all made on the 4th of July, 2012, just months before Hurricane Sandy made landfall and rendered it’s  devastating changes.

“Pictures, regardless of how they are created and recreated, are intended to be looked at. This brings to the forefront not the technology of imaging, which of course is important, but rather what we might call the eyenology (seeing).”  -Henri Cartier-Bresson

Says Chmielarczyk, “Long before I knew the content of the work I would show in this exhibition I knew of the path I wanted that work to follow.  I wanted to pay tribute to an analog tradition, but embrace the inherent dexterity of the newest and best technology.  A lot of time and energy is spent debating the merits and the minefields of the newest method of capture, or the oldest.  We find ourselves clinging to these methods as if they were right or wrong.   We contemplate things like purity and patriarchy alongside progress and pragmatism and are forced to feel the inevitable need to take sides.  Our choices of method give us a freedom that can point us toward great creative paths.  Our ability to limit the scope of our choices scratches deep into scenarios we might not have otherwise considered. 11442 is the latest in a series that squares itself up to the forest of choices inherent in art- a contemplation on the limitations of time, tools, and geography.”

About the artists:

Tom Vail was born in Hollywood, California in 1946, and attended Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles until 1969. He moved to the Bay Area in 1969, where he was represented by Reese Palley Gallery in San Francisco and participated in group shows at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Richmond Art Center, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and Cincinnati Art Museum. In 1976, Vail had a one man show at Washington State University, Gallery II. In 1975 Tom and his wife moved to Huerfano, Colorado where Tom mostly designed and built houses in their rural community. They raised three daughters there and he retired from the construction field to work on his art, full-time, in 2009. Says Vail, “For over 40 years I have been making photo collages. In the last decade I have been making limited edition giclee prints of these collages.  I was educated in advertising photography. In response to my aversion to commercial bourgeois values, I use the “ad page format” to sabotage the message. I try to use humor to give some relief. The use of “cartoon color” also adds to the use of humor.  My influences for these photo collages are Dadaists, George Grosz, and Raol Hausmann, and Pop artist, Richard Hamilton. Also my pal Patrick Siler. Eight of these photo collages are new this year and twelve are from previous years.”

Matt Chmielarczyk is an artist/photographer living in Colorado Springs, CO. His eclectic body of work runs the gamut of available formats and styles.  Matt’s fascination lies in the sheer multitude of choices he has when approaching his subjects.  He can be known to explore the split instants of street imagery and the singularity of a one-of-a-kind Polaroid image, the cinematic style of the 8×20 inch banquet camera, to the immediacy and undeniable handiness of his iPhone camera. In his most recent work he is addressing the idea that images are images, regardless of the tool with which they are captured, or how they are viewed. This approach has developed into a melding of the technologies involved in analog photography and those of the digital world.  Although Matt’s work is primarily derived photographically, his process occasionally expands to include works in music, sculpture, and video.

Matt studied Illustration (briefly) at The Center for Creative Studies- College of Art and Design in Detroit, Michigan.  He relocated to Alaska in 1989 where he studied the photography and darkroom techniques of his unknowing mentors- Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston, Garry Winogrand, Paul Strand, Richard Misrach, etc.  In 2000,  Matt relocated to Manitou Springs, CO where he owned and operated The Manitou Center for Photography- a gallery committed to the work of the region’s finest art photographers- until it’s close in 2006. He continues to live and work in Colorado Springs, CO with his wife- Sarah, and their two daughters- Miette and Evalina.

Selected Exhibitions:

2013  “6cm”- Gallery of Contemporary Art, Colorado Springs, CO

2012  “High Tech/Low Art”- An Exhibition of Toy Camera Artists- Business of Art Center, Manitou

Springs, CO

2012  “The 5th Annual Juried Plastic Camera Show”- Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco, CA

2011  “Masks, Costumes, and Halloween” -Lenscratch Gallery

2008  “Men on Maps” -Haven Arts Gallery- Bronx, NY

2007  “Sketch Detail” -The Ryan Chelsea-Clinton Gallery- New York, NY

2006  ”Art of the Word” -Haven Arts Gallery- Bronx, NY

2006  “Reimagining Guernica”- Smokebrush Gallery- Colorado Springs, CO

2006  “Nourishment”  -Haven Arts Gallery- Bronx, NY

2003  “Eclectica”- Manitou Center for Photography- Manitou Springs, CO

2003  “Passion Film Festival”- The Loft- Colorado Springs, CO

2003  “Zoom: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography” Colorado State University- Pueblo, CO

Curator: Rodney Wood

2002  “Deus Salve Regina I”- Manitou Center for Photography, Manitou Springs, CO

2001  “47hr. 39min. : New Photographs from East of Manitou”- Manitou Center for Photography-

Manitou Springs, CO

2001  “Miscellaneous” Manitou Center for Photography-  Manitou Center for Photography,

Manitou Springs, CO

1997  “Rarefied Light-1997”- Honorable Mention- Anchorage Museum of History and Art-

Anchorage, AK  Juror: Susan Kae Grant

1996  “All Alaska Juried Art Exhibition”- Anchorage Museum of History and Art- Anchorage, AK

1996  “Words and Images”- Kaladi Bros. Gallery Space- Anchorage, AK

Breaking Out The Big Guns

The Modbo and SPQR present October’s Arts Alley Openings.  The Modbo will contain Stardust, a new body of work by Modbo Collective artist Lindsay Hand, while SPQR hosts collective member Phil Lear and Christian Medovich.  The opening reception is Friday, October 4th, between 5:30 pm and midnight.  The show runs through Friday, October 25th.  The Modbo and SPQR are located at 17b and 17c East Bijou, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. 719.633.4240.


Stardust, Lindsay Hand’s most recent body of work, is a collection of twelve figurative oil paintings dripping, raw and loose in their rendition. The ethereal reference of stardust is brought into play with sparkling, stark white stars surrounded by earth tones and accented with pops of color. Works, deconstructed through technique and color, reveal layers in process and concept, all together resulting in an exhibit sweet and honest in its portrayal of life’s moments.

Lindsay Hand, born and raised in Colorado Springs, has consistently exhibited her work at various galleries throughout the state, beginning with Wunderkind 2001 at the BAC and most recently at The Modbo for the past 4 years consecutively. Her most recent body of work, “Stardust”, will open October 4th at The Modbo. Hand was nominated for a Pikes Peak Arts Council Excellence in Arts Award for Best Visual Artist 2012 and is featured in Studio Visit Magazine in 2013, Volume 21.  She is scheduled in April of 2014 to show her work at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum as part of an exhibit marking the 100 year anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre. You can see her work at


Phil Lear’s painting strives to present a certain poetic insight into the world around. His style and brushwork harmonize with the character of his subject, to reveal the inborn charm of painting.

Born in Ontario, Canada in 1975, Phil grew up with a very close love of art. Always drawing and sketching, he expressed his creativity early by writing and illustrating stories and cartoons. His family moved to the United States in 1990, where Phil developed his skills in all the high school art classes, and worked with a select group of young artists known as Smiling Shep Designs, producing banners and artwork for the surrounding community.

In 1993 Phil enrolled in Pensacola Christian College’s Commercial Art program, where he studied for four years under established illustrators and designers. It was during this time the he began to realize a passion for painting, and for expressing the beauty he saw all around. Personal study and a deep love for the art of the Renaissance and late-Victorian eras increased both his knowledge of painterly innovation, and his fast-beating desire to become an artist himself.

After illustrating for missionaries in Switzerland in 1999, Phil returned to the United States and began taking steps toward entering the professional world of painters. He became a charter member of the Portrait Society of America, and has displayed work in several public exhibitions and competitions. Phil now furthers his study and artistic journey in the company of other fine artists at the Cottonwood Artists’ School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

His paintings deal with the beauty in common scenes of nature and everyday folk. He finds inspiration in the touching effects of light and shadow, and the narrative splendor of the simple things in life. Like the Academy painters of the 1800’s, Phil prefers to work with a warm, limited palette, using subdued colors to bring a calm and natural mood to the canvas.

Christian Medovich has spent over two decades in the visual arts. He has taught technical theater at Colorado College as well as papermaking and Art History at the Club of the Arts. Christian can also be found at  the Fine Arts Center building scenery, teaching at the ModboCo and designing lights for various dance performances in Colorado Springs. In 2010, Christian reinvested his time back into drawing and painting through the Modbo classes, training with Brett Andrus. It has been through careful instruction and curiosity that Christian finds himself participating in the tradition of peddling his created images. He thanks those who have had a hand  (you know who you are).  His newest body of work was inspired by the Tom Waites song, “Murder in the Redbarn,” as well as the artist’s interpretations of various societal taboos.

Scoot! July’s Art Opening at The Modbo and S.P.Q.R.- a scooter-themed art show.


-work by Lindsay Hand

The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. galleries present Scoot, a new show featuring scooter-themed art in honor of the National Lambretta Rally (to be hosted by The Modbo this year).  The art opening for this show will be on Friday, July 5th, from 5:30 until midnight.  The show runs through Friday, July 26th.  The Modbo may be reached at,, or 633-4240.  The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. galleries are located at 17b and 17c East Bijou.  Featured artists include: Douglas Rouse, Lorelei Beckstrom, Phil Lear, Lindsay Hand, Trevor Thomas, Nick Campbell, Christian Medovich, Jean Cuchiaro, Gary Weston, Dan Romano, Danny Gillies, Cymon Padilla, Candice Torres, Susan Fletcher, Jen Meyer, Wesley Wayne, and Nicolas Mandelkow.

Big happening in the Alley! Lindsay Hand and Phil Lear


The Modbo and S.P.Q.R., The Arts Alley District, proudly present a new opening on Friday, October 5th. Lindsay Hand will show her new body of work, “Speaking with the Dead” in The Modbo, while Phil Lear will have new work at S.P.Q.R. The opening reception is on Friday, October 5th, from 5:30 pm until midnight. The show will remain up until Friday, October 26th. The Modbo is located at 17B and 17C East Bijou, and may be reached at 633-4240,, or
About the artists and

their work:

Lindsay Hand was born, and currently lives, in Colorado. She is primarily self-taught and has consistently exhibited her work since 2005 at various galleries throughout the state. Hand began painting with oils four years ago; the richness and depth of the medium has allowed her to create works that express a vision, a world of captured moments infused with nostalgia. A keen interest in working with paper has fueled her exploration of various print and book making techniques. As a strong believer in the powerful energy of creation, she had been a teacher, facilitator and volunteer with the nonprofit organization FutureSelf, which advocated transformation through the Arts to the youth of Colorado Springs. She was recently nominated for a Pikes Peak Arts Council Award for Excellence in the Arts: Artist of the Year.

Says Hand, “As I began work for this show, I noted the empathy I experienced while studying my source material. Exploring the phenomena of shared memories, I painted each piece from photo’s left behind in a strangers wake. My mental cobwebs began to clear as I walked through my own past while meditating on someone else’s. Hence, ‘Speaking with the Dead.’“


As a narrative figurative painter, Phil Lear’s mission is to create work that embodies a classical ideal, and speaks to the universal and timeless aspects of the human experience.
Murky grays, browns, and strokes of sky blue pile on the canvas to form a barrage of color that both intrigues and gratifies the eye in a fresh painterly realism. As a painter,
he is a story-teller. The often odd settings and remarkable characters of his work is are once inspiring and disquieting. “I’m not much of a landscape painter,” he says. “I paint
portraits.” Charming yet sinister, playful and mischievous, they are portraits not just of people, but of humanity.

Lear’s newest body of work intends to challenge viewers to examine themselves through the scenes and subjects in the paintings. Part urban myth, a sprinkling of Shakespeare, a bit of murder mystery, these pieces illuminate the darker side of the causes and effects of people behaving on impulse.

New Exhibitions in The Hot Bed Of Nothingness

The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. proudly present their newest opening on Friday, September 7th, 2012, from 5:30 pm until midnight. Modbo will host the incredible talent of local artist Sean O’Meallie in his newest show, “Things That Burn.” Meanwhile, a juried exhibition of art from community members called “The Figure, Form, and Decay” will be displayed in S.P.Q.R. The show will run through Friday, September 28th. The Modbo is located at 17C East Bijou, and may be reached at 633-4240,, or www.t
.O’Meallie has been a leading artist in the region for years. He’s had two solo exhibits at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center which owns four of his sculptures, and his work is also in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art & Design in NYC, The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, and the Decorative Arts Museum in Little Rock, AR. His work has been toured in the US and Europe, and is included in the college text, Launching the Imagination, by McGraw/Hill Higher Education. O’Meallie has a 20’ painted bronze sculpture of an abstract cowboy with its guns drawn in downtown Denver called Cowboy Pajamas.

O’Meallie has a background in higher education (he taught art at UCCS for 9 years) and toy invention (10 years in the international market). Though known as a highly skilled object maker, his work is cited for its wry observational wit and originality.

Not to be typecast, last year O’Meallie created the largest public artwork ever in the Pikes Peak Region. Working under the aegis of Manitou’s Business of Art Center, O’Meallie lead the community of Manitou Springs, using their own property, residents and cityscape, to create “The Chair Project”, a line of empty chairs over a half-mile long through the center of Manitou’s historic district, photos of which are now used to promote the city in its marketing.

From O’Meallie:

Things That Burn is an acknowledgment that these hand-shaped wood sculptures can combust – combustion being on the mind of late – but it’s also a double entendre.

I’ve worked in wood for years though, primarily because of its physical qualities. It’s also biodegradable, renewable, and practical – you can burn it for protection, to see at night, cook with and keep warm. I happily accept wood’s cultural baggage, but I think I’d also be happy sculpting cheese for lots of the same reasons.

There are a number of ideas at play in my work which reveal a range of considerations in my explorations of perception, and discovery. There may be some social commentary – usually about identity politics and human silliness – but there is often a lot of delight and honesty in the result. The art has an idea that guides it, sometimes wholly restrained by it, sometimes not, but it reflects my relationship with time and circumstance. People say the work makes them smile and think, and delights them, too.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a “fair value” art market in Colorado Springs for what I do, but I still support and participate in the frothy mix of art and culture here. Variation is good. Contributing is also important. The art I do display in the area is usually at the request of wonderful, hopeful, hardworking people and organizations. There are many worthwhile returns in doing so. I love what Lauren and Brett are building here and I’m honored to show in their space.

“What thrills and disturbs me about Sean O’Meallie’s sculptures is their ineluctable play between surface and meaning; invitation and repulsion; direct statement and pun; light pop fancy and ponderous foreboding. With surfaces as smooth as porcelain or plastic, one can’t even be certain these sculptures are made of wood. The Jolly Green Giant’s baby’s arm raises a fuck you finger atop an architecturally rendered box in the style and palette of Michael Graves. “Because,” it seems to say before you’ve even had time to ask Why?” – Noel Black


The Modbo announces a call for artists for its newest juried show, “The Figure, Form, and Decay.” Pieces may speak to any aspect, or combined aspects, of the show’s title. Submissions in all media are welcome. Drop-off and will occur between noon and 4 pm on Sunday, September 2nd at The Modbo, 17c East Bijou. Pieces must be wired and ready to hang, complete with screw eyes or d-rings. There will be an $8 fee per piece submitted to jurying. Questions? Email or leave a message at 633-4240.

Be Creative, and take advantage of this opportunity.

New Exhibition by Brett Andrus

The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. proudly present “An Invitation: A New Exhibition by Brett Andrus.”  The opening reception for this show will be on Friday, August 3rd, from 5:30 pm until midnight.  There will be spontaneous performances by Sansara Modern Dance Company and Moonhoney Gypsy Tango Cabaret.  In addition to works by Brett Andrus, two Modbo Collective artists, Lorelei Beckstrom and Nina Peterson, have been invited to show work.  The show runs through Friday, August 31st.  The Modbo can be reached at 633-4240, or


For “An Invitation,” Andrus has created an entirely new body of work to fill both galleries, the Modbo and S.P.Q.R., and in an entirely new medium– house paint.  (Specifically, Behr Premium Paint and Primer in One.)  Typically an oil painter, Andrus sought to challenge himself with this new medium while remaining true to his narrative figurative style and also maintaining his focus on the female form.  The result is an oeuvre that conceptually challenges the viewer as voyeur and plays with the idea of time and story through each piece.

Colorado Springs native Brett Andrus studied painting and art history at The Savannah College of Art and Design before returning home to Colorado in 2001. He has showed in Savannah, New York City, New Orleans, Atlanta, Denver, and Colorado Springs.  Andrus received a Gold from The Gazette last year for “Vögel(n),” his most recent solo show.  He was the also the mastermind and artistic director behind the recent “Rubrittica vs. Ceralusia” show at the galleries, a body of work that has also been displayed in Trinidad and will travel to other Front Range locations in 2013.  Andrus is the co-owner of The Modbo and S.P.Q.R., and the sole curator for both spaces, as well as several satellite spaces in town: the Rabbit Hole, the Blue Star, Locals, and the Colorado Springs Airport among them.  He also teaches art classes out of the gallery.

New Exhibition in the Arts Alley

The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. proudly present an art opening on Friday, July 6th, featuring works by Trevor W. Thomas and Jess Preble in The Modbo and by Troy DeRose and Jeremy Grant in S.P.Q.R.  The opening reception for this show is at 5:30 pm on Friday, July 6th, and goes until midnight.  There will be live music by The Good Morning Accordion Terrorist at 9 pm on opening night.  The galleries are located at 17b and 17c East Bijou, and can be reached at, 633-4240, or online at

Trevor W. Thomas is an artist based out of Colorado Springs. Trevor has a strong background in figurative work, having studied in Italy, Spain and Sweden during his college studies. Through his schooling and
travels, Trevor has studied under artists including Eric Bransby, Charles Cecil, Chris Alvarez, Bogdan Swider, and Sparky LeBold. After graduating from Colorado College in 2010, Trevor worked alongside Eric
Bransby for 18 months on a mural for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. With a passion for historical narrative and figurative painting, Trevor currently is working with local institutions and business ventures to create more significant murals in Colorado Springs.  He is also a member of the Modbo Collective.

Jess Preble, 23, is a native Colorado artist who has spent time studying fine art and painting independently in multiple cities in Colorado as well as in San Francisco.  Jess has become integrated in the local artistic community recently in hopes of strengthening the presence of all forms of tactile, visual and sensory emotive expression.  She is the newest member of The Modbo Collective.  Jess works as a figure model for various art studios and galleries, as playing muse for another seems just as pertinent as finding them for herself.

Troy DeRose is one of the original members of the Modbo Collective. He is an artist/graphic designer living in Colorado Springs where he and his wife Sara own Fixer Creative Co., a boutique studio that provides design and writing creative services for businesses and organizations. Fixer Creative was recently selected
as the designers for the new Colorado Springs logo, which was unveiled this spring.  Says DeRose, “There are times when artists have guiding principles, explorations or grandiose themes, and then there are times when we just need to relax, have fun and create work. This body of work is just that. This is me working in a medium that I love, with images that I find compelling, crafting a response that I think is beautiful.”

Jeremy Grant works in the medium of found object assemblage, and is following the theme of redemption. Redemption is that act of finding or revealing the full worth of something; and worth is often found in unexpected places. The teachings of Jesus show that God finds value in every person no matter how cast-off, messed up or just plain ordinary. Exploring that same idea, Jeremy Grant finds beauty and creates worth in cast-off objects, reclaimed wood and old photographs. Using these found-objects, and the associations that come with them, he creates stories and elevates the ordinary.

P.S. Jeremy Grant and Troy DeRose are among the designers at Wild Fire Tees,  The profits from these shirts get donated to Care and Share, Colorado Red Cross, Colorado Fire Relief Fund 2012, and Immediate Local Wildfire Relief.  Congrats, Jeremy and Troy, on this wildly successful, charitable effort!

The Modbo Turns 3!!!

Please join us at 9 pm, Friday, June 15th, $7 suggested donation, for a very special Modbo Birthday Party.

The Modbo is 3! And once more, we’re celebrating in true Modbo fashion with a collaboration between two local bands and the students of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. This year’s local musicians are Edith Makes a Paper Chain and Andy Tanner.

Don’t miss this amazing event, featuring sets from the bands, classical performances, and two collaborative pieces! Local composer, musician,and arranger Mark Arnest will be arranging an Andy Tanner original for a select group of Colorado College Summer Music Festival participants, while Edith Makes a Paper Chain’s trombonist Jeremy Van Hoy will be doing the same for a collaboration between his band and the classical musicians.

Please don’t miss this amazing night of musical chaos, as we move quickly from band to band, ensemble to ensemble, and genre to genre (not to mention, building to building and alley to alley)!

Acacia Summer Concert Series, and Kick Off Party!

The Modbo and the Colorado Springs Downtown Business Improvement District announce the Kickoff Extravaganza for the Acacia Park Summer Concert Series!  This Saturday, June 2nd.  Join us for The Mitguards and The Water Bear Project with Kellie Palmblad from 6-8 pm in Acacia Park.  Then stroll over to the alley behind ReMax, just west of Tejon street and north of Bijou, for more live music… followed by a different band just south in the alley behind The Modbo, followed by yet another band behind ReMax, and yet another behind Modbo!  Bands playing include: Briffaut, The Conjugal Visits, HEADHUM, and Government Camp.  This event is all free, all fun, and a great way to celebrate the beginning of the summer!  Don’t miss it!  More info available at  For a full schedule of the Acacia concerts, visit .  The Acacia Park Summer Concert Series is generously underwritten by Freedom Financial Services, The Gazette, the City of Colorado Springs, and the Downtown Business Improvement District.  Sound for the series will be provided by Russell Tellup of Hard Act Entertainment,