Neil Fenton

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 Arts Alley District, comprised of The Modbo and S.P.Q.R., proudly presents two new shows opening at 5:30 pm on Friday, February 11th, 2011, and running through Friday, March 4th.  The Modbo will feature “The Lady and the Lion,” new works by Shannon Dunn, while S.P.Q.R. will be home to Neil Fenton’s newest body of work, “Us.  Expressions of Heartbreak Through Portraiture.”  There will be live music at 9 pm by Tom Skora of Broken Spoke.



 “The Lady and the Lion,” showing at The Modbo, is borne of a series first created by Shannon Dunn in 2008 for a special friend who was struggling with addiction in her life.  This in turn led to a series of personal paintings for the artist.  With this series, Dunn explores the different characteristics of both God and humans in a body of work that is at once deeply personal and entirely accessible for the viewer.

 A Chicago native, Shannon Dunn attended Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois where she studied Art Education. After graduating in 2003, the artist relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado to teach art at a local school.  During this time, Shannon began to develop herself as a painter as well as a teacher.

 From art educator and painter, to set designer and muralist, Shannon’s art career has displayed itself in a number of different roles.  Now a full time mother and artist, Shannon’s current body of work focuses largely on the human figure.  Her concepts draw inspiration from the natural world, her observations of social behavior and her spiritual beliefs. Her work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions at galleries, restaurants and coffee shops throughout the Pikes Peak Region.  She currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband and young daughter. 


 Neil Fenton’s latest body of work, “Us.  Expressions of Heartbreak Through Portraiture,” shows in S.P.Q.R. this month.  Having worked for more than a decade in a variety of media, Fenton recently found himself confronted with artist’s block and depression stemming from the end of a relationship.  He used this opportunity to begin a series of paintings of people who have experienced pains of the heart this year.   The result is a show that is both conceptually and artistically fascinating.

Raised by potters in the San Luis Valley, Neil Fenton has studied art since adolescence, briefly attending CU Boulder.  He worked for six years at a bronze foundry, and has also worked as a cartoonist.  Fenton has had work in numerous group shows along the Front Range, and this will be my third one man show in as many years.  He lives with his two cats in Manitou and likes juice.