Artists Sally King of Lyons, Nicholas Emery of Nederland, and Nathan Koral of Denver will gather Saturday, February 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Gallery Now, 401 Main Street in Lyons, for one night to share work inspired by a river trip they took together through the Grand Canyon in October of 2018.
The exhibit is called Revealed: The Grand Canyon and showcases paintings by King and Emery, as well as photographs that Koral took throughout the 21-day adventure. While their artwork is the focal point of the exhibit, the three also invite attendees to experience the journey in symbolic ways as well through an Imbolic celebration and a drum circle. All of it is to honor what the Grand Canyon has come to mean to each of them.
The river trip was something that King and her husband, John, had been looking forward to for a long time. They are seasoned rafters and had been waiting for 15 years to be chosen through a weighted lottery by Grand Canyon National Park for a noncommercial river trip. Noncommercial trips, more commonly known as private trips, differ from commercial river trips in that there are no professional guides, and those taking the trip bring all of their own food and supplies.
The Kings finally received the go-ahead for an October 2018 trip. They were joined by their daughter, son in law, and two grandsons, as well as Emery and his wife, and Koral and his father. The group spent 21 days rafting the Colorado River during the day and camping along its banks surrounded by the vast walls of the Grand Canyon at night.
“We lived out there and were kind of steeped in the world of the Grand Canyon. It was a magical trip,” said Sally King.
It was her idea to bring the group together again for an art show that would visually explore their collective experiences. She approached Jeremy Ragland, owner of Gallery Now, and he welcomed the idea.
“I’m happy again to support friends and local artists, and I am excited to see what I think will be a really cool show,” he said.
King’s paintings, with their signature bright colors, emerged from a journal of watercolors she kept while on the trip. She said that being immersed in the Grand Canyon in such a way gave her a kind of reverence for the place that she wanted to share with others.
“After living down there, we all had a different way of looking at it. The purpose [of the show] is to connect people with that reverence,” she said.
Emery, who is a longtime friend of King’s, is a resident creative at the Globeville Riverfront Arts Center in Denver. His paintings are acrylic works that approach their subject matter from some darker corners, but Emery said that all of the pieces, including Koral’s photographs that explore the canyon in an up-close and personal way, fit together to bring a broad perspective of the journey to the surface.
“It [the Grand Canyon] is a spiritual place,” he said. “I think when you look at Sally’s work, perhaps my work and Nathan’s work, that what people will read from them will be the spiritual, vital, primal place that it is.”
This will be the first time the artists have brought their works together. Emery said he is excited for the opportunity.
“Sally and I have never collaborated on a show together,” said Emery. “Nate is a photographer and has never showed his work. I thought it would be fun to have a show together that was kind of emblematic of the Grand Canyon. There was a kind of structure to the trip. We spent the days on the river. We stopped to camp in the evenings. We ate together. We took drink together. We broke bread together.”