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Museum of Friends host open house

by Bill Knowles

WALSENBURG–  DJ Ezra Eismont, Brendt Berger’s stepson, supplied the ambiance, a CD of the cool sounds of Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke blowing his horn.  The music filling the large open space of the downstairs area of the Museum of Friends (MOF) during last Thursday’s open house was as smooth as the art on display.

    The event launched the new downstairs space with a showing of the works of Berger and the sculptures of Linda Fleming.  Both artists are showing work from the past.  For Berger it is the 1980s and for Fleming, the 1990s.  The works are made from found materials and reflect the events that shaped the interior spaces of the artists’ lives 20 to 30 years ago.

    Upstairs, artist Peggy Zehring’s work was also on show to friends of MOF’s owners and curators, Brendt and Maria Berger.  Zehring’s work was done in the 1980s and is also made from found material.  “I’ve never had a showing in a museum before,” Zehring said.  “And Brendt wanted to show my soul so he had me bring in material I use in my work.”

    In a corner of the space occupied by Zehring’s is a pile of “found material,” material that was found in landfills and junkyards around Colorado.  Zehring takes the material and mounts it to canvas and fixes it with acrylics and pigments.  Somewhere along the line, the found material turns into art at the hands of a master.

    The works Zehring creates are geometric designs based on the “golden mean proportion.”  The use of wabi-sabi material, material that has been aged and softened by the earth, provides her work with bas-relief textures that are pleasing to the eye, presenting forms that have been present in art for thousands of years.

    The open house and private birthday party for Brendt Berger drew a crowd of artists, friends, business acquaintances and family to help celebrate, including Berger’s son Jaz Berger.