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On Friday, October 12th, the Magnetic Gallery in Fort Collins, in partnership with (SALT) Magazine, opened a new art exhibit. Thematically focused on the concept of Forbidden Fruit, the show features a variety of pieces in different media. Over the course of the evening, approximately 150 patrons filtered through the exhibit, while artists mingled with the crowd.

The art featured in the gallery was developed around the concepts of fruit and desire. Some pieces focus purely on humans and their desires, and others focus almost entirely on fruit and other growing things. Some works are downright lascivious, while others are quite chaste. Ultimately, the exhibit offers the viewer with a holistic vision through a diversity of works that allow the viewer to explore the relationship between nature and human desire.

The Magnetic Gallery is an intimate spot. White walls contrast with a squeak black wood floor. An antique bar sits in a corner. The lighting is even and clean for the space. Paintings pop off the wall. Everything about the exhibit fits into place. The curators did a very good job of positioning similar and contrasting pieces, so the eye is not distracted by other works or structural features in the space. The layout provides for the sort of relaxed concentration one is unaware of until much later. Still, it was easy to transition to the next piece I wanted to look at.

The hidden gem of the display is a room decorated by Faith Johnson and Indigo Greenleaf. One enters a quiet space by passing through a curtained doorway. With walls painted black, a depiction of a reclining woman occupies one wall. At her feet is a serpent, and she is surrounded by symbols of fertility, growth, and knowledge. The right edge of the wall fades into magical imagery of serpents and structures suggestive of trees. From the ceiling hangs fruit eaten by worms. Large, expressionless heads peer out from the bottom half of wall. A framed mixed media depiction of a dryad, whose root like foot and hand escape the frame. A complementary framed piece of tree trunks with eyes peering out of cracks in its bark hangs nearby.

Throughout the evening I was consistently struck by the technical competence as well as compositional skill exhibited by the watercolorists. All the pieces created in that medium feature precise, clean, and sharp brush strokes and bold colors. Notable watercolor compositions are Atropa Belladonna by Cambria Petitt, Feeding Demons by Tyler Eilbeck, and Forbidden Love by Jamie Quint. All three pieces do new work while drawing on classical themes and composition cues.

Mixed media also featured heavily in the display. Most pieces in this category were vivid and clean. The collage Fruit of the Gods by Brandon Shupe stood out. Arranged around cut-outs of a man and woman from what I suspect is an old anatomy textbook are growing plants, cut fruit, a brain, and diagrams of what appears to be cell walls. How Could We Have Known by Megan Parker leaped off the wall in vivid color and clean lines. It features a pyramid of pomegranates and requires some study.

An odd thing happened to the energy as the evening wore on: the party was over by about eleven that night, likely due to the twin occurrences of a Friday evening and the recent change in the weather. Visiting the gallery and its glittering images was the perfect way to transition into the early darkness of fall. Forbidden Fruit will run through the month. Stop by Magnetic Gallery and see what local artists are producing.