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How much does the world change as you look at it? Put another way: how do you separate the art from the artist?

I mean from a technical, not moral, perspective. How do we, the audience, access and relate to the art in front of us, without meeting, speaking, and knowing the artist? How much observation is necessary, and what amount of observation changes the subject and our relation to it? What makes something resonate within our souls?

It’s a problem I think about often, mainly because I truly love to write about art. It feels fruitless at times, and I often want to throw up my hands and yell out my window “Go see it yourself!” I run out of metaphors and adjectives all while making an effort to convey the deep sea within me, and put it somewhere you can take from. I want to make something you like, but the feelings I experience seem so fleeting when I try to put them into words. I’m humanizing this struggle, of course.

We humanize everything: our cars, our pencils, our parents, our pets. Watching anything, even passively, will eventually result in a strong emotional connection. I’ve never met most of my neighbors in my apartment complex, but I’m used to seeing their vehicles parked in the same spot day after day. It’s my world, what I look at. How do we show this in art? This moment of solidity, when I feel as if the world makes sense, and the daily grind falls into a familiar and comforting pattern.

The world around us moves so quickly, and real art takes so long, it seems nigh- impossible. Yet, Gwen Laine – an artist who knows quite a deal of sacrificing years to completing art – captures those moments when we feel the momentous movement all around us.

Laine’s current exhibition in Michael Warren Contemporary, Of Light and Wind, seeks the circulation and evidence of wind across the land and water of Colorado. Laine attributes her frequent moves as a child to her transitory sensibilities’ ontogenesis. Her milieu has always been transient, always unstable, always changing. This change is happening even under (or perhaps because of) observation.

That’s the thing, the thing that happens without words; whatever you’re watching changes because you’re looking at it. The watched frog never boils, or something. Something profound, something you like. I lost it. I hope you saw it.

For this currently displayed study Laine takes a unique approach to her photographs, a process she details in her press release:

Referencing the day and time the photo was taken, she plotted weather conditions at her location in Colorado and laid them over her negatives as guides to select and order colors. Laine readily lost herself in the subsequent process of executing the sequence of parallel lines, building up tiny increments of 100 per inch over long periods of time – a marked difference from the 60th of a second caught on film.”

Gwen Laine: She Loved The Pauses, The Music Between The Notes; archival print: 20”x20”

The light transforms the subject beyond any sense of form or purpose. The moments slip away, like a child’s view in the backseat of a car, into blurred landscapes. The wind changes the image, twists it under Laine’s eyes into something nearly unrecognizable. The art turns and weaves its way home, into a gallery. Into an audience.

There’s an example Laine gives, a demonstration of her process in this study. We can see the image shift and shape beneath the winds, as it transforms into the inspection presented. A landscape is molded into something else, something we now see in front of us. An image of nature is sent flying by, with hours of twisting at the hands of Laine. The images couldn’t possibly be changed back. There’s a foundation, a small natural space that started all this. That magic instant happens, and the colors commutate and pass by. It happens so quickly, the moment so effervescent, that for a brief instant the art escapes even the artist. “It’s important to me that people know I shoot film and these pieces began as 35mm negatives; I had no way of knowing what was recorded on my film until it was developed, and I scanned it,” Laine tells me, “I was amazed by the colors that I found in my negatives. They were invisible to my eye, but not to my film in that 60th of a second exposure.”

Laine, the artist, is certainly present in each of these photographs, but it’s a presence that’s hidden, that’s just flying past your field of vision right now. Her drive, focus, and passion are clear, but the artists herself is gone, at home in one of the colorful lines. The artist changes the vision, turns it into art for us all to see.

That’s the thing, the thing that happens without words; whatever you’re watching changes because you’re looking at it. The watched frog never boils, or something. Something profound, something you like. I lost it. I hope you saw it.

Gwen Laine: They Were The Thoughts That Laid Too Deep For Tears; archival print; 20”x20”

The light and shadows found and then propelled, winded, into a moment that resonates in us, the viewer. We’re sensory beasts: we crave energy, the foe of inertia. We separate art from the artist not to rob them of credit, but to give ourselves something to briefly find ourselves in. Catching our breath for a moment, our memories rush to meet us. Our future seems to be there too; after all, motion is a symptom of a journey.

Laine’s work is incredible and needs to be seen. You should witness it. Travel to the spot that’s wandering, and isn’t. Examine what’s moving right before your eyes. It’s something you like, that’s been twisted. Everything is, deep down at its core. Everything is made of a color smushed into the one next to it.

Words want to be profound, but they’re stuck in a white pit. They’re not art. I can’t give you what Laine can give you. Every time I try to observe what art does to me, I lose it. It moves on, sometimes with no witness, off to somewhere beyond the words I already have learned.

That’s the thing, the thing that happens without words; whatever you’re watching changes because you’re looking at it. The watched frog never boils, or something. Something profound, something you like. I lost it. I hope you saw it.

Gwen Laine: Of Light and Wind runs from March 5th to April 13th in the Michael Warren Contemporary gallery, located at 760 Santa Fe Drive, Denver CO 80204. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 5pm, First Friday Art Walk April 5th from 6 to 9pm, and for a Third Friday Art Reception, March 15th from 6 to 8pm. All images were provided by the artist.