Carbondale artists Leah Aegerter and Mila Rossi have joined creative forces with the help and curation of Lauren Mayer. They are now the focal artists of an exhibit at Colorado Mountain College’s (CMC) Aspen Campus, which opened on June 14 and will run through Aug. 25.
Aegerter and Rossi each moved to the Valley six years ago and first met at Anderson Ranch. Shortly after, both began leasing space at Carbondale’s Studio for Arts and Work (SAW).
“A year ago, I left my job at Anderson Ranch to pursue my practice full-time. It truly has been a much deeper dive into my work in the last year,” Aegerter stated.
Her unique art medium centers around digitizing textures that she finds in nature, specifically geologic textures. The process uses 3D scanning, known as photogrammetry; the files are then translated into new materials and composed into textured sculptures.
“I’m really excited about this exhibition and to be exhibiting alongside Mila, because I think our work speaks well regarding looking at micro textures from the environment. It’s some of the first large-scale work I’ve made in a while,” Aegerter continued.
Rossi, who came to the Valley from Atlanta, Georgia, worked in communications for the nonprofit world and even worked as an art teacher before circling back to pursue her art full-time two years ago. Her medium is photography, which is then transferred to a different medium, similar to Aegerter’s process. Images are laid upon canvas and then layered with paint and other mixed materials to capture natural textures.
“For me, especially during COVID, I would use art to escape,” Rossi stated. “I wanted to escape and be transported somewhere else. That was my way to decompress, process, and get those emotions out while feeling stuck.”
Both artists commended one another for the speeches each gave during the opening reception for the exhibit. Both were also appreciative of how the community showed up for them and offered support.
“I feel like our community shows up for each other in a special way,” said Aegerter. “We both gave an artist’s talk during the opening, and it was just wonderful to hear from [Rossi] about the process and the ideas behind her work, and it was nice to be able to share that myself.”
Rossi piggybacked on that sentiment, saying that the opening event was wonderful due to the strong sense of community. “I loved seeing other artists and seeing friends. I think CMC does a nice job of being a community place in the Valley and in Aspen, which I think is unique.” She continued, “I loved hearing Leah’s talk because we do share so many similarities.”
They both agree that the multifaceted, complex worldviews art provides for students and community members is one of its greatest gifts.
“Art is how we share the way we as artists see the world and how we interpret it,” said Rossi. “I think art works so well in a community because we have energy and influences with each other; it’s this lively energy which makes things exciting and generates new ideas.”
Aegerter added, “It’s a way to imagine a world that we want to see, or to escape into abstraction or surrealism, escape from the world we’re currently in. It has so many avenues for enrichment.”
While the CMC exhibit runs through Aug. 25, Rossi and Aegerter will stay busy at SAW, with an open house in August and a store opening in mid-November for folks to meet SAW artists and support their works. Additionally, Rossi will participate in the Redstone Art Show at the end of August. Aegerter, meanwhile, will have a show at The Art Base in Basalt beginning Aug. 22, which will run for about a month.
The CMC exhibit is available to view by appointment. To book your visit, call 970-925-7740. To further support Mila and Leah, check out their art at SAW or at www.sawstudio.com, and visit each artist’s website: www.artbymilarossi.com and www.leahaegerter.com