REFLECTIONS ON PERSPECTIVE: Denver Urban Photographs
Friday, November 3
Gallery Space at Denver Architects’ Collaborative,
863 Santa Fe Drive, Denver
Artist Lecture/Discussion at 5:45 p.m.
Opening from 6:15 to 9:30 p.m.
On Friday, November 3 in the Santa Fe Arts District, RMCAD Illustration Alumnus Joe Fretz will be premiering a new exhibition, REFLECTIONS ON PERSPECTIVE: Denver Urban Photographs. The exhibit will showcase both recent photographs that depict unseen and unexpected views of urban and industrial sites in Denver as well as two original acrylic paintings which reference to Fretz’s earlier treatment of similar subjects. Featured locations include downtown, LoDo, RiNo, South Santa Fe, North Denver, Elyria-Swansea, and Commerce City. Themes include the use of perspective and compositions highlighting reflective surfaces and the unique quality of light typical of Colorado. Fretz cites the works of Edward Hopper and a Precisionist style reminiscent of early 20th century painter/photographer Charles Sheeler as strong influences.
Joe Fretz graduated from RMCAD’s Illustration program in 1985, and he returned to teach the same program from 1988-1998. Back then the school was just a fraction of the size it is today, and was housed on Ogden St. in Capitol Hill. We were lucky enough to ask Joe a few questions about his time at RMCAD.
1. How did your RMCAD education help you in your career?
“I had basic artistic skills when I came to RMCAD, but didn’t know how to employ them in a real-world commercial art setting. The professional experience and knowledge of RMCAD teachers, who made a living as artists, was invaluable in teaching me what to expect, and preparing me to work for actual clients. Also, the contacts I made through RMCAD teachers, staff, and with Denver area professionals were a huge boost to getting me started as a working graphic designer/artist.”
2. What about your time at RMCAD inspires your work today?
This is less tangible, but at different points in my creative process, little snippets of talks/discussions by/with RMCAD teachers come back to me during my working process. An example is the late, great art history professor Jim Valone, who also taught drawing, painting, and color theory. His exhortation to “peel the skin off of your eyes” when observing a subject while drawing it, rather than allowing what think we know about the subject to cloud our perception of it, comes back to me today and informs how I see and select the subjects I photograph.
3. What is your favorite RMCAD memory?
“While there are many, I would say the level of energy and professionalism during class critiques was something I remember clearly, and it inspired me as a teacher to attempt to recreate this environment for my students. I learned a lot during these critiques, and enjoyed the sense that I was taken seriously as an artist by my teachers and peers.”