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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:20 AM


Ruth Wheeler, educated, reverent, passionate and curious, found the natural world a place of endless delight. For 70 years she resided in North Denver, making her mark as a beloved biology teacher, naturalist, youth advocate, feminist and most of all as inspiration to her Great Niece and artist Alicia Bailey. When Ruth passed away in 1998 she left behind a collection of biological specimens, notes and photographs that Alicia has incorporated into a delightful series of three-dimensional collages, boxes and book works as a tribute her aunt. Alicia invites the public to share in this sense of wonder at an exhibition entitled "Lovely and Amazing" at Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive from October 4-November 9, 2013 and during the following special events.

Opening: First Friday, October 4, 6-9 pm
Artist Reception: Third Friday, October 18, 5-8 pm
Artist Talk: Thursday, November 7, 7 pm (During Denver Arts Week)
Recital by Garrett Sterne Duo: Saturday, November 2, 3 pm - $10 admission

Born in 1899, Ruth Wheeler lived, lucid, independent and strong, well into her 99th year and, having raised her father, was an important grandmotherly figure in Alicia Bailey's life. Visits to her house as a child might include walking her ferret around the block on a leash, trying to coax the giant snapping turtles to do more than lie around in the big wash tub in the back yard or agitating the miniature alligators that lived in the basement utility sink. Her favorite visits were those that included feeding the snakes from the stock of white mice that Ruth raised for that purpose. There was a kinkajou living in the basement. Despite his peculiar odor Alicia loved creeping down to the basement at night to watch his nocturnal pacing and his protruding eyes luminous in the dark.

As an adult, Alicia spent afternoons recording an elderly Ruth as she told and re-told tales of her life. Concerned about what would happen to her collections, Ruth started gifting her with a variety of biological specimens. As she boxed up her various collections (things such as insect specimens, snakeskin's in old jelly jars, stuffed birds on sticks, owl pellets, taxidermied small rodents, fossils and preserved plants) she told stories about the ornithologist who taught her a down and dirty method of preserving birds and other small creatures and about the day she was called home from school when one of her king bull snakes escaped its cage and was coiled in the bathtub, her great-grandmother trying to retrieve it with a spatula.

Alicia Bailey resides in Denver where she creates her artwork and serves as owner/director at Abecedarian Gallery, a space with an ongoing emphasis on contemporary book arts, works on paper, collage and assemblage. Her work is exhibited regularly in the US, Austria, and England and occasionally in other parts of the world. It is held in numerous public, private and special collections. Her work in the book arts is archived at University of Denver, Penrose Library, Special Collections.

The Garrett Sterne Duo (Lucy Garrett, piano and Rosanne Sterne, flute) has delighted audiences throughout Colorado for over fourteen years. Performing a range of music from baroque to contemporary, the duo offers accomplished and entertaining performances.

Gallery owner and multi-disciplinary artist Niza Knoll received her formal training in painting and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Before becoming a full-time visual artist she had two rewarding careers as a graphic designer and a teacher of painting and photography. The gallery hours are Wednesday-Friday 1-5 pm, Saturday, 1-4, First and Third Friday 4-9 pm. The Mix Co-op in the back of the gallery is also open for visitors during regular hours. For more information visit or call 303-953-1789.

915 Santa Fe Drive, 80204    google map | yahoo map

• Location: 915 Santa Fe Drive, Denver

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