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Lever Wood, Branca bring pottery and paintings to Mancos

Janet Lever Wood will bring her pottery artwork to Olio Restaurant in Mancos this month.

Janet Lever Wood and Lara Branca hope the audience will connect and interact with their work at Olio Restaurant in Mancos later this month.

Lever Wood will bring her pottery art and Branca will present her horse-themed oil paintings at Olio from October 15 to December 3. The artists will hold an opening reception at the restaurant on October 15 from 4-6 p.m.

Lever Wood has 45 years of experience as a sculptor and pottery artist. Her portion of the show is titled “Containers of Spirit: Pottery, Poems, Place” and will feature a large vessel containing a smaller pot with a scroll inside, on which a poem is written. The concept was inspired by a 12th century Japanese style of artwork.

People will be able to open the containers to view the poems inside, she said.

“We have a very unique community,” Lever Wood said. “I encourage people to come out so the show is interactive.”

The poems inside the jars are inspired by the landscape of Southwest Colorado, as well as Lever Wood’s hobbies and interests, such as archaeology and birdwatching, she said. Lever Wood commissioned Mancos calligrapher Beth Wheeler to write some of the poetry.

Lever Wood said there will be room for other peoples’ thoughts and interpretations of her work.

“I want people to be wowed,” she said. “I want them to think about the words that are important to them.”

Branca describes her large-scale, colorful, abstract paintings as “discombobulative.”

Almost all of her work features horses or is inspired by them in some way. Some of her paintings feature distinct equine figures, but in others, the horses are hidden, she said.

“I’m creating the feeling of a horse without giving the viewer all the information,” she said. “They have the landmarks.”

Branca recently graduated with her MFA, and many of the paintings that will be featured at Olio were created as part of her thesis. Her work explores her relationship and connections with horses, and she said she hopes viewers also will connect with the pieces.

“I like to watch people connect with my work,” Branca said. “I try to make visceral paintings. I like to paint big to have it consume your range of vision. I want people to have a reaction to it.”

Jan 26, 2022
Durango artist’s Southwest pastels on display at Olio