Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TPAAK Young Curators and Artists Statement

For years and years wars have been fought over religion. In all of the art research that we have done in class on various religions, we found that artists work together to create beautiful symbols of unity and of peace. In our 4th grade classroom, in the small town of Fort Collins, Colorado, we have come together to re-create symbols that are found in religions throughout the world. As we created the artwork, our goal was to educate the community by displaying the different types of art that represent the most prevalent religions of the world. We took the symbols of the religions and we created art, together. Through unity, understanding, and learning from one another, we learned how to work together and in the midst of all this, we created something beautiful. In our seven canvass series, we hope that you too will discover what we have learned during the creation process. We are all in this together, loving, caring, helping, teaching, learning, creating, and understanding. Some times we have to step back in order to view the bigger picture. We hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TPAAK Young Curators Install the Exhibition

Today was a blast with the entire 4th grade class installing the 7 artworks they created, researched, and curated. The groups all worked together wonderfully, and the show looks great!

Be sure to stop on in on Friday, Dec. 3, from 6-9 pm, at Valhall Arts, 201 S. College Ave, Plaza Level 2, Fort Collins, CO, and meet the students at the opening reception. The exhibition continues through Dec. 17. Visit to learn more.

Friday, November 12, 2010

TPAAK Young Curators at Valhall Arts

Young Curators Group: A project of Front Range Community College and T.R. Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge, Exhibition opens at Valhall Arts, Friday December 3, 2010, 6-9:00 pm

With help from Front Range Community College's Museum/Gallery Studies, Ms. Mockerman's 4th graders at T.R. Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge have been working hard at becoming young curators. The Young Curators Group meets every Monday afternoon, with students, faculty and community artists that are part of the the Museum/Gallery Studies collaborative from Front Range Community College. All visit and attend field trips with TPAAK students to explain and engage in the process of a museum curator’s job.

Ms. Sarah Mockerman’s 4th grade class is learning about the art history of cultures around the world and more specifically, the symbols that are represented in each religion. In the spirit of the holiday season, TPAAK students have recreated pieces of art from each culture and will, as the Young Curators Group be curating and installing an exhibition of the work at Valhall Arts that will open Friday, December 3, 2010. The Exhibtion will run through Saturday, December 18, 2010.

Exhibition Theme ~ Religions From Around the World

Names of the artworks ~ Hindu Color Splash, Buddhist Prayers, Judaism Night Sky, Knots of Christianity, Islamic Crescent, The Short Days and Long Nights of Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa

Learn more about the T.R. Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge, click here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The American Dream: A Juxtaposition

Just entered my video into an exhibit in Chicago.
Below is my statement:

How does one define the American Dream? Is it the attainment of a collection of priceless objects, living the lavish lifestyle of wealth and fame? Or is it attained through our accomplishments? The often touted goal of "having it all", is this possible? How does one maintain the delicate balance of family, career, and personal accomplishments, without losing the personal sense of themselves? True happiness comes from the intra-personal relationship with one’s self, and the inter-personal relationships with others, through the interactions of a small community of close contacts. Ultimately, we are defined by our dreams. The American Dream is a personal institution, one that suffers in our disconnected, wired world, with its fast paced modernity. We offer only passing glances to others as we go about in our media focused consumerist culture, missing the greater things of value, a true awareness of the moments, and real connections. Only through living a valid life, doing what one loves, contributing to civilization in a lasting way, and engaging with others, can the American Dream be realized.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Exhibit in the Works

The new exhibition planned for November is called "Moving Pictures". It is an installation with two video works by Laura Brent, that look more like photographs. It is an experimental piece, and the videos, in which very little happens, will make the viewer wonder about what they are seeing.
The title, used before in a 2002 exhibit at the Guggenheim (NYC), included works by Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Kara Walker and Shirin Neshat, among others. The exhibit explored the affects of this new reproducible media in art making, it ability to render visible conceptual concepts and questioned the supposed objectivity of representation in itself .
This small solo presentation could never attain the drama of the museum's show, but I want the viewer to gain a sense of themselves, their youth, and their mortality. This piece follows my ongoing study of how we see things, how our media saturated culture has affected our way of looking, and visually experiencing and interacting with our environment. It is similar in feel to Brent's previous exhibits, Public Practice, and "pinching the light fantastic".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The surprise mentioned on my website, is that I've included the piece, "Heads for Sale" by Kerry Brooks, in the exhibition at the gallery this month. (2.25" x 2.75", Graphite on Bristol Board). This is a new addition to my personal art collection, and a favorite at that! Brooks is a very talented and gifted artist.

See more of her work here,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So, I must do a bit of self promotion, wearing the gallery director 'hat', and promote the artist. Seems I do a better job with promotions of other people's shows vs. my own shows, so I have kicked myself in the rear and am doing a bit of marketing before the exhibit closes. Here is the new postcard; I have created it in the theme of the Polaroid, a few of which appear in the gallery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Photographs by Laura Brent, opens Friday!

Putting together the new exhibit of my latest photographs, opening this Friday, Sept 3, with a reception from 6-9:00 p.m. The works included feature new images in two previous series, both the "White Dress" and "Toyland". Also, I will be showing some more personal photographs, images taken of my family and our times spent over the summer. To exhibit these intimate family pictures is challenging for me, as I am a very private person and try to keep my professional and personal images separate. The quality of the images is inspiring me to share the work with my audience. I only hope they will enjoy them as much as I do.
Also included in the exhibit are some Polaroid images, both new and old, and digital images formed in the 'polaroid' style, using the latest technologies.
Photo Credit: "River", taken in Fort Collins, Colorado, 2010 by Laura Brent. All images copyright of the artist.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School

It's that time of year again, the alarm wakes us up, a good breakfast to start the day, then off to catch the bus. Studying, Homework and the like, ahhhh, learning.....
The image was created with a pinhole camera, the original image on the left, the inverted image on the right.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Maasai Exhibit Closing Soon!

Don't let this exhibit pass you by! The summer exhibition at the gallery, "Through Our Eyes: An Exhibit of Maasai Photographers", will close with a reception on August 6, 2010 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Visit the website for more information. (All images copyright of the the artsits.)
Photo Credit: "Children without Mothers", Musa ole Shenaai

Monday, July 12, 2010

Short Film Showing at the Lyric Cinema and Cafe

Valhall Arts is pleased to announce our first formal venture into the world of film. A showing of the short documentary film, "Through Our Eyes: A Maasai Photographic Journey" will occur on July 17th at 1:00 pm at the Lyric Cinema and Cafe, (300 E. Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524), in conjunction with the current exhibit featured at the gallery. The film, created by Lindsay Simpson and Joana Roque de Pinho, documents the project organized by Roque de Pinho, in which she placed cameras into the hands of the Maasai people of Southern Kenya, allowing them to creatively document their lives and culture. Please visit the website, for more information.

The line-up will be as follows:
1:00 PM Opening short film, "Grasping the Grey Ghost" (Simpson's goshawk documentary set in Arizona on the Grand Canyon, approx. 15 mins.)
1:15 PM Featured Presentation, "Through Our Eyes: A Maasai Photographic Journey" (approx. 30 mins)
1:45 PM Bonus Feature, "Fort Collins Music Experiment" , by Nic Tapia, (approx. 30 minutes)

A suggested donation of $2 is requested.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

National Pinhole Day

After much delay, I have finally scanned and uploaded the images taken on National Pinhole Camera day, which was April 25, 2010. The image was made using a hat box, with three pinholes, and three separate sheets of Ilford photo paper. The photo negatives were scanned and inverted. You can see all the images at, over 3400 images, from all over the world.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paintings available through silent auction

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please email me with your bid.
Auction closes May 1, 2010.
(1. The Woman with Abaya and Head Scarf, 2. Girl in the Garden, 3. Eye of Society, 4. The Village Woman)
See more information at

Monday, March 8, 2010

Curatorial Statement

Outsider art is often idiosyncratic, but its merit comes from the pure, spontaneous gestures by the artist, and is created with an “imaginative process generally untouched by external influences”. (John Beardsley, “Imagining the Outsider”, Vernacular Visionaries, edited by Annie Carlano, 2009). Nagma Mohammed Omer, is a Middle Eastern artist who has gone ‘outside’ in her own culture. The beautiful oil paintings, unveiled figurative works, go against the societal and religious expectations of her region, and show the bravery of her creative pursuits with their bold color, expressive lines, and compositional choices. The paintings offer a unique vision into the culture and community of her region. The exhibit is a peaceful and quiet conversation between two cultures, a brief encounter and a chance to gain valuable insight into another way of life.

The traditions of Muslim dress for women in the Middle East have changed throughout history, depending on the region, the ruling leaders, and the political environment. A woman’s dress was often dictated by external factors, and a woman had no personal choice as to how she would present herself in her community. “When this is forced upon people against their will, it is coercive and likely to create a backlash.” (Armstrong, Karen, Islam: A Short History, Great Britain, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2000.) However, many Muslim women still chose to wear the abaya, and surprisingly, many of these women have progressive views on matters like gender. They feel “that veiling is a symbolic return to their pre-Columbian period, before their society was disrupted and deflected from its true course.” (Armstrong, K., 2000.) The Islamic faith encourages modesty in dress, for both men and women, and the “shrouded body declares that it is orientated to transcendence, and the uniformity of dress abolishes class difference and stresses the importance of community over Western individualism.” (Armstrong, K., 2000.)

Nagma’s statements indicate that this is an important issue to her, and she is experiencing various pressures from the spiritual and political forces of her culture. The ability for her to express her feelings through her art is unique, and only allowed due to the progressive nature and support of her husband, friends and community. “The fact that Muslims have not yet found an ideal polity for the twentieth century does not mean that Islam is incompatible with modernity.”(Armstrong, K., 2000.) It is through interactions like this exhibit, that a balance between the differences of our cultures, the secular and spiritual values, can be found, and that all people can live freely and pursue their dreams and prosper.

The Middle East is challenged in many ways in this modern age; societal, political and spiritual issues are all close to the heart. In a true spirit of peace, the world must find a way to co-exist, to try to understand and tolerate different mindsets, beliefs and rituals. We must generate an environment where individuals can come together, to exchange knowledge with another culture, and progress to a peaceful future.
~Laura Brent, Director
Valhall Arts

Monday, March 1, 2010

Experiencing the Veil

In preparation for the upcoming exhibition featuring the artworks of a Middle Eastern woman, I don the abaya, getting a glimpse of life in her culture.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2nd Happening, 'pinching the light fantastic" video installation event at Valhall Arts

Well, the second happening went well I think. I added a few minor additions to the installation, and broadcasted the event live, (or almost live) on This time, I had the power cord for the iphone to do this, but with my inexperience, I was unaware that the video would not shoot in the panoramic mode. (I was able to see the video fine on the phone, and learn!) So, all the documentary videos are flipped a 1/4 turn. Agh! So, if you are on a laptop, you can witness the event by visiting the site on Ustream,,
good luck, and pinch back with any comments! Thanks to all who made it out on a Wednesday night, and for the rest of you, You Missed It!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inspired Art Denver

I am happy to be involved in another charity art exhibition. The Inspired Art Project takes poems written by Denver's youth and asks local artists to create original works inspired by their words. The Inspired Art Show exhibition and auction will be on April 29th, 2010 at the Space Gallery with proceeds going to support America SCORES Denver and Think 360 Arts. This project offers a new way to show the power and impact of the words of Denver students, and brings to life their creativity and imagination. See their blog for more info,

I am creating a new work for poem #6, Red Brick, and entering a photograph from my Water series for poem #10, Untitled. See their blog to read the poems.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The installation/happening 'pinching the light fantastic' was a success last night. Some visitors were startled and disturbed by being recorded, others relaxed in the playfulness of it all. Most were confused at first, but enjoyed the novelty of the installation.
I also did a few live streaming videos of the happening on Ustream, and uploaded live via Twitter. You can see the videos at this link I apologize in advance for the poor quality of some of the recordings, it is hard to talk about the work, while recording the work, without being rude.
Due to several requests, a second event has been added. PTLF will have a reprisal performance on Wednesday, February 24 from 6:00-8:00 pm. I will attempt to stream live again, and hopefully with better results.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Feb. 5, 6 pm a video installation event

'pinching the light fantastic' - to bend light with a body, distorting the perceptions of believed realities, seeing and not seeing, enlighted and confused at once.

Friday, February 5th, from 6-9 pm
at Valhall Arts
201 S. College Avenue, Plaza Level 2
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(@ Oak Street Plaza, in the old post office)

visit for more information

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"pinch the light fantastic" a video installation event at the gallery, opening Feb. 5, 2010 at 6:00-9:00 pm

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Press: Article by Sarah Vaeth

Latest Press, in the "SCENE" Magazine- Entertainment and Lifestyle for the Northern Front Range

Valhall Arts: The bleeding edge of artistic practice
By Sarah Vaeth

Laura Brent, Director of Valhall Arts, has just wrapped up the audience-interactive phase of Public Practice. Brent used sketches and fragments of writing from old journals of her own as creative seeds, peppering the walls of the intimate basement gallery. These pieces together with a mysterious video playing against one wall, invited responses from the audience, who were encouraged to type out short statements (whatever came to mind) on an ancient typewriter.
These responses were added to the walls and in turn elicited new responses, and the artwork grew unpredictably. Alongside the evolving textual piece, a photo booth was set up, inviting a paralleled self-presentation. The 300-some gallery goers who formed the “medium” of the art piece were likely too immersed in the playfulness of the project to notice they were the art. Brent explains: “The moment the audience member interacts with the work, they become a part of it. This is in contrast to those who remain only traditional audience members simply witnessing the exhibit...”
Brent defines the structure of Public Practice as post-postmodern because of the emphasis on relationships out of which the artwork is created. Here, a touch of theory is warranted: Modernism posited the talent-endowed artist as the creator of art objects, which should be judged according to formal aesthetic merits. Postmodernism cast doubt on the boundaries between art object and non-art object, artist and non-artist; it introduced new forms of art that didn’t result in objects at all – like performance and happening. New (or post-postmodern) frameworks take an orchestrated event, like a happening, and shift it into a conversation between artist and audience; where the audience has authority to change the artwork. Collaborative relationships are key to a range of new approaches belonging to social practice. Creative projects arise out of partnerships, often between art professionals, professionals from other fields, and non-professionals. Often there’s a social benefit to these projects – cultural, political, or environmental.
Valhall Arts’ contemporary framework extends to Brent’s own blended role. Artist-as-curator? Curator-as-artist? Each exhibit requires something new from her. When she opened the exhibit space in the basement of M.O.C.A. in 2007, it was a place to show her own photography. But Brent was soon frustrated with the demands of exhibiting every month. She started looking around for co-exhibitors who meshed philosophically. Now an exhibit at Valhall Arts may be Brent’s work, or a collaborative piece between Brent and other artists, or the work of an invited artist or group. The requirements for an exhibit have evolved as Brent’s own relationship to art making and theory has deepened. An involvement that began with drawing, painting, and photography has shifted to greater emphasis on process and dialog. Visitors to Brent’s exhibits will still see art objects in addition to art actions... but not necessarily ones you can buy, and not necessarily ones you can regard as “art-for-art’s-sake.”
Future projects include a performance piece designed to force confrontation with myths and superstitions that persist in our culture. Audience/participants will face their own latent fears, and tempt fate by breaking superstitious taboos. Brent is still working out the details, but mirrors will definitely be smashed. Look for this event in August; that’s when the next Friday the 13th occurs. Meanwhile, Brent has several irons in the fire. She’s working on a second phase of Public Practice in which images from a photo booth are video-collaged in a multimedia “public portrait,” to be included in Masks at M.O.C.A. in April. She’s also capitalizing on a family connection in the Middle East to seek Middle Eastern artists to exhibit and share their culture.
Most intriguing to me is an exhibit of photographs by the Maasai Photographers for Conservation (date TBD). The photographers (not professionals) communicate their own experience of coexistence with wildlife in the Amboseli ecosystem, and the devastation of drought brought on by climate change. The exhibit and newly formed NGO come out of a research project by Joanna Roque de Pinho, a PhD student in Ecology at CSU. De Pinho’s work engages multiple perspectives in a dialog about conservation, ultimately with aims of shaping policy and creating the conditions for social sustainability. De Pinho’s project comes out of a scientific discipline, but the case can be made for framing the entire project as social practice art. The ingredients are all there: A relationship is created between professionals from multiple fields and members of a community where change is to be affected, and at the heart is a creative action (photography), which serves to benefit the community. I suppose the question of whether such a project is “art” depends on the context in which you encounter it. The conservation project becomes social practice art when it’s presented in a gallery. At the same time, by hosting this kind of project, Valhall Arts is offering new answers to the question, “What is an art gallery?”

Valhall Arts is located at 201 S. College Avenue, Fort Collins, in the basement of the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art. Open the first Friday of every month, 6-9 pm or by appointment.
See the article at or for gallery information visit