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Cycling meets canvas in local exhibit

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Omelenchuck-Bars by New York artist Taliah Lempert - puts ten-speeds in gear.
  • Omelenchuck-Bars by New York artist Taliah Lempert puts ten-speeds in gear.

The whole world's abuzz: Lance Armstrong is, indeed, Superman. The Tour de France has ended once again, yet cycling discourse continues to pedal on in high gear. What better time to bring people together around two wheels and various mediums of artwork?

Local cyclist and freelance artist Amy Seltzer views the art and biking worlds as more interconnected than most commonly would assume.

"Cyclists are visually oriented people," she says. "They tend to be very optically sophisticated, as the sport demands. But they also love artwork and are technically skilled; so a lot of cyclists tend to be good artists naturally."

Seltzer and Smokebrush Gallery are offering an exhibition of local and national artists relating to the culture of biking and bike art in all forms. In pottery and sculpture to photography and painting, the 2005 All Dimensions Bike Art Show connects artists from ages 9 to 93. Vintage bicycles are on display, along with unique works assembled from bicycle parts.

Seltzer, like many bike enthusiasts, moved to Colorado because of the plethora of trails, racing and beautiful open roads. The 14er state is widely regarded as a cycling mecca and hosts several national competitions annually.

Seltzer set up Freehub, an art space focused on bicycles, shortly after gaining her mountain lungs and meeting with the local cycling community. Freehub operates as gallery, tech shop and live-in studio for the bike artist.

"It was really through experiential learning and interaction with other bikers that I got the focus and confidence to put together a studio on cycling," Seltzer says. "I know there have been bike art shows in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. When I moved here I had a foggy idea of wanting to do something to build a community among cyclists through art."

Seltzer elaborates that bikers have been creating forms of artwork for years in their garages and living rooms, yet simply haven't been showing it in any organized fashion. She considers most cyclists private people -- Zen thinkers.

"After I'm done riding for the day, I like to take that experience back with me and create a visual representation of it," she explains.

"I say, ride as much as you can, reflect on your ride, then share it with others and connect to the cycling community around you. This art show gives people an opportunity to take their ride off the street and bring it indoors to socialize about it, because there's not much time to chit-chat when you're actually out riding."

Seltzer has been cycling since 1978, and values the therapeutic aspect of riding in addition to the mere enjoyment of it. Having suffered an injury early in her training, she learned to strengthen around the weakness and overcome mental hang-ups that came with being less competitive.

She concedes that many cyclists get stuck in an elitist stance on their particular style (trail riding vs. road biking, etc.), and feels that people need to shift gears to realize they're part of one large cycling community.

"Art is always tied into politics somehow," Seltzer adds. "We aren't officially pushing an environmental agenda, but once you get out there on two wheels, you can't help but view the big noisy vehicles in a different light."

All Dimensions' opening reception will feature live music, cycling demonstrations and bike accessory and technology displays. Gallery director Julie Cole invites patrons to ride in; ample bike racks and gear storage space will be available.

-- Matthew Schniper

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The 2005 All Dimensions Bike Art Show

Smokebrush Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 102

Opening reception Friday, August 5, 5-8 p.m.; show runs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m., through August 20.

Free; call 444-1012 or visit smokebrush.org for more.

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