A Color-Full Career
The common denominator between Gabriella Denton's whimsical "folk art images" like this issue's Cowboy Dog cover and her abstract paintings, she says, is color. The Silver City artist produces a whole line of folk-art-like prints and also licenses these images for greeting cards, calendars and other uses. But she says, "I love them both, the images like Cowboy Dog and the abstracts. I'm not doing the one in order to be able to do the other."
That's because both types of her acrylic painting are all about the colors. "Color is very magical to me," Denton says. "Color has an emotional charge, even though most people are not cognizant of it. People crave color the same way they crave different vegetables. There's also a lot of psychology associated with color."
She even taught a course this spring at WNMU titled simply, "Color." (Over the years she's taught part-time at a number of colleges.)
"I first became enchanted with color when I lived in the Orient for awhile," she says. The colors of Thai silks attracted her, and she brought their palette back home with her.
Denton's abstract paintings spring from that same fascination with color. "I've always loved pushing paint across the canvas," she says. "And I mean literally pushing and pulling and playing around with layers and layers of color. It's an internal process presented on canvas."
Her abstracts are truly abstract, to the point where she hates giving the works titles—the galleries make her title them, she says. "I prefer for people to give their own interpretation."
Like her folk-art-style images of cats, hens, ponies, sheep and trucks, her abstracts have a certain "playful" quality. "At least that's what my Santa Fe galleries used to tell clients. The imagery is very simple."
A painter for more than 35 years, Denton was born in Rome, Italy ("That makes for good copy, doesn't it?" she adds playfully). Her father, an Englishman, was studying music in Italy, where he met her mother, who was French and Italian.
But her own life has been spent largely in the West and Southwest. Denton lived in Colorado for 40 years, then spent six years in Santa Fe. "I love the Southwest," she says. She first visited Silver City a dozen years ago, with a friend, and liked it right away, but the time wasn't right to move here until a year ago.
She has shown her work professionally in galleries and juried exhibitions across the country, including at the prestigious Elaine Horwitch Galleries. Currently, Denton's paintings and prints can be seen at Silver Cooks & Flowerings, 215 W. Yankie, 534-4514, and Bloomin' Gourdworks, 211 N. Texas, both in Silver City, and at Spirit Winds, 2260 Locust, 521-0222, in Las Cruces. Her abstract paintings are shown by the Coady Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, where her work is also at the Folk Art and Fine Art Museum shops, and in Taos she's at Taos Fine Art. For more information about Denton's work, call her at 388-4575.