Expressionist painter Richard Zelens has been showing his colorful works in many galleries of late. He had a lovely sky-and-mountain piece in the Day for Night show up at Tohono Chul this past winter and he’s turned into a regular at Raices Taller and Contreras. In fact, right now he’s working on several small pieces for Tropical Heat Wave, the August show at Contreras. Back in 2011, he made it into the prestigious Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of Art.
“I seem to be known for my luxurious florals,” says Zelens, a former professional dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City. “But some friends consider my portraits and esoteric (work) the most interesting. Then there is my addiction to pinching pots.”
Not to mention his painted silks. (Last year he published a book on his silk art.)
Right about now, we could use his charming “Monsoon Serenade,” a painting show at Raices last summer that had two benevolent rain gods throwing lightning bolts to the parched desert and blowing dark rain clouds across the mountains.
Local art lovers can get a look at the whole of the current Zelens oeuvre at a two-day open studio and sale he’s hosting at his house and studio this holiday weekend. Located west of the Humane Society, south of the Rillito, and a stone’s throw from an industrial zone, Zelens’ yard is a spacious surprise, as colorful and as eccentric as his paintings. Full of plants and patio chairs and piles of tiles and painted cloth drying on clotheslines, the place is an artwork in its own right. Inside, the house is equally colorful, with big, bright paintings taking over entire rooms.
Zelens’ two-day studio sale opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, and continues into the afternoon both days. The address is 3250 E. Kleindale Road., Tucson, 85716. Phone is 301-9057. Call if you’re arriving late in the day.