July’s First Friday at The Modbo and SPQR: Claire Swinford and Tony Achilles


The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. present July’s First Friday on July 1st, 2016.  In The Modbo, you’ll find new works by Denver artist Tony Achilles.  Meanwhile, in S.P.Q.R., it’s “Internal Logic: New Works by Claire Swinford.”  Both shows are open Fridays through July 29th.  The opening reception on July 1st will go from 5:30 pm til midnight.  The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. are located at 17b and 17c East Bijou, 80903.  More information at themodbo.com or by calling 633-4240 or emailing themodbo@gmail.com

Trained as a French literary historian, Colorado artist Claire Swinford used her undergraduate studies at Whitworth University as a convenient excuse to sketch her way through the collections of art museums from Strasbourg to Paris to Nice. Working as an alt-news journalist, she interviewed painter Brett Andrus in 2012 and subsequently began to paint the subjects of her literary research as part of his atelier. She has exhibited her work at Lied Center for the Arts, Black Cat, The Modbo & SPQR, Rooted Studio and, most recently, the Machine Shop. View more of Claire’s work on Instagram @claireswinford or learn more at claireswinford.wordpress.com.

In a new series of drawings and oil paintings, Claire Swinford explores reversals, permeating the perceptual boundaries between dark/light, child/adult, artist/subject, alone/surrounded. Each figure projects drama from within a cocoon of transparent fabric, but the narrative remains opaque, resulting in rich images that are best understood according to their own inner logic. “Internal Logic: New Work by Claire Swinford” showcases six months of intensive sketching and painting at The Modbo, an award-winning gallery in downtown Colorado Springs.

Tony Achilles is an oil painter, illustrator, mural artist, and art teacher, born and raised in Denver, Colorado.  He is presently working from his studio in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver.  Though he studied under master painters such as Ron Hicks, Margaretta Gilboy, and Mark Daily at the Art Students League of Denver, Tony considers himself to be primarily a self-taught artist.  Achilles has been showing publicly since 1989. Galleries and nontraditional art spaces where he has exhibited work include: Theory and Practice Gallery, Andrew Clark Photography Studio/Gallery, The Art Student’s League of Denver, The Arvada Art Center, The Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Inner City Art Expo Gallery, and most recently, The Modbo Gallery in Colorado Springs.  When he is not preparing work for exhibition, Tony stays busy with commissions and various commercial and decorative art projects. His murals can be found in various businesses, restaurants, and private homes throughout Denver and the surrounding areas.

Says Achilles, “Intrinsically, my artwork is a journal of feelings, perceptions and experiences. My paintings are usually inspired by an emotion that I desire to share or express, rather than a concrete concept. My paintings often don’t have a clear ‘meaning’ until they are completed and I have had time to reflect on things, like what I was processing in my life when the work was created.  Consciously, my work is an exploration of ephemeral beauty, relationship, and life as a sensual experience. Among my major themes are relationship, and personal freedom (or, more specifically, the experience of reaching one’s ‘divine’ potential).  Subjects and images that recur in my work as sub-themes and narrative devices include: the human figure, flowers, fish, birds, bird nests, and tethers.  By and large in my work, birds represent desire and the subconscious, the nest represents the body (the feeling self), tethers (…strings, ribbons, etc.) represent some form of relationship, and the figure simply symbolizes the complex human experience.  Then again… sometimes a bird is just a bird.”