A fixture in Frisco for close to 18 years, Robert and Karen VanderKooi’s Columbine Gallery offers a selection of two- and three-dimensional art combined with a highly successful framing business.
At first glance, the two-level shop appears to be more of a gift store or framing business than an artist showcase.
The visitor seeking an artful experience might first want to spend a few minutes adjusting to the space and the numerous items on display. Cabinets are filled with crystal ware and jewelry, unique floor lamps and wall sculpture, which all vie for attention.
Closer inspection will yield great rewards. Not all the artwork is framed, and much of it is unique. Artists not shown elsewhere are in evidence alongside images by more recognizable names.
The woodblocks and etchings of Leon Loughbridge, for example, are a joy to see. His woodcut, “Snow Bank,” is a masterwork depicting a fracture in the snow most artists would find difficult to paint. The fact it is a print from a piece of wood demonstrates his extraordinary talent.
Mary Williams, exclusive to the Columbine, is a rare find. She has created art from a unique medium. By reworking old wooden skis and poles or limbs from aspen trees, she has painted, carved and wire-wrapped them in original ways. As objects of art, they are at times reflective of Indian totems. Any one of her pieces will be an instant conversation starter. This summer, the gallery will be showing an all new collection of her work.
Biking enthusiasts will be sure to enjoy the prints by Barcelona artist Didier Lourence. In fact, bicycling is a theme throughout the shop. There are many utilitarian objects made from chains, sprockets and even tire tubes, including CD holders, earrings and frames.
Artist David Coddaire’s unique iron sculptures double as floor vases. If metal is your thing, John Keyser’s metal wall sculpture and wine-holder shelf will be of interest.
There are also several painted wall and floor mirrors, as decorative as they are useful. With all these diverse choices, I almost overlooked a marvelous, albeit very limited, selection of painted gourds by the husband-and-wife team of Irene and Regis Patrick. Delicate, lightweight, and intricate in detail, the gourds are some of the more distinctive items at the gallery and worth the visit just by themselves.
Stew Mosberg is a writer and journalist working out of Blue River. He holds a bachelor of design degree from the University of Florida, College of Fine Arts and Architecture, is the author of two books on design and is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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