Thermo Dynamics

There's no such subtlety in Dams and Drive-Ins, a separate show of contemporary Western landscapes installed in the newly remodeled viewing room located behind the back gallery. Not only has the space gotten a paint job and carpet, but the cumbersome set of drawers used to store works on paper has been moved to the storage room beyond. As a result, the room is now fully functional as an exhibition space. The dams in Dams and Drive-Ins come from Chuck Forsman, the nationally recognized Boulder artist; the drive-ins are the work of Don Stinson. While Robischon has had a long-standing relationship with Forsman, Denverite Stinson is new to the gallery, having recently left Bill Havu. Bringing these two artists together is a natural; earlier this year they hung side by side in the contemporary realist show at Golden's Foothills Center.

In the oil on panel "Lizard," Forsman places a mountain in the brightly lighted center of the background in the manner of a traditional landscape painting. However, this mountain isn't breathtaking or even picturesque, because earth movers have cut and ravaged it. In fact, only the darkened foreground--and the sky--are found in their natural state. Everything else in view has been damaged by the development of the fictional dam, which remains unseen. Forsman always uses unconventional frames to set off his paintings; in "Lizard," the top is arched to convey the idea that the landscape continues beyond the picture. To emphasize this, Forsman has the clouds drift over the black lacquered frame.

Stinson also looks at damaged goods, but in his work, the land triumphs over the development. In "Paonia Drive-In," an oil on panel, the prairie grasses have overtaken the parking lot. A battered outdoor screen anchors the picture, though Stinson has placed it on the far right edge of a composition that's otherwise dominated by the almost clear sky.

Just as Forsman and Stinson make a wonderful pairing, Dams and Drive-Ins and Untitled Summer Exhibition #22: Abstraction are a refreshing matchup. The two shows are polar opposites--and in the summer, there's no cooler place to be.

Untitled Summer Exhibition #22: Abstraction and Dams and Drive-Ins, through July 25 at the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 298-7788.

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