Panoramic Views

The exaggeratedly horizontal shape of these photographic assemblages was necessitated by the panoramic view Kahn and Selesnick capture in their photos. The panoramic field allows the artists to reveal vast expanses of landscape populated by scores of figures receding into the distance--though given the sequential method, there may have been only a couple of models striking the many various poses in the many different frames. The all-male cast of the Hesselbach experiment team (who come, according to the artists, from Britain's Royal Engineering Corps) are posed at their labors. Many of the hale and hearty young men are photographed stripped to the waist, and there's more than a faint homoeroticism to the pieces.

In the adjacent Artforms space, Proverbs organizer Doran has assembled some of the show's most adventurous pieces, notably two photographic installations by Garth Amundson and a trio of Terry Maker's large black-and-white photographs that date from a few years ago.

Amundson, who lives in Ohio, begins his photographic installations by making small three-dimensional objects out of wire. He then stretches fabric printed with photographic transfers over the wire armatures and secures the fabric to the wire with sutures. The resulting organic forms are hung in masses on the wall. The synthetic fabric Amundson uses has a slight green tint to it--which is the only evidence in the full glare of the gallery's track lights that these two pieces are coated with phosphorescent paint and thus glow in the dark.

Maker is a highly regarded Colorado artist, known not just as a photographer but also as a sculptor, a fact revealed by three Proverbs photos that relate closely to her three-dimensional work. Though recently Maker's medium of choice has been mud, she has also created a body of work using found books. In the toned photograph "Upwardly Mobile," a dictionary is opened, its pages vandalized by a diagonal of black blotches. In "Tower of Babel," hung next to "Upwardly Mobile," open books have been arranged architectonically in a spiral. Their printed pages have also been marked with black blobs obscuring the text. The narrative content of these Maker photographs is unclear, but it's this ambiguity that furnishes them with their pleasing monumentality.

After the mostly black-and-white world of the Proverbs exhibit, the gem tones of the brightly colored landscapes in A Covenant of Seasons are a welcome relief. This fine exhibit, in the recently created Viewing Room gallery, features monotypes by well-known Colorado artist Joellyn Duesberry.

Duesberry's monotypes, some pulled at Denver's Open Press and the rest done in Santa Fe at Hand Graphics, are from a group that the artist created for a book, also called A Covenant of Seasons, in which her work is paired with poems by Colorado poet Pattiann Rogers. Interestingly, and unexpectedly, both the artist and the poet are each given their own space in the book. Unlike in most books of this type, not only are Duesberry's monotypes and Rogers's poems never brought together on the same page, but they never even appear across from one another on adjacent pages. The beautifully illustrated book (which is available at Robischon) includes a carefully researched essay by David Park Curry, formerly the curator of American art at the Denver Art Museum, who places Duesberry's lyrical landscapes in art-historical context.

Like her mentor, Bay Area master Richard Diebenkorn, Duesberry creates compositions that are at once abstract and representational. Also like Diebenkorn, Duesberry is a master colorist, assembling complicated palettes that are dense and gorgeous.

In "Chama Riverbank, Winter, III," purple water meanders under a canopy of orange leaves beneath the cream and blue of the sky. The scene, essentially made up of gestural scribbles, is defined by the pair of expressively painted trees that frame the foreground. Next to "Chama Riverbank" is an even more abstracted view of the landscape, "Ranchyard, Ca., IV," in which a jumble of forms crowd in front of a backdrop of foothills. The palette in "Ranchyard" is dominated by soft grays, greens and browns.

All of the Duesberry monotypes at Robischon are finely done, but surely the star of this group is the large triptych "Arboretum," which has been propped up against the wall. The three vertical panels, on cloth stretched like a canvas over wooden bars, take three different views and do not line up into a single scenic image. And though trees and hills are discernible, "Arboretum" is, at the same time, nearly non-objective and looks like--but isn't--an abstract-expressionist composition.

Between them, Proverbs and A Covenant of Seasons present a wide array of contemporary approaches to the visual arts. It's this broad vision that has long attracted viewers to Robischon.

Proverbs and A Covenant of Seasons, through December 31 at the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788.

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