By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
Upstairs is the second portion of the show, still-life paintings by Jennifer Azadmanesh and Roberto Azank. Azadmanesh takes a neo-expressionist approach to loosely painted and brightly colored tabletop scenes of fruit and vegetables. Azank's paintings, of bottles, glasses and flowers, couldn't be more different. The New York artist, who was born in Argentina, meticulously renders spare lineups of objects set against two color fields that define the illusionary space. Azank is brand-new to the gallery and to Denver audiences.
Back downstairs, Havu has scattered abstract sculptures throughout the landscape section of the show. These pieces are related to those on display in the sculpture garden, which may be entered through the gallery's back door. These two groups make up the final section of the exhibit.
Respected Colorado Springs-based sculptor Bill Burgess is represented by a handful of pieces both inside and out. "Untitled" is basically a hoop of solid steel set on a simple steel T-bar and adorned with abstract steel decorations. The whole thing, which is displayed on a stand, is finished in a handsome, rich brown patina, the result of induced rusting. Outside in the courtyard is another circular rusted-steel Burgess sculpture, "Opus 1." Using thick square tubes of metal, Burgess creates a curlicue set on a pyramidal base.
A revelation of the Havu show is Vernon Gross, a modernist sculptor from St. Louis who is new to the gallery. Like Burgess, Gross is seen both in the gallery and al fresco. Outside, along the garage wall of the Grand Cherokee Lofts building--and greatly relieving its monolithic quality--are two Gross sculptures made of a composite called silicon bronze, both finished in a delicious icy-green patina. These abstract spikes from the "Fasces" series are vaguely figural in character--or at least totemic.
There are also a few sculptures in the courtyard by Boulder's Jerry Wingren. "Window Rock," made of black Virginia soapstone, is the best of the lot. Havu's sculpture garden, a great amenity for the Grand Cherokee Lofts, is just now coming along, but it's already apparent that it needs more and larger pieces to pleasingly fill up the ample space.
Though Havu has basically laid out a catalogue of the gallery's holdings, he has also attempted to work with themes. That's not what Ron Judish does with his group show. In Summer Stock, at Ron Judish Fine Arts, director Judish lays out the wide parameters of the gallery's artistic program; there are sculptors, painters and photographers working on a variety of unrelated topics in a range of unrelated contemporary styles. As usual, Judish has looked at every detail, including show tunes on the sound system, just what we'd expect at a show called Summer Stock.
The exhibit kicks off with a ceramic sculpture displayed in the window. Barbara Sorensen's "Pinnacles," from 1998, is a large pair of stoneware cones encrusted with gravel. The cones look both like mountaintops and like a woman's breasts. Sorensen spends part of the year in Snowmass and has been associated with the famous Anderson Ranch Art Center located there.
Dominating our view as we enter the gallery is Steve Batura's "Flutterer," a casein-on-panel painting from 1996. "Flutterer" is a portrait of an antique European jacket and is mostly a monochrome in shades of blue. It dates from a period during which Batura found inspiration in old book illustrations of costumes. Across from the Batura and just to the left of the front door are four tiny acrylic-on-paper paintings done by Bill Stockman in 1999, showing small figures in cryptic scenarios. For "Egg," Stockman assembles a nude, an egg and an umbilical cord. In "Ramp," it's a dog and a skeletal tower that has fallen. Stockman's idiosyncratic work may be superficially linked to Batura's, at least by the fact that both artists are former members of the Pirate co-op.
Very different from the nominally representational styles of Batura and Stockman is the abstraction of Louisville artist Michael Criswell. Criswell's "Icarus" is an oil-on-canvas diptych; across the middle of both panels is a pair of oval shapes in a vibrant red, evocative of Icarus's wax wings. Connected to one another by an inverted figure--Icarus himself--the red forms are set in front of a flaming yellow field, suggestive of the sun, where the mythological Icarus tried to fly.
In the center room is a gorgeous photo by the late and infamous Robert Mapplethorpe. As he has before, Judish catches Mapplethorpe, who is best remembered for his in-your-face male nudes, in a more lyrical mood. "Poppy," a 1988 gelatin silver print, is a portrait of a white flower against a rich black background. Hung next to the Mapplethorpe are two pieces that pay homage to the master: Kevin O'Connell's pair of platinum/palladium prints of blossoms, "Dying Hibiscus #2" and "Dying Hibiscus #3." O'Connell lives in Denver.
Across the room are a pair of David Sharpe's signature photo manipulations, in which he creates unique images in black-and-white silver prints using primitive cameras. The Denver photographer's subject is the landscape, but as a result of assembling multiple shots, the pieces are nearly abstract.
In the center of the back gallery is a floor sculpture by Denver's energetic Emmett Culligan. The untitled piece is made of steel, pine and river rock. The beautifully finished steel rod, which is mounted on a square base, holds a pine ice-cream cone topped by the river rock, which looks like a scoop of ice cream.