Time Marches On

Colorado's abstract art tradition continues.

Several of the most adventurous artists in Part II have been nurtured by Clark Richert, an important artist whose work is seen in Part I. They are interested in post-minimalism rather than abstract expressionism.

Jason Hoelscher's "Index 1.0" is a pair of acrylic-on-canvas paintings. Each has a white background on which Hoelscher has painted a hard-edged outline of the canvas connected to vertical lines, like line drawings of windows. Hoelscher's unexpected painterly technique, given his minimalist approach to pictorial design, lends his works a sense of deep space. The lines sit on the surface of the pictures, while the background seems to recede into the wall. Melanie Hoshiko gets the opposite result with 1999's "Enter," a three-dimensional wall construction that reads, at least from the front, like a two-dimensional painting.

Mixing up painting and sculpture is surely what Bruce Price has done with the painted sculpture "Inserted and Overlapped," an acrylic on canvas. Price has suggested intersecting forms with his hard-edged color fields, but his piece takes the simple form of a rectangular box. It would not be surprising to see Price break free of the rectangle, as he has broken with the inherent flatness, or near-flatness, of painting.

"Untitled (Benighted Time)," by Homare Ikeda, painting.
"Untitled (Benighted Time)," by Homare Ikeda, painting.

Although sculpture plays second fiddle to painting in Part II, bona fide sculptors are featured here.

George Peters has obviously worked his way out of abstract sculpture since creating his 1980s piece. His new mixed-media piece, "Homage to Otto," is made up of recognizable images, most notably the flaming airplane hung in the atrium space.

Still working in a totally abstract vein is Carl Reed. His 1980 "Pedestal Piece" is a steel hoop attached to the smashed fragment of an I-beam. The piece has a lovely rusted patina. His newer piece is a sculptural group made up of a cut hemisphere on the floor with a wood-and-steel structure standing nearby. The piece has a poetic, atmospheric quality.

Ceramic genius Scott Chamberlin is represented by three enigmatic wall-hung sculptures, all of which have a cryptic quality owing to the difficult, primordial shapes that the artist prefers to use for his monochrome ceramics. "Heved" and "Flappe," both from the mid-'90s, and this year's "Pente" all suggest primitive life forms, or even internal organs.

As a whole, Colorado Abstraction: 1975-1999 is good, but there are some disappointments. Andrews didn't use the two-part show as an opportunity to illustrate the history of the past 25 years, nor did she make any stylistic observations or provide biographical or historical material on the participants.

But these considerable shortcomings notwithstanding, the show is still a big success, a major accomplishment and a visual treat.

Next week we'll look at the prequel, Vanguard Art in Colorado, which opens this weekend at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and focuses on abstraction from the 1930s to the 1960s.

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