Art Beat

Michael Paglia's brief sketches of what's happening in the Denver art scene.

The O'Sullivan Arts Center, located on the campus of Regis University, is an oft-overlooked exhibition venue that always has something worth seeing. Right now in the large and handsome gallery is a duet in which painter Amy Metier has been paired with sculptor Richard Stephenson. The exhibit, called See Saw, closes tonight at 9.

Metier, who teaches at the Community College of Denver, displays a strong body of recent abstract paintings, including the oil-on-canvas "Abacus," a detail of which is shown above. She is a skilled colorist, and her juxtaposition of shades is masterful; particularly nice is a sunny orange that appears throughout the show. As has long been her practice, these brightly hued paintings are based on still-life scenes.

Somehow, Metier's paintings work perfectly with Stephenson's sculptures, though each artist is doing something completely different. Stephenson, who has taught art at Regis for eighteen years, uses wood and plastic to create incredibly light and elegant abstract sculptures -- and based on work like this, Stephenson should be much better known than he is. Unfortunately, he rarely shows around here.

The high quality of exhibits at the O'Sullivan Center can be credited entirely to the taste and skill of William (Willy) Sutton, a photography teacher at Regis, who serves as the center's part-time director. But there is a problem with the place: The good Jesuit fathers who run the university do not adequately fund it -- and since there's no real budget, there's no real staff. For heaven's sake, there's not even a proper sign identifying the entrance. That's too bad, because with even modest financial support, the arts could raise the profile of Regis in the community like nothing else ever has.

 
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