Art Beat

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

The Edge Gallery is featuring three interesting solo shows right now, and that doesn't happen very often.

In the front space, Carlos Frésquez continues his exploration of personal and ethnic identity in Tiempotrippin en El Meso-Moderno World. Frésquez's longtime interest is in the three cultures in which local Hispanics live: the roots in the Spanish colonial period; the contemporary and urban Chicano identity; and, finally, American pop culture. The juxtapositions Frésquez creates can be moving -- or even hilarious, like the Taco Bell dog who says !No Quiero! on one of the ten panels of "The Obsidian Ranfla," which is done in oil and silkscreen.

More personal is Mark Brasuell's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, on display in the middle space at Edge. These abstract paintings, some of which have been paired with tiny, seemingly unrelated panels, take up the topic of Brasuell's mental health. The artist's statement reveals that he has recently been diagnosed as having post traumatic stress disorder, and he dedicates the show to his therapist, Wilson Glover. Brasuell does not tell us explicitly what the trauma was, but the titles of the paintings -- for instance, are those boys bothering you? and Down by the creek -- suggest a mugging or worse. Lucky for us, despite his psychological crisis, Brasuell's painting skill has been undamaged, and the show is impressive.

In the back room is Bonnie Garcia: Paintings, a group of abstract combine paintings that incorporate found materials. In No Intermission (above), an acrylic and mixed media on board, Garcia has applied metal sheeting to the wet paint and then painted over these added elements.

Frésquez, Brasuell and Garcia make the Edge look better than it has in some time. But the three shows will grace the space only through this weekend.

 
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