Art Beat

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

It's easy to think of Elizabeth Schlosser Fine Art in Cherry Creek as a purveyor of paintings and sculpture from the region's past, since a typical exhibit at the boutique style gallery showcases the work of deceased artists who were active in the early to mid-twentieth century. But Schlosser also exhibits contemporary artists with some regularity.

Two exhibits currently span the gap. Up front is Duke Beardsley, a look at the young artist's fresh-off-the-easel Western-themed paintings and drawings of cowboys and fisherman. In the back is Robert Wesley Amich, which showcases more Western paintings and drawings, these from the 1920s and '30s.

Beardsley's paintings have a sketchy quality that is not unlike that of his drawings, and his sense of composition is instinctual, typically hitting the mark. Although these pieces are representational, Beardsley uses many of the abstract-painting techniques, with drips, runs and scribbles employed to fill out his compositions. Many such features can be seen in Out of Shoot #3 (above), a large oil painting. The blending of representational and abstract elements links Beardsley's work to the figural abstraction tradition in California, where the Colorado-born artist studied his craft: He's a recent graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

The small group of Amich paintings and drawings -- some leaning against the wall -- are glorious. Born in Cañon City in 1879, Amich moved to Connecticut in 1903. He died in 1969 and is buried in Cañon City. Although he lived on the East Coast, his memories of the West remained alive in his paintings and drawings, which depict rodeos and tourists.

The informal atmosphere at Schlosser is inviting; be sure to check out the bins of prints in the small back room. Both shows continue through the end of the month.

 
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