Art Beat

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

Pirate: a Contemporary Art Oasis is now hosting a group of interesting -- though flawed -- sculpture shows.

In the main space up front is Soul Catchers, which features a large collection of abstract sculptures by Craig Robb. Some are on the wall, some are on the ceiling, some are on pedestals and some are freestanding. All are basically assemblages of found materials with an artist-created dollhouse chair (see detail above) -- or several of them -- somewhere on each piece. The best Robbs include Sightlines,: which is essentially a rusted strip of metal hung from the ceiling that forms an inverted hyperbolic arch, and Committee of One,: which incorporates old timbers and a rusted metal hoop. Both also have those pesky little chairs appended to them -- and both would have been better without them.

In the associates’ space is Interior Landscapes, in which Michelle Baldwin presents new three-dimensional work made in paper and decorated with spray paint. Many of her pieces are evocative of flayed skin or internal organs. Though such disturbing references might seem odd, they’re not -- and in the last few years, autopsies have apparently become a major stylistic source for many artists, especially women. Blame the late 1970s art guru and martyr Eva Hesse, who only recently entered the pantheon of art history and thus only recently gained a wide audience.

Cultivate, an installation by Lorre Hoffman, occupies the Treasure Chest. The artist has subdivided the already small space in order to create a square room out of the rectangular area and covered the floor with sand that has been raked into a circle around the edges. On the back wall is a gigantic place setting of knife, fork and spoon. The cutlery, combined with the title and the sand, might refer to world hunger, but it’s hard to say.

These three exhibits, along with Neil Irwin: two houses divided, a witty painting show in the intimate ILK@Pirate, close on Sunday.

 
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