Art Beat

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

In the main gallery at Pirate right now, Linde Schlumbohm has invited a trio of locally prominent installation artists for 3 Fold, on display through Sunday. Each artist -- Gail Wagner, Virginia Folkestad and Susan Meyer Fenton -- has been given her own section of the room.

Characteristic painted fiber pieces by Wagner are first, although these latest things are more literal in their biomorphism than her previous efforts. In them, worms, parasites and fungi are evoked in pieces such as the wall-mounted "Mycota" (seen above), which was done in yellow painted cloth that has been stretched over hidden armatures. There are several other successful wall pieces here, including the wonderful "Appendages," in which tentacle forms emerge from the wall, their ends accented with little metal sneakers that have been sewn on.

Near the middle of the room are six related structures from Folkestad's "Flock Series." These structures are exaggerated vertical sheds made of unfinished lumber. In all but one, there is a metal funnel hanging down the middle. The funnels are lined in green fabric that appears to have "dripped" down onto eggs or plants, implying fertilization. The sixth structure seems to illustrate cloning with a series of shelves on which sit identical organic forms.

In the back is Fenton's "Escape: A Love Song for Harry and Bess." Using adjacent walls, the artist has created two distinct environments. On the north wall, which has been painted white, Fenton has arranged small, industrial, feather-filled bird cages in a grid pattern; standing in front is a headless figure formed by a metal bodice placed on top of a feather skirt. On the west wall, painted Wedgwood blue, Fenton has hung a grid of metal boxes filled with black stones and shiny gravel. A large version of the box sits in front.

3 Fold works well with the Bonnie Ferrill Roman show of twigs and lighted paper, which is in the Associates' Gallery, and with the fragile and outrageous clothing in the Erica Spitzer Rasmussen show in the Treasure Chest. In fact, it seems like one big show instead of three smaller ones, and as preferable as that is, it almost never happens at Pirate. If only ILK @ Pirate had fallen into line. Oh, well, you can't have everything.

 
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