Artbeat

Brief sketches of what's happening in the Denver art scene.

The Bayeux Gallery (1133 Bannock Street, 720-359-0990), one of the only galleries in the country specializing in art textiles, is showing the luxurious Spotlight on Tapestry, featuring works by Lucia Grigore and her daughter Celina Grigore. Both are Romanians by birth, but Celina lives in Denver while Lucia remains in Bucharest with her husband, Ion, a professor at the National University of Art, where Lucia and Celina both trained.

Bayeux director Carla St. Romain became aware of Denver's close connection to Romanian textile art when Celina took part in the American Tapestry Biennial that was presented by the gallery last year.

The Grigores each have a distinct approach to the medium of tapestry weaving. Lucia creates traditional, meticulous weavings that often depict arrangements of flowers. "They could be hundreds of years old," says St. Romain, who points out that the elder Grigore uses classic Aubusson style and techniques. The younger Grigore combines Aubusson approaches with other methods, and her style is retro modernist, as seen in the stunning "The Opera" (above), a mammoth horizontal weaving. In this piece, which features a delicate and elaborate palette of muted greens and golds with touches of black, a central figure of a surrealist woman is joined by other female figures on each side.

In the European tradition, the Grigores design and partly work on their tapestries, but most of the actual weaving is done by assistants -- a marked departure from the standard in this country, but one that's been acceptable everywhere else for centuries.

In addition to the exhibit, St. Romain has filled the back of the gallery with textiles by other artists from her stable, some of whom, like the Grigores, are internationally known. Spotlight closes February 10.

 
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