Artbeat

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

The William Havu Gallery (1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360) is so jam-packed with art right now that you can't help but experience sensory overload. On the first floor are exhibits devoted to Emilio Lobato (see art column), Gregory Gioiosa, Mark Lunning and Jerry Wingren. Upstairs is the small and kooky Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, made up of recent works by the well-known Denver artist.

As in Madonna's video, and as usual for Murphy, she explores "What it feels like for a girl." But, like Madonna, Murphy puts her own unique stamp on feminist issues. Several pieces are signature Murphy grids, including "Miss Perfect," made up mostly of pink panels. One of these sports a "Hello Kitty"-style cutout; another is adorned with a pair of tails covered in fake fur. "As a girl, I always had pink shoved down my throat, and that's what this piece is about," says Murphy. "And it's also about gender-bending. The key is in the panel, with its little penis."

The show also includes a brand-new group of ceiling-hung sculptures that Murphy calls "Hairballs," one of which, "Kinderslut," is seen above. These pieces are about the attention women give to hair -- their own and that of others. "Little girls are always playing with their hair, and with the hair of other little girls. As adults, hair is the first thing women look at when they meet another woman," says Murphy.

The "Hairballs" take up this concern in an irreverent and humorous way. They are highly abstracted forms suggestive of heads that have been decorated with hair-dos made of a variety of ad hoc art materials -- including synthetic hair. The Murphy show -- along with the raft of others at Havu -- closes on April 14.

 
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