Artbeat

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

Gosh, it seems like only yesterday that anyone whose name was Jason was also contemplating his twelfth birthday. Apparently, while I wasn't paying attention, they grew up. Now Jason is as common an adult name as -- oh, I don't know -- Michael.

It was surely this preponderance of Jasons that led LoDo's Andenken Annex (1449 Wynkoop Street, 303-832-4819) to come up with Jason and Jason. It's the only explanation, since Jason Patz and Jason Miracle have created works that have little in common.

The show begins with Patz's riveting photos. On one wall are six images from his "Self" series. These striking photos, all of which are self-portraits, have been done using a pinhole camera specifically made to shoot them. The blurry portraits -- see "Self #6," above -- really reminded me of the work of the late Wes Kennedy. But Patz had not even heard of Kennedy until I mentioned his name.

The other Patz photos, from his "Color" series, are quite different. The fact that the photos are done in waxy, vaporous colors instead of black and white is only one of the things that set them apart. Patz has paired the negatives and positives of each of these near-abstract, still-life scenes of toys, and the results are undeniably compelling.

Around the corner is a group of oddball acrylic-on-canvas paintings by Miracle, who creates a distinctive style that combines traditional realism with cartoon imagery that's related to both mainstream animation and underground comics. Among the sources he cites are Chuck Jones from Warner Brothers and Robert Crumb from God knows where.

Miracle uses this mixed bag of stylistic approaches to vaguely map out psychological narratives. In "MPD" -- the initials stand for "Multiple Personality Disorder" -- Miracle superimposes a conventional self-portrait onto a field of red-and-white clown heads. The best painting is "Diego," in which Miracle's neighbor, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Diego Rivera, is seen in the foreground, with cartoon monsters arranged like some sort of bizarre wallpaper in the background.

Jason and Jason is Patz and Miracle's first official art outing, and it will come to an end all too soon: It closes on August 1.

 
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