Artbeat

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

For almost twenty years, the Curtis Arts & Humanities Center (2349 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, 303-797-1779) has sponsored an annual exhibition open to all artists in Colorado. The process goes like this: Artists deliver original works (not slides), and a celebrity juror goes through the hundreds of entries and pares the selections down to a manageable list. The resulting exhibit is presented each summer.

Afterward, Curtis director Jo Cole selects three artists from the show and explores their work in some depth in a second annual show the following year, titled Directors Choice. The 2002 version is now on display at the center.

The first featured artist is realist painter Mark Kreger. Some of Kreger's paintings are fairly conventional, but those that include figures juxtaposed with television sets, such as "The Clandestine Harbinger" (above), are really unconventional. In the center of the foreground, a high school kid wearing a beige duster and a trucker's cap is going through his backpack. He's surrounded by television sets, all of which broadcast or beam out Disney images in a TV-screen blue that is gorgeous and dead-on accurate.

Next is the group of mostly small, representational sculptures by Darlis Lamb. Among Lamb's topics are birds, animals and pears. The pear sculptures are from her "French Lesson" series, and they're very nice. In them, Lamb has arranged a row of sculpted bronze pears on a cast-bronze tray; the dull gold patina is quite elegant.

In the back is the work of Darren Young, who has done some very timely landscapes that depict forest fires -- sadly, a common sight in many parts of Colorado this summer. Four of Young's paintings from his "Fire Through the Trees" series are lined up on one wall. In them, he's taken the same group of trees and painted them at different stages of the fire: Some glow bright orange and red, while others are dominated by purple and blue.

Director's Choice closes on August 30.

 
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