Artbeat

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

The typical show at Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173) highlights the work of the co-op's members. But around this time every year, Edge presents a show devoted to non-members. The current version, which is on display now, is titled Emerging Artists: 2003 Edge Invitational.

In the past, this annual show was organized in a democratic way, with each Edge member inviting one artist to participate. But to gain entry this time around, selected artists needed to get the support of a majority of the members. When it was over, the Edgesters had collectively selected six artists, or about one out of every three that were proposed. The work of the six makes an interesting and stylistically wide-ranging exhibit that handsomely fills the front and center spaces at the co-op.

The show begins with the dark and moody little oil-and-collage paintings by Dawn Howkinson Siebel, which are very nice. Siebel's technique is accomplished, and she seamlessly integrates found photographic images of people and animals into painted backgrounds. Across from the Siebels are additional appropriated photos, in the form of computer-generated prints by Daniel Henry. In "The Tree of Good and Evil" (above), Henry stacks images on top of one another. By shooting the prints onto watercolor paper and canvas, he captures some compelling surface effects. Jennifer Henry's perspective drawings and floral abstractions finish out the front gallery.

First up in the center space are the figural abstractions by Laura Ben-Amots. Opposite these are a series of remarkable ceramic heads and masks by Ted Fish. In some of the ceramics, Fish embedded broken pieces of vessels into raw clay before firing and finishing the resulting conglomerate. Last but hardly least is the series of Dan Donaldson paintings based on comic strips. Unexpected are the lively surfaces, on which Donaldson left visible brush strokes and allowed puddles of pigment to dry in place. Though seemingly at odds with the inherent flatness of comics, his expressive handling of the paint really works.

Edge's new selection process was an undeniable success compared with the free-for-alls from previous years. See what I mean before Emerging Artists closes this Sunday, January 26. -- Michael Paglia

 
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