Artbeat

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

Terry Maker is one of Colorado's most relentlessly innovative artists, constantly changing approaches. Over the years, she's exhibited hard-edged paintings, sculptures made of old books, and beach balls covered in latex and wax. For heaven's sake, she even did an installation inside a travel trailer. Her latest wild creations are being showcased in Terry Maker: Extraction, at Robischon Gallery (1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788). The intriguing new pieces, installed in Robischon's front spaces, represent oddball takes on traditional painting, with Maker using painted canvas in a novel way -- as a material to create wall sculptures.

Maker starts in the typical mode of a painter -- laying the paint on the canvas -- but then throws the classic medium a few unexpected curveballs by rolling up the canvas, gluing it together, cutting it with saws and assembling it. The handsome final products look like paintings, but, of course, they're not. A few of the Makers are based on pixilated photos of the artist in her studio, but the best are elaborate geometric compositions in beautiful, toned-up colors. In the marvelous "Arched Painting No. 2" (above), there's a wealth of cool blues and purples set off by hot reds and yellows; another interesting element is the painting's bowl-like surface.

Gorgeous colors and curved surfaces are also seen in the elegant paintings in Creighton Michael, on display in Robischon's center space. Though Michael is a New York artist, his work has been shown at Robischon since 1990. The all-over compositions from his "Field" series are made of hundreds of brush strokes, and, come to think of it, the single strokes sort of resemble blades of grass. In addition, there's a selection of the artist's organic wall sculptures that have dozens of tiny parts attached individually to the wall. Although many of these sculptures are from Michael's "Grid" series, the components are not arranged in a graph, but in a free-form pattern like a school of fish.

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The back-to-back Maker and Michael shows at Robischon, originally scheduled to close February 22, have been extended through March 1.

 
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