Artbeat

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

Last year, the Andenken Gallery (2110 Market Street, 303-332-5582) had a short-lived branch called the Andenken Annex. Situated in the swanky SteelBridge Lofts, the little spot specialized in the work of young artists. Despite its brief run, it cast a long shadow, and though gone, it lives on in Annex Highlights, now at Andenken.

Many people were involved in the Annex -- Hyland Mather, Warren Kelly, Jason Miracle -- but as far as I could tell, it was really a one-man gig, and that one man was Jason Patz. Typically, Patz wrote the releases, mailed out invitations, installed the shows, mopped the floor, ran the openings and then cleaned up afterward. That's why I always thought of it as Jason Patz's Annex, which makes me want to call this exhibit Jason Patz's Annex Highlights.

But Patz isn't in only the background in this show; he's up front with his fabulous experimental photographs. These new color self-portraits done in C-prints represent a big stylistic leap forward for the hot emerging artist. The shots were taken by Patz aiming a 35mm camera at himself from an arm's length, which allowed him to capitalize on the strong architectural lines of his own face. And although the photos are a mere sixteen by twenty inches, with the images only slightly larger than life, they nonetheless have a monumental character, as seen in "Self, #1-16" (above).

Patz is joined in this show by most of the youngsters who exhibited at the Annex during its brief heyday. Truth be told, some of the work isn't very good, and some is downright terrible, but Patz's photos aren't the only noteworthy standouts. James Morgan's geometric paintings are very interesting and well done. Colin Livingston's zippy neo-pop confections are quite funny and intelligent. And Joseph Shaeffer's contraptions made with magnets are strangely compelling and almost unbelievable.

Jason Patz's Annex Highlights -- oops, I mean Annex Highlights-- is scheduled to run at the Andenken Gallery through March 29.

 
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