Artbeat

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

The Cordell Taylor Gallery (2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927) was originally situated in Salt Lake City; it moved to Denver in 2001. The gallery maintains a Salt Lake connection, though, and from time to time pairs artists from the two cities. That's exactly what's happening now with sight unseen, an exhibit of works by Denver's Nicholas Silici and Salt Lake's Frank McEntire.

These pairings inevitably encourage comparisons, and it's funny, because the Denver pieces seem to always look just right for Denver, while the Salt Lake pieces look right for Salt Lake. This particular duo represents a very odd match; it's safe to say that the work of each artist has nothing to do with that of the other, which is probably why the show is installed so that each has a discretely defined space, with Silici's art up front and McEntire's in the back.

The Silicis represent a continuation of the kind of work this artist has been doing over the past several years. The paintings are neo-minimalist in style, and each sports a horizontal line defining a pair of vertically stacked color fields that, obliquely, at least, suggest the landscape. Though they are very simple and have very little going on composition-wise, what is going on is more than enough to pull them off.

Silici uses a novel technique here. The ground is formed by a skim-coat of fine-grained concrete that's painted with oil and dry pigments. As a last step, he seals it with glossy polyurethane.

The Silici part of the show is very elegant, especially the black and green-gray triptych on the wall facing the entrance. So as you proceed to the McEntire section, you might want to take a deep breath, because it is anything but elegant. "Funky" might be a better description for McEntire's work, a typical example of which is "Vendora" (above), a beat-up Mexican vending machine filled with religious symbols.

Sight unseen, Cordell Taylor's absurd pairing of cool Denver paintings with clunky Salt Lake assemblages, closes on July 19.

 
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