Artbeat

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

Andenken Gallery (2110 Market Street, 303-292-3281) is hosting its Fourth Annual Summer Group Show, which is made up of works from artists represented by the gallery and by those who rent the studios on the lower level. Though Lauri Lynnxe Murphy is the new director of Andenken, she inherited this show from her predecessor, Hyland Mather; her first effort will open next month. Though Mather is no longer the director, he still owns Andenken with his wife, Malia Tata, and his influence and presence are felt in this show right down to the inclusion of his own work -- cartoonish portraits that, at twenty bucks a pop, have been selling like hotcakes.

The exhibit has been sparsely installed, and the pieces barely cover the gallery's enormous spaces. The huge multi-part Xerox by J-Wade Billeisen, however, does hold its own in the vastness (because it's vast itself), hanging on the wall immediately to the left of the entry. Photocopy is coming on strong again after falling into disuse during the last decade. The vanguard style of the Billeisen is very compatible with the three color-field pieces by Sharon Smolinski and the killer geometric abstraction by James Morgan, "100,000,000 Walls Around Us" (above), that are hung in a row further down on the same wall.

Also in the show are works by Monica Petty Aiello and her husband, Tyler Aiello. Yes, the Aiellos are represented by Andenken rather than being fronted by their own Studio Aiello. Petty Aiello's pieces are pattern paintings made of cut paper covered in thick acrylic glazes, and Tyler Aiello does a fiber sculpture in which a thick cable of painted straw is draped from the ceiling by more painted straw.

Among the other attractions are the illuminated wall sculpture by Vincent Comparetto and the many neo-neo-expressionist paintings by C. Alan Ploegsma that are simultaneously childlike and surrealistic. Oh, and they're pretty darned good, too.

A new feature at Andenken is a gift shop called the Pod, which, like the gallery, is being run by Murphy. The shop will be open indefinitely, but the Fourth Annual Summer Group Show closes on September 4.

 
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