Artbeat

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

It's no secret that the alternative scene in Denver has been pretty flat for the past couple of years. But it looks as though Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173), an artists' cooperative, is forging a path out of these woods. Since the beginning of the season last fall, Edge has presented several good shows, including the three choice solos now filling the place.

In the front space is sneak and peak, in which artist Susan Berkley addresses the Patriot Act through cool abstract paintings and funky box sculptures. The paintings steal the show -- especially those pop-y takes on the American flag. Although Berkley intended these as protest pieces, they're very painterly, which prevents the politics from overwhelming the pigments.

There's an outrageous show called Truth and Temperance installed in the middle space. Here, ceramics by Mary Cay are used to advocate for drug use. "It's part of my Libertarian politics," says Cay, who points out that the elements that make up each of her wall-mounted installations can be taken down and used as a bong. Another installation, this one depicting obscene-looking mushroom plaques, shows off Cay's skill at glazing. The painted plaques are decorated with jewel-like glaze spatters that have been harvested from the walls and floors of kilns -- a very wild thing to do.

In the back room is another provocative ceramics show. Post Computer Heads is made up of busts and wall masks by emerging artist Ted Fish, who was one of Cay's former students. The busts are closely related in appearance, and both the modeling and the glaze effects are similar on all of them. In some, like "Beyond Endurance" (above), shards of pre-fired vessels have been incorporated into the busts to suggest mouths, noses, eyes and ears, which is rather unusual.

In conjunction with these three shows, Edge will present a concert of experimental music by Conrad Kehn on Friday, February 20, at 7 p.m. Sneak and peak, Truth and Temperance and Post Computer Heads will all close on Sunday, February 22.

 
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