Artbeat

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

The spacious if grungy Andenken Gallery (2110 Market Street, 303-292-3281) near Coors Field is the perfect setting for the fourth annual Kinetic and Robot Show, which highlights art about actual and implied movement. Put together by Andenken director Hyland Mather, the exhibit is quite strange, mostly because the selections don't come together as a group. This lack of internal unity is a real shame, because almost everything in the show is pretty interesting.

As a result, the exhibit winds up being comprehensible only when viewed as several separate fragments rather than as a single entity. The first of these portions comprises motorized sculptures made of steel; the second is a collection of abstract paintings; the third is an installation of balloons; the last consists of a single, formalist sculpture.

In the first section, a mechanized piece by Joseph Riché incorporates a suspended fiberglass deer's head and some stag horns. Another moving sculpture is "Transistor-Mute," by Zach Smith, a wall-hung work that features a lever activated by a foot pedal. As usual for Smith, his piece is exquisitely crafted and looks very elegant even when it's not moving. Other standouts among the machine creations are two nice ones by a promising young upstart, Paul Norton.

The second show fragment is made up of paintings. These include pattern pieces by Kelly Newcomer -- completely unrelated to anything else here but good nonetheless -- and several by Richel Martinez that only relate to the show because they depict robots.

Next comes the installation of a bunch of bouncing balloon sculptures by Harry Walters and Paola Ochoa (detail above). These balloon pieces, which are pretty engaging, overwhelm everything else and should have been given their own dedicated space separate from the rest of the displays.

The last part is a single, emblematic Robert Mangold sculpture, which stands alone in the middle of the floor. The Mangold, one of his PTTSAES, isn't kinetic, but it could have carried the whole show all by itself, anyway.

The uneven, incoherent yet somehow enjoyable Kinetic and Robot Show at the Andenken Gallery closes on April 30.

 
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