A really smart-looking show now on view at Pirate (3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058) has a very matter-of-fact title: New Work by Jimmy Sellars. Sellars is an associate member of the co-op, so his work would normally be found in the back of the gallery space, under the loft. But because of a last-minute cancellation, he was able to use the much bigger and better members' space in front. It's a testament to this emerging artist's abilities that he was able to effortlessly fill the larger space, and do so with a thoroughly cogent body of work
Sellars uses digital photography to create elegant, pseudo-figure studies focusing on G.I. Joe dolls in lieu of live models. The photos could almost be beefcake shots, if not for the fact that the subjects are made of plastic rather than flesh. The dolls, which are not anatomically accurate, are shown naked in a variety of homoerotic poses, both alone and in pairs, sort of like soft-core porn. The most amazing thing about these works is how easy it is to forget that the subjects are dolls, and instead read them as real men.
As you might expect, given the homoerotic approach here, Sellars is addressing his own gay identity. As a child, he would project his feelings on to his G.I. Joes and have the little soldiers act them out at his direction. In a way, that's the same thing he's doing with these figure studies at Pirate. While the idea of photographing naked dolls might seem like a one-liner, Sellars makes it much more. He gets as wide a range of images as he would using live models -- maybe more, because he has total control over his subjects.
With the holidays, there's just one day left to see New Work by Jimmy Sellars: the day it closes, December 26.