Artbeat

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

There's an interesting sculpture show now at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis (3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058) called Sanctuaries. The abstract wall and floor works by Craig Robb are made of steel, wood and plastic. Some include recognizable things, such as tiny chairs and houses, but the best ones are completely non-objective. A compelling aspect here is movement: Several of these pieces rock, while others have swinging parts.

Sensitive viewers might want to skip the untitled show by the artist known as Orpheus, which is crammed into the Associates' Space in the back. First, it's installed storage-shed style; second, the paintings and watercolors in it are dreadful. They fall into three distinct categories: hideous, vulgar and, finally, hideous and vulgar.

In Cache, an independent co-op within Pirate, there's a quirky and whimsical presentation called Favorite Places, featuring recent work by Marie Frances Quinn. In what can only be called Catholic-school cursive, Quinn has written across the floor a breezy essay about her favorite places. On white-painted stands scattered around the room are small constructions made of metal that depict these places. The little towers, the bed and the carousel are as much like jewelry as they are like sculptures.

Across the street at the Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173) is Elements, a photo solo dedicated to Susan Goldstein's recent efforts. Goldstein began by taking photos with a toy "Diana" camera. Then she made silver-gelatin prints of the images. Next, she incorporated collage materials. Finally, she scanned them into a computer printer and created pigment prints from the digitized images. The results are fairly abstract, such as "Enclosure" (above), but if you look closely, you can tell it's a plant. Some of the Goldstein's prints have been mounted on aluminum, including the gigantic "Architecture of the Mind," which is made up of fourteen panels.

One notable feature of Elements is the highly organized way in which it has been installed: The pieces are arranged to pointedly create an overall constructivist design. It struck me as a more formal approach than I'd expect from Goldstein, who is often informal in her exhibition installations.

The shows at Pirate and Edge close on Sunday, May 22.

 
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