Artbeat

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

The other day, Jim Peterson, who runs DEN Gallery (757 1/2 Santa Fe Drive, 303-507-6100), called to me from across the street. Ordinarily, this would annoy me. But if he hadn't, I wouldn't have known that DEN was open, because the chief access to it is through Space Gallery, which was closed. Peterson showed me a different way to get in: through a narrow pedestrian alley running along the south side of 757 Studio, which sounds like a gallery but is actually a tattoo parlor.

Another reason I didn't mind Peterson buttonholing me was that I had previously told him to let me know when the Jim Foster solo, the color of money, went up, and it just had. Foster is best known for his sculptures -- and there are a few of those in the show -- but he also does abstract painting, as evidenced by the exhibit's title piece, "the color of money," in ink on canvas (right).

Peterson also let me into Space Gallery (765 Santa Fe, 720-904-1088) so I could see Open Juried Show, which features works selected by Space director Michael Burnett and Robin Rule, owner of Rule Gallery.

With Burnett moonlighting as an abstract painter and Rule running a mostly abstract operation, it's hardly surprising to find abstraction dominating the Open Juried Show. What is surprising, though, is how good so many of their discoveries are.

Except for Conor King and Lui Ferreyra, upstarts themselves, the artists in this exhibit are brand-new to me. Notice the cool unfinished-looking compositions by Janene Vandenberg, the shiny neo-abstract expressionist panels by Jen Omaitz, the dense arrangement of scribbly forms by Kari Lennartson and the lyrically retro pieces by Alix Evendorff.

Abstraction predominates in Burnett and Rule's selections, but there are other things worth noting, including the aforementioned King and Ferreyra, both of whom have done portraits; some meticulously finished photographic inkjet prints of toys in closeups by C. Chamberlin; and Felix Tannebaum's green-painted board with a line of little cartoons on it.

Both the Foster show at DEN and the Open Juried Show at Space close on July 9.

 
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