Artbeat

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

The Space Gallery (765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088) is presenting a group show, Embody, that features three emerging Denver artists, all of whom do representational paintings based on the figure.

The show begins with portraits and self-portraits from two series by Jason Blamey. In the front are four monumental pieces done in serigraphy; in the back are four that are conventionally painted. The ones up front, which are newer, are better, and I think "Self #7" (above), in which the details of Blamey's face have been reduced into a series of dashes and dots, is one of the genuine standouts in the show.

Across from the Blameys are some large-scale paintings of nudes by Kirk Robinson. Space director Michael Burnett connects Robinson's style to that of the artist's friend, Stefan Kleinschuster, and his point is well taken. There is something of a relationship between the two, but the manner of Robinson's brushwork -- sort of a quick sketch using wide swaths of pigment -- is entirely different from Kleinschuster's heavily impastoed surfaces.

The last artist, Laurel McMechan, is given her own small gallery toward the back. Her paintings are pretty strange, and the surrealistic take on the female nude doesn't quite work. The proportions are wrong, and though that might be intentional, it's still unsuccessful.

As a counterpoint to Embody, director Burnett is also presenting a small solo devoted to the abstract paintings of emerging artist Ryan Anderson. The works are done in poured automotive lacquers on wooden panels, and they are absolutely gorgeous. Anderson has a background in ceramics, and he uses paints like glazes to get his incredible glass-like surfaces. His color combinations are great, too, with a typical pairing having a light-colored iridescent field accented with tiny blobs of strong contrasting shades. There are no paintings in the Museum of Contemporary Art's current exhibit, 2005 Biennial BLOW OUT, and there really should have been. I nominate these Andersons as being the perfect pieces to fill that void.

Embody at Space -- along with the untitled Anderson chaser -- closes this Saturday, August 20.

 
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