Sketches

Brief reviews of current shows

Andy Warhol's Dream America. Hot on the heels of its smash hit, Chihuly, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is presenting yet another blockbuster devoted to the work of a household name in contemporary art: Andy Warhol's Dream America. The exhibition was curated by Ben Mitchell of Wyoming's Nicolaysen Museum. The more than 100 prints -- on loan from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation -- survey the pop pioneer's career from the late '60s to 1986, the year before he died. There are many iconic Warhol images included, such as his depictions of soup cans, shoes, Marilyn, Jackie and Mao. More than any other pop artist of his generation, Warhol anticipated the art of today by working not only in traditional media, such as the prints in this show, but also in film and performance. As an added bonus, the CSFAC is also presenting Ron Brasch Collection of Contemporary Art, which includes prints, paintings and sculptures by some of the biggest names in art of the past fifty years. Brasch through October 16, Warhol through December 31 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.

Full and PLANNING.ABSTRACT. Denver painter Bruce Price is clearly Colorado's preeminent post-minimalist, as proved by the recent batch of fabulous creations in FULL: New Paintings by Bruce Price. These paintings, though clearly a continuation of Price's past efforts, are also completely new-looking and very different conceptually. A protegé of the great Clark Richert, Price has taken his mentor's concepts and turned them inside out. In the past few years, for instance, Price has become intensely interested in theories about decoration and ornamentation, things that Richert is pointedly not interested in. Seizing on the potential of decoration to convey pictorial content, Price lays one pattern next to another so that they seem to collide or overlap. And though Price's patterns sometimes look flat, at other times they seem to be covering three-dimensional space, giving his paintings a strange, if compelling, visual effect. Price's FULL is being presented with PLANNING.ABSTRACT: New Paintings by Jared Latimer. These abstracts concern the idea of conflict, combining organic passages with geometric elements. Through October 8 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.

Metro Effect. Metropolitan State College of Denver is celebrating its fortieth anniversary, and in honor of that milestone, the Center for Visual Art is presenting a juried show of works by Metro alumni. A committee made up of former CVA director Kathy Andrews, art-department chair Greg Watts and art professor Yuko Yagisawa selected the 26 artists included. As could be expected from a commuter school like Metro, most still live in the area. What is unexpected is that some of them have emerged as major figures in the local art scene. This is surely true of Phil Bender, whose appearance in this show reminds everyone that Pirate, one of the city's oldest co-ops, was a spinoff of Metro's art department. Other artists familiar to Denver art audiences include Carlos Frésquez, Mark Friday, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, Elaine Ricklin, Dave Seiler and Bill Starke. There are also those who left town to seek their fame and fortune elsewhere -- notably Shaun Acton, who is now in New York. More than anything else, the show reveals Metro's significance to the life of the art scene in the Mile High City and beyond. Through October 29 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207.

Revealing the Muse and Colorado Innovators. Hugh Grant, founder and director of the Kirkland Museum on Capitol Hill, curated both Revealing the Muse and Colorado Innovators both at the Lakewood Heritage Center using pieces borrowed from his institution's permanent collection. The Kirkland Museum has an impressive assemblage that includes paintings by Kirkland himself, work by other Colorado artists and an extensive group of decorative arts. Colorado Innovators provides a survey of mid-twentieth-century artists working in Denver. Most of the objects included have either never been exhibited or haven't been seen in living memory. Revealing the Muse is a Vance Kirkland retrospective that begins with his work from the 1930s and ends with pieces done right before his death in 1981. I think it could be argued that surrealism was Kirkland's most important influence, and one of his most important innovations was the mixing of oil paint and water poured onto the surfaces of his pieces. Beginning in the 1950s, this mixture led to some of his greatest paintings ever. Through February 10 at the Radius Gallery, Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 South Yarrow Street, Lakewood, 303-987-7850. Reviewed September 8.

Rococo. Longtime Edge-ster Mark Brasuell is presenting a body of new works at the co-op that take the form of mixed-media paintings, some sporting collage elements. To some extent these pieces, in which he mixes issues related to his own biography with the notions of formalist abstraction, represent a continuation of the kind of work he's done over the last fifteen years. However, they also seem to be striking out on something of a new path for him since he has incorporated representational -- or at least semi-representational -- imagery of plants, birds and animals. These images are created using antique stencils and cut-up pieces of a how-to-draw book that Brasuell has had since he was a teenager. Brasuell also incorporated script into the pieces, using the content of actual letters he has received. As usual, the use of strong colors in striking contrasts is an important aspect of these works. These elements -- abstraction, representation, script and color -- inspired the show's title, Rococo, a more-is-more European style that pushed the excesses of Baroque, the previous style, to the breaking point. Through October 9 at the Edge Gallery, 3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173.

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