Sketches

Brief reviews of current shows

Iswaswillbe. Though the Mizel Center is a Jewish institution, the Singer Gallery showcases both Jewish and non-Jewish artists. Right now it's featuring Iswaswillbe, a solo of work by Geoffrey Laurence, a Jewish artist from New Mexico. The title painting depicts a robust SS officer in full Nazi regalia with his arm around a skeleton wearing a prayer shawl. It's the kind of thing only a Jewish artist could do -- and only a Jewish institution could display. And in a predictable irony, a Jewish institution is also where the people most apt to be offended by it would be -- and some have been offended and complained. It's apparent, however, that this painting and lots of others in the show are actually anti-war comments. These paintings and drawings by Laurence are meticulously crafted and obviously filled with content. Through December 30 at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-316-6360.

Patti Cramer. Artist Patti Cramer is a Denver icon. The Westword contributor has been the subject of innumerable solos over the past twenty years, and her work is in many collections in the region. In the past few years Cramer has kept a lower than usual profile, making the self-titled Patti Cramer at Open Press LTD a rare opportunity to see what she's been up to lately. The show includes paintings, monotypes and etchings, the latter two mediums being created at Open Press, which is more of a printmaking facility than a gallery. Cramer's signature pieces look like a cross between Old Master paintings and New Yorker cartoons. Cramer's world is made up of fashionable people socializing in restaurants and out on the sidewalks. There are also portraits and landscapes, as well as her characteristic depictions of horses, which are linear and are more abstract than any of her other subjects. Though the Open Press exhibition space is fairly small, Patti Cramer is a large show of nearly fifty pieces. Through December 10 at Open Press LTD, 40 West Bayaud Street, 303-778-1116. Reviewed on October 27.

Wyoming Expeditions. Gallery Roach is named for the late Otto Roach, a prominent commercial photographer in mid-twentieth century Denver. His lab, Roach Photography, earned a fine reputation for photo finishing. Dutch Walla, who became Roach's associate more than fifty years ago, now owns both the gallery and the lab. Wyoming Expeditions features Roach's photos of Wyoming done between the 1940s and 1960s. They're done in black and white, with Roach capturing many famous scenes, including such remarkable Yellowstone National Park subjects as the surrealistic Jupiter Terrace and the majestic falls at Yellowstone's Grand Canyon. Roach repeatedly visited nearby Wyoming to take photos, so he was able to supplement the well-known Yellowstone attractions with shots of unknown backcountry views. Surely the standout is a gigantic mural measuring seven feet by ten feet. And if the tremendous size of the photomural were not enough of an accomplishment, the entire thing has been hand-tinted! Through January 27 at Gallery Roach, 860 Broadway, 303-839-5202.

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