August is typically a dead time in the Denver art world, so the Denver Art Dealers Association came up with DADA INTRODUCTIONS, a way for members to present shows by artists whose work has not previously been shown in town. Robischon Gallery (1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788) is just about the only place participating this year, and in the front galleries is TOM JUDD: Degrees of Perception, which showcases the work of an established Philadelphia-based artist.
Judd creates layered paintings that incorporate collage elements, including bits of wallpaper, old recipe cards and maps, with recognizable images drawn or scribbled on top. In "Queen Mary," for example, there's an ink drawing of the famous ocean liner with a yellow finch perched on a twig. The paper on which such images are done creates a secondary compositional element that lends some of the paintings an abstract, constructivist quality.
In addition to the DADA section, Robischon is presenting solos by two artists who are well known to local audiences. In the middle rooms is the economically titled Jerry Kunkel: new paintings, featuring nearly twenty oils by the Boulder artist, who's taught art at the University of Colorado for more than thirty years. These latest Kunkels have a retro mid-twentieth-century character. In "coffee first" (pictured), Kunkel fills the canvas with a meticulously rendered breakfast table crowded with food. The cup of coffee referenced in the title is placed in the foreground.
The second solo is the eponymous Jack Balas, which is handsomely installed in the back gallery. Balas, who lives in Berthoud, is interested in depicting handsome young men in everyday pursuits, such as going to the beach. There are lots of unfinished areas in his pieces that stand out against the other, highly finished parts. Balas also incorporates letters and numbers, giving the paintings a zippy, neo-pop appearance.
TOM JUDD, Jerry Kunkel and Jack Balas have been given shorter-than-usual runs; the three noteworthy and marvelously complementary shows all close this Saturday, September 2. So if you haven't seen them yet, you should do so immediately.