I don't put much stock in shows installed in non-art businesses, because they're typically thrown together and feature the work of hobbyist-artists. So it wasn't until I'd heard a lot of positive buzz about OBJECT + THOUGHT (3559 Larimer Street, 720-226-9196), the graphic-design firm that presents exhibitions in its lobby, that I decided to see it for myself. I was also drawn by the promise of the exhibit COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUS, because it includes work by several notable Denver artists. As I expected, it turned out to be great.
The handsome group effort was put together by + Gallery interns Brandy Whalen and Kendall Wilson. The budding curators borrowed pieces from + as well as Walker Fine Art, Robischon and Sandy Carson to create a show around the theme of the seven Denver artists who were recently included in New American Paintings, a national exhibition in print form. The co-curators did not always select the same pieces as those in the catalogue, but picked out different works by the chosen artists.
Kate Petley's "Woozy" is a revelation that represents the culmination of a series of changes the artist's style has undergone in the past couple of years. Her old work, typically done in juicy cast plastic in bright colors, was simple, whereas newer things like "Woozy," in mixed media on paper, are complicated and dark. Opposite are two of Colin Livingston's post-pop paintings, hypothetical examples of his made-to-order creations. Also noteworthy are two poured paintings by Quintín Gonzalez and two neo-cubist portraits by Lui Ferreyra. Well-done paintings by Jim Colbert, Eric Corrigan and Dana Costello (pictured) fill out the roster.
One reason this spot succeeds is the enthusiasm of the four designers -- Johnny Klein, Jason Otero, Rob Miller and Doug Ekstrand -- who run OBJECT + THOUGHT. Not only do they give over their front room to art shows, but they've surrendered a back room to artist-in-residence Paco Proano, who uses it as a studio.