Sketches

Brief reviews of current shows

(REAL): Photographic Constructs. An important show at the Center for Visual Art, being co-sponsored by the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, (REAL): Photographic Constructs was put together by CVA director Jennifer Garner and assistant director Cecily Cullen. The co-curators selected eight artists pushing photography to the breaking point. The exhibit, which includes local talents as well as others from across the country, has been perfectly installed. It's essentially a series of individual presentations unfolding one after another. Among the standouts are the digital prints on Kool-Aid packets by Jon Rietfors; the flat still life shots made 3-D in black-and-white photos by Zeke Berman; the installation of hinged wooden boxes incorporating photos by Gwen Laine; the sci-fi style multi-media piece with light bulbs, wire, jars and digital images of trees by David Zimmer; and the digitally altered suburban psychodramas done in richly colored c-prints by Gregory Crewdsom. There are also marvelous things by Susan Harbage Page, Bruce Charlesworth, and Meridel Rubenstein. Through February 23, Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207. Reviewed January 18.

60 Years of Colorado Modernism, et al. Among the specialties of the Kirkland Museum in Capitol Hill is art made in Colorado -- in particular, modern art, which makes sense, because the late Vance Kirkland, for whom the museum is named, was Denver's premier mid-century modernist. The current exhibit, 60 Years of Colorado Modernism, put together by director and founder Hugh Grant, ambles through the two-story facility, with pieces culled from the museum's extensive collection, including examples by Kirkland himself along with the work of Herbert Bayer, Al Wynne, Robert Mangold, Beverly Rosen, Martha Daniels, Betty Woodman and more. Another specialty of the Kirkland is design and decor, and the other show there, From Framing to Furnishing, highlights architects' work owned by the Kirkland. This show, too, runs throughout the museum, with pieces indicated by special blue tags. Creations by legendary designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Hoffman, Donald Deskey, Gio Ponti and scores of others are featured. Through March 4 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576. Reviewed December 21.

Weekend in So Show. Making a striking aesthetic statement is not of paramount importance to Liam Gillick in Weekend in So Show, now at the still-nascent Laboratory for Art and Ideas at Belmar (aka the Lab). Gillick is more interested in telling some kind of story about politics, society and culture, and he uses language along with visual elements to do it. Gillick emerged in the 1990s as part of a generation of artists showing in London dubbed the "YBAs," which stands for Young British Artists. Lab director Adam Lerner invited Gillick to come to Belmar as a visiting artist. While in residence there, he worked with around a dozen students from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which is also in Lakewood. Despite this seeming collaboration, the resulting piece is signature Gillick, right down to the miles of wall text and the elegantly simple three-dimensional elements that recall the work of Donald Judd. Gillick used a documentary made by agitprop collective the Medvedkine Group about a strike in France as the starting point for his intriguing installation about rising expectations. Through April 1 at the Lab at Belmar, 404 South Upham Street, 303-934-1777. Reviewed February 15.

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