The stable of artists featured at Sandy Carson Gallery (760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585) work in a range of styles, but one stands out: magic realism. This painterly hybrid combines realism with surrealism, makes folk-art references, and is influenced by comic-book and children's-book illustrations. Distinctive variants of it are currently showcased in two exhibits installed together as one.
Placed throughout the gallery are three-dimensional pieces that make up Entering the Dream: The Figurative Sculpture of Caroline Douglas. A Boulder-based ceramics artist, Douglas has produced a group of lyrical if quirky sculptures depicting women. Her modeling is nicely done, and she gives the women beautiful faces and forms. There's a whiff of Asian ceramics to the glazing, which is the result of Douglas's using the age-old salt-firing method that produces softness at the margins as well as runs and streaks. Most of these sculptures are smallish, but a few are life-sized. For the larger works, Douglas built a metal armature in the form of a floor-length skirt decorated with ceramic birds, then placed a torso on top.
Covering the walls are the tremendously idiosyncratic pieces that make up Fantastical Paintings by Santiago Perez, which is the perfect companion to the Douglas show. Perez, a contemporary artist from New Mexico who used to live in Colorado, has been following his own path for over a decade. He began with contemporary takes on the religious imagery associated with his Mexican-American background, worked his way through medieval and Old Master paintings, and has now arrived at a stylistic phase that looks something like Hieronymus Bosch meets 1920s Coney Island. The most heroically wrought of the group is the genuinely gigantic "Moby Dick vs Quetzalcoatl Meet in Heaven for a Million Rounds" (pictured), which is covered with depictions of all manner of imaginary creatures.
I didn't plan on waiting until the eleventh hour to rave about this interwoven pair of solos, but it happened. That means you need to check out these shows as soon as possible: They officially close this Friday, April 27, though they'll most likely remain up through Saturday, April 28.