The current Barbara Carpenter solo in the east room at Spark Gallery (900 Santa Fe Drive, 720-889-2200) is called Scapes, and considering the artist's established track record, it's something of a surprise. For nearly twenty years, Carpenter has been known for her abstract color photos, but for Scapes, she did landscapes.
It turns out that when Carpenter started as a fine-art photographer in the 1980s, she wanted to do classic black-and-white landscape photos like her teacher and mentor, the late Ron Wohlauer. But then she was paired in a show with another photographer doing that kind of thing, and in order for her work to stand out, she did color abstracts instead. She has been doing those for over a decade and is only now beginning to veer away from that approach.
A few of these landscape photos link up with Carpenter's signature sensibility, especially "Borrego Abstract #1" (pictured), which has an ambiguous subject that is, in fact, a close-up of a tree. Most of the others, though, have a more traditional composition, with the mountains and canyons being clearly — and picturesquely — laid out. Being a dyed-in-the-wool colorist, Carpenter takes an interest in the exceptional hues created by sunrises, sunsets and rainbows.
In Spark's west room, Patricia Aaron installed her solo, Sky - Sea, which is made up of two large wall sculptures and a handful of pieces on paper. All of the work was created by Aaron during her residency last year at the famous Anderson Ranch in Snowmass. The pieces are made from hollow metal bars hung horizontally in stacks, which suggests the flatness of the sea, but the colors — white, gray, silver — could also suggest snow. That would make sense considering the Snowmass setting, though Aaron was there during the summer.
A closing reception with the artists is slated for Sunday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Spark.