Oh, it has been a scorcher lately, hasn't it? That's why it strikes me as being extremely counterintuitive for Ironton Gallery (3636 Chestnut Place, 303-297-8626) to be doing Glacial right now, an exhibit organized around a wintry theme. Then again, Glacial may be about the cold, but it's definitely hot.
Glacialpairs the work of sculptor Timothy Berg with that of painter Bob Koons. It has been installed very well, with Berg's sculptures arranged throughout the two-part space and on the walls, and Koons' pieces filling out the rest of the wall space. Berg, who is principally a ceramic artist, is relatively young, although his career is pretty mature, as evidenced by the fact that his part of Glacial debuted in Manhattan earlier this summer at a show sponsored by the prestigious Garth Clark Gallery.
His pieces include several large penguin sculptures that are strikingly finished in powdery-pink paint on white iceberg-shaped bases. The forms of the penguins were simplified to give them sleek, streamlined appearances. Broadly connected thematically is the four-part wall relief that captures a popsicle being eaten. The piece has a pop feeling, not only in terms of the low-brow subject, but also in Berg's use of commercial-looking colors — in this case, orange and white.
The new paintings by Koons are very strange, though they do relate to his earlier work in which he translated Old Master landscapes into digitally inspired abstractions. For the paintings in Glacial, Koons turned the white of the snow and ice into animal markings. There are leopard spots in "leopardtanica" (pictured), which is a depiction of a floating iceberg, revealing its profile both above and below the waterline running across the top third of the picture. The idea behind paintings like this is that one day the Arctic will be the only wilderness left and these spotted bits of frozen topography will be the only reminders of the animal kingdom.
There's only a little over a week left to catch Glacial at Ironton, a genuinely cool summer treat.