American Dreams

Two shows highlight conceptual realism.

In addition to a wonderful selection of these prints, Deborah Oropallo includes a gorgeous tapestry, "George," that was based on one of the "Guise" prints and then digitized and sent to Italy (e-mailed?) and put through a computerized weaver.

Wes Hempel, ensconced in the small space off to the side of the gallery, is made up of only one piece, but it is also an incredible weaving. "Late Call" depicts in great detail a young standing man talking on a cell phone and checking his watch, with a mural of the drama-filled ascension of Christ unfolding behind him.

Across from the Hempel tapestry is Anne Connell, made up of eight tiny paintings of enigmatic subjects, typically patterns suggestive of painted decorations or wallpaper designs. Connell, who has studied extensively in Italy, embraces many age-old techniques associated with that country, including pastiglia, in which surfaces are built up with gesso, as well as gilding, in which she covers parts of her paintings with gold leaf.

"Lenin, Washington, Duchamp and Duncan," by Komar and Melamid, tempera and oil on canvas.
"Lenin, Washington, Duchamp and Duncan," by Komar and Melamid, tempera and oil on canvas.
"Napoleon," by Deborah Oropallo, pigmented digital print.
"Napoleon," by Deborah Oropallo, pigmented digital print.

Details

Through November 11, Singer Gallery, Mizel Center, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-316-6360, www.maccjcc.org.Through October 20, Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com.

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In the back space is an informal group show made up of selected works by Gary Emrich, Stephen Batura and Christl Lidl, as well as "George," a portrait of George Washington with his head on fire, by Jack Balas and Wes Hempel.

And that, of course, brings me back to Komar and Melamid and their obsession with Washington. See, I told you the shows at Singer and Robischon functioned collectively like a mini-blockbuster, even starting and ending on the same note.

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