By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
The pieces at Robischon are of this type. The "Lotus Series" suite includes ten inkjet pigment prints, all with photogravure. There are also two pieces from "The Lotus Bed" series. Each has an image of a lotus flower, a potent and ubiquitous symbol in China. The suite and the additional pieces were printed by master printer Bill Goldston of Universal Limited Art Editions, an outfit Rauschenberg was associated with for decades. And they will be the last, since the artist died last year shortly after they were completed.
For these works, Rauschenberg assembled photos of China that he took during trips there in the 1980s. The images of the photos have been arranged in constructivist patterns establishing both strong horizontal and vertical divisions. There are some overlapping images, but for the most part, Rauschenberg simply laid the photographic images side by side and top to bottom. A few are picturesque, with romantic images of classic Chinese scenes, like lily ponds and old temples. But others show the distinctly different mood of modernizing China, like "Lotus II," with the lotus blossom floating over a pair of new tires; it is pure Rauschenberg. There's both a free-associational quality to the selection of the images and an underlying narrative about change in China.
Robischon has paired the exhibit with a small group show called China: A New Year, which is dedicated to contemporary Chinese artists. The gallery has been a national leader in promoting new art from China during the past several years.
The viewing room is fairly small, but the exhibit is rich in content, with the work of no fewer than five different artists, a couple of whom are represented by monumental pieces. Xiong Lijun is responsible for a pair of large oil and acrylic paintings that feature garishly toned-up colors and a style that comes out of both pop art and animation. This same stylistic combination is seen in "Miss L" and "Mr. W," oversized figures in fiberglass by Yu Fan. The male and female figures are childlike adults that are gaunt and attenuated. Adding a somewhat edgy element, they are nude below the waist, with anatomically accurate detailing.
The offerings at Robischon, which have another week in their runs, are definitely worthwhile, but the Rauschenberg show is more than that. It's an important exhibit that's definitely one of the top attractions in the Denver art world right now.