Earth/Water at the Sandra Phillips Gallery

Despite its intimate — read "tiny" — space, the Sandra Phillips Gallery (744 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-5969, www.thesandraphillipsgallery.com) has big ambitions. Owner Sandra Phillips has relentlessly filled the place with something worth seeing, often turning to established talents and zeroing in on those who only rarely exhibit their work.

Such is the case with Earth/Water, an imaginative duet pairing paintings by Amy Lee Solomon and ceramics by Chandler Romeo. The title refers to an important issue in the West, and the Western landscape is the starting point for both artists.

Solomon, whose art has been presented over the decades at various galleries and museums in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico, was originally trained in architecture, and currently works for an architectural firm. Strangely enough, her paintings are decidedly not architectonic in character but rather have an all-over abstract-expressionist quality with a recognizable subject emerging out of the mass of freely done brushstrokes. In "Wind Over Water" (pictured), Solomon uses little more than smears of color and scribbled lines to suggest a lake surrounded by woods. It has a marvelous sense of spontaneity and, at the same time, coherently conveys the familiar mountain scenery.

Romeo is a major figure in the local art world who, along with husband Reed Weimer, owns the buildings that house a number of alternative spaces, including Pirate, Next, Edge and Zip 37. She has pieces in many private and public collections and works in a wide range of mediums. In this exhibit, she's represented by small tabletop ceramic sculptures and somewhat larger multi-part wall panels that are also made of clay. In these ceramics, Romeo takes up the topic of the land as altered by human activity, and this is especially easy to see in the wall-hung pieces, which resemble mosaics of plowed fields.

Earth/Water runs through July 18.

 
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