In an unlikely harmony are the two photos by Edie Winograde that are related to her interest in photographing historic re-creations, and one by Sean Rozales. In both cases, the artists are interested in deconstructing the Western image. In Winograde's case, it's the element of pretense; in Rozales's, it's the false antiquity of the computer print. Still, their pieces are clearly Western in character.  How transgressive of them.

Not to be left out, conceptual paintings and works on paper are also on display, with many artists now teaching at Metro clearly having a taste for juggling representational images with abstract ones. An example is "Tangled Garden," by Barbara Veatch, which combines realism with post-minimalism. Across the horizontally oriented panel are four vertical color fields. In each of the fields are representational images, including an insect wing and a cluster of twigs that are either incised or painted. It's really striking.

Susanne Mitchell's "The Visitors" combines photography and drawing in a gorgeous monotype. Using an exaggerated vertical leaf, Mitchell stacks the composition with various elements that need to be read separately because their details require a close inspection of the different parts.

“El Meso-Moderno Series #3,” by Carlos Frésquez, acrylic on canvas.
“El Meso-Moderno Series #3,” by Carlos Frésquez, acrylic on canvas.
“Nocturnal Directions,” by E. C. Cunningham, installation.
“Nocturnal Directions,” by E. C. Cunningham, installation.

Other pieces that take compatible approaches include Jeneve Parrish's "Portrait of James Pullen...," which merges constructivism, patterning and representation onto a single sheet, and Kay Tuttle's "Forest," in which broken fields of stale pastel colors are used to set off the severe linear depictions of trees that have been laid on top.

I'm not sure what to think of Carlos Frésquez's surrealist-inspired portrait "El Meso-Moderno Series #3," except to say that it's really something. Frésquez has centered an awkwardly proportioned, disjointed head-like shape on a heavily painted ground. The form seems to refer to Picasso, while the terra cotta color invokes the Mayans.

Other noteworthy pieces include Mark Brasuell's "Plains," a lyrical abstraction with a vibrant and at times metallic color scheme; Anna Kaye's remarkably meticulous "Afterglow," which could be a photo but is actually a drawing; and Sara Sanderson's compelling "Coral Nursery," another drawing that could also be a photo.

With more than forty artists in Collective Nouns, it's impossible for me to mention everyone. The exhibit is so vast that it provides something of a snapshot not only of what's happening now at Metro, but what's going on in town, too, since so many members of the faculty are practicing artists in Denver.

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