Paired with Dissection & Deregulation is William Stoehr: Masks & Mirrors, a major show of portraits installed in the large, double-height back gallery. Stoehr, who had worked for National Geographic on its worldwide mapping project for most of his career, turned to painting full-time just a few years ago. His works are nominally representational; in this case, he fills the canvases with enormous portraits of women's faces. However, his painterly techniques originate in abstraction, and his lively surfaces are covered in scuffs, rub-outs, smears and runs of pigment. To create his pieces, Stoehr uses charcoal and acrylic paint that he applies — or removes — with everything from brushes and sponges to sandpaper, steel wool, knives and rags.

The resulting paintings are dark and moody, with lots of black and metallic silver, which gives them an unusual luminosity, like moonlight, that's especially noticeable as they catch or absorb the light, depending on the color. The women's faces — one per panel — are cropped close so that their hair, especially on the tops of their heads, is cut out, making the features of their faces the dominant part of the pictures. Apparently, Stoehr begins with a drawing that he then covers with paint. In a few, he goes in again with charcoal in order to clarify the details of the portraits. Taken all together, the show is gorgeous and stopped me in my tracks as I entered the back gallery at Space.

"Blue Billow," by Virginia Maitland, acrylic on canvas.
"Blue Billow," by Virginia Maitland, acrylic on canvas.
"Stripper I," by Lewis McInnis, oil on canvas.
"Stripper I," by Lewis McInnis, oil on canvas.

Location Info

Map

Sandra Phillips Gallery

420 W. 12th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver

Space Gallery

400 Santa Fe Dr.
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver

Details

Through September 24, Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-5969, www.thesandraphillipsgallery.com.Through September 10, Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, http://spacegallery.org.

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The high temperatures in recent days hardly hint at the seasonal changes to come, but come they will. So before the fall attractions start, cool off in the air-conditioned glory of these shows, the last of the art world's summer treats, at Sandra Phillips and Space.

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