Saito's work is unusual. He takes things found in nature — roots, branches, rocks — and then casts them in bronze so that their most obscure details are preserved. This leads to hyper-realist renditions based on the original materials. But here's where the interesting part comes in: Although these works are super-realistic, Saito isn't a realist but a conceptual artist, and his pieces look more like abstraction, or even minimalism.

This aesthetic can be seen in "Riprap," which was partly inspired by a 1959 Beat poem written by Gary Snyder. Saito, who grew up in Japan, was first exposed to the Beats when he read Jack Kerouac's On the Road as a teenager, but he only became aware of Snyder after moving to California. The word "riprap" refers to rocks used to control erosion. The installation "Riprap" was created right after Saito moved to Colorado six years ago as a way of connecting with his new home. He gathered stones and then cast them in bronze, finishing them in a rich brown patina that looks like the color of some rocks. The rocks are arranged in a grid that's three feet high and twenty feet long. I loved it.

Connor is famous for her photographs of sacred places around the world. Her classic work was done in large-format contact prints, but with the bankruptcy of Kodak, the photo-sensitive paper she used is no longer available, so she, like just about everyone else, has switched to digital printing. The Connor photos in Growth & Gravity record the rugged landscape. Some are set in exotic locales like India and Zimbabwe, but most are in the American West, including Colorado. The compositions are classic and recall the work of nineteenth-century photographers. But the presentation is very contemporary, with the photos left unframed and held to the wall by a magnet system, along with a couple that have been printed on gauzy silk and hung from rods with exuberant finials in bronze made by Saito.

Detail of "It's Go Time," by Ryan Anderson, mixed media on panel.
Detail of "It's Go Time," by Ryan Anderson, mixed media on panel.
"I-25 Mambo," by Yoshitomo Saito, bronze cast from nature.
"I-25 Mambo," by Yoshitomo Saito, bronze cast from nature.

Location Info

Map

Space Gallery

400 Santa Fe Dr.
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver

Goodwin Fine Art

1255 Delaware Street
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver

Details

Paul Ecke, Ryan Anderson, Buff EltingThrough April 7, Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, www.spacegallery.org.Growth & GravityThrough March 17, Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street, 303-573-1255, www.goodwinfineart.com.

Goodwin Fine Art is relatively new, having just celebrated its first anniversary this month, but with shows like Growth & Gravity, it's apparently becoming an important spot that's worth regularly checking out.

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