The Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173) is just coming off a recent bout with censorship. As reported in Westword (Off Limits, October 9), the Denver Civic Theatre requested that Edge remove a photo from its show hanging in the theater's lobby. The photo depicts two men kissing, with the poses of their nude figures based on a famous Rodin sculpture.
The photo, part of a John Davenport series, is very demure, with no visible genitalia. The same cannot be said of the Puppetry of the Penis "play" -- if that's what you'd call it -- at the DCT. Now, honestly, the censorship of the Davenport isn't so much irksome as it is funny. The DCT obviously didn't want the Penis performance, in which two guys manipulate their cranks, to seem too gay. On the other hand, Edge got what it deserved. Did the Edge-sters really expect to be treated respectfully by the New Yorkers who run the DCT and whose idea of theater is Puppetry of the Penis?
Better thought out is the fare at Edge itself. In the front space is Dirty Bird: Leaving Behind the Past, which features beautiful paintings and prints by Mark Brasuell. Despite the implication of the title, Brasuell's work has not undergone a radical shift. Instead, he was referring to his emotional state when he painted the colorful abstracts (above), which are clearly an orderly continuation of the sort of work he's done over the last decade or so.
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In the center space is the weird -- if not unexpected, considering the source -- ORNA-Mental 2, which highlights the recent paintings of Edge founder Ken (Raoul) Peterson. I have to admit that I have a hard time understanding what Peterson's trying to do with his limited palette of deadly dark shades and awkward draftsmanship, but I think he's getting closer than he ever has.
In Edge's back room is Mixing Memory and Desire, composed of Bonnie Garcia's paintings. The abstract-expressionist works sport a creamy palette of dusty tones, and all have wonderfully active surfaces that look as though Garcia applied the paint with a trowel.
The shows at Edge, Dirty Bird, ORNA-Mental 2 and Mixing Memory and Desire, all close on November 2.