In the space once occupied by the now-gone and nearly forgotten ILK co-op, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, who was once that group's director, has opened her own art business, Pod & Capsule (554 Santa Fe Drive, 303-623-3460). Pod is a funky boutique that offers affordable artist-made objects, while Capsule is a small gallery that highlights cutting-edge contemporary art.

As part of Denver's Month of Photography, Capsule is featuring Mes Petits Amis (My Little Friends), a solo featuring experimental images by emerging artist Katie Taft. "I think she's a hot, young up-and-coming artist," Murphy says. And though this kind of promotional talk is commonly thrown around, I agree with her in this case.

Taft has exhibited in the area only for the past year or so, but she's really gotten around in that short time. Her work first gained a wide local audience when it was included in last summer's wildly popular Repeat Offenders exhibit presented at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture. Taft was one of three youngsters -- the other two being painter Brandon Borchert and fellow photographer Jason Patz -- who together absolutely stole that show.

As in the Mizel show, Taft's photos at Capsule depict imaginary animals. A typical example is the little Hello Kitty-like creature seen in "Hulk" (above). Despite the cartoonish character of the figures, which Taft sculpted, the photos have a minimalist quality. Taft created graduated color-field backgrounds, which in the case of "Hulk" goes from green to gray in a smooth transition. Her use of light and shadow and her unerring sense for composition are also great strengths.

In addition to the photos, Taft has done T-shirts emblazoned with the image of a double-headed bird on the front and the motto "imaginary friends" on the back. "The theme of 'imaginary friends' has a childlike quality, but it's the dark side of childhood," Murphy says.

Taft's Mes Petits Amis runs through November 6 at Capsule.


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