Mark Brasuell's solo at Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173) has the bizarre title of Difficult Abstraction. I say it's bizarre because the four paintings that make up the show are not the least bit hard to look at.
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The artist apparently attacked the canvases with paint-loaded brushes, which resulted in big, jagged smears running across the all-over compositions, as is typical for Brasuell. But instead of reveling in his usual vivid colors, Brasuell has adopted a very back-to-basics palette dominated by black and white. These pieces are reminiscent of Brasuell's work in Group Show 2 last month at Studio Aiello, making them more related to his drawings than to his older paintings.
Credit for much of Edge's success over the years should go to Brasuell, but if there is one other person who deserves at least as much applause for a job well done, it's the co-op's founder, Raoul Ken Peterson. Peterson's décor-ruption, which is on display in the center space, features not only his idiosyncratic bas-relief-painting hybrids, but also Susan Smolinski's representational paintings and two Peterson/Smolinski collaborations. Everything about Peterson's work is original, from his stilted sense for drawing, his crude method of carving and his oddball taste for a green/orange color scheme. Man, his paintings -- or whatever they are -- are really weird and hard to look at.
In the back room is Peter Arcidiacono's installation with the unappetizing title of [fallow corpse]. The installation is made up of several huge, internally lit lantern-like forms (right) that hang from the ceiling and fill the room to capacity. The forms -- presumably those fallow corpses -- are made of wire armatures that have been covered with sheets of paper. I'll say this for Arcidiacono: He's got ambitions.
These three Edge shows close on October 31.