There are big changes afoot at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis (3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058). The most important one is that the co-op's longtime home has gotten substantially smaller. Landlords Chandler Romeo and Reed Weimer are remodeling the space, putting in new walls, new doors and a new entrance. As a result, Pirate is losing about half of its floor space, but the rent is not being adjusted downward.

Most of the Pirates are philosophical about the changes, and Phil Bender, the group's representative on Earth, is grateful for all that Romeo and Weimer have done for the co-op over the years. Others, however, have gotten hot under the collar: Jason Appleton had an intense argument with Weimer, and things got so heated between them that Weimer threatened to call the police on Appleton -- who, by the way, is an imposing 6' 4". The situation quickly defused when Appleton stormed off. Things have calmed down now, and Appleton laughed the whole thing off when he told me about it.

Appleton was understandably upset, because his show, Jason Appleton: Paintings and Ceramics, is one of those being inconvenienced by the construction. The exhibit is made up of an installation of paintings on vertical planks that surround three sides of the room. The paintings are slap-dash abstracts, mostly based on the female nude. On bases filling the middle of the room are dozens and dozens of decorated ceramics, which are the show's real attraction. Using enamel glazes, Appleton paints greenware with retro modernist decorations that bring to mind high-end '50s ceramics from Europe. In some, Appleton uses what he calls a "language" of abstract forms that he developed himself, as shown off in "Species #3," a handsome square charger (left).

Appleton will host a closing reception on Friday, August 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. His show comes down a couple of days later, on Sunday, August 14.


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