There are lots of galleries on Santa Fe, but surely everyone will agree that the Space Gallery (765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088) really stands out. Scottish-born owner Michael Burnett has made it happen by relentlessly putting on interesting shows. The current exhibit, HIDDEN NARRATIVE, fills the bill. In it, Burnett has paired two emerging artists, Travis Parr from Evergreen and Denver's Audra Knutson. Both incorporate depictions of the human figure, though stylistically, Parr's paintings would seem to have very little to do with Knutson's linocuts.
Parr has a background in illustration and in painting skim boards and snowboards. For this exhibit, he included a series of interconnected paintings that are meant to tell parables from the artist's own life. Many include self-portraits in the form of cruel, self-deprecating caricatures. The paintings integrate a raft of details with specific meanings, but Parr isn't interested in providing explanations for them -- which fits in nicely with the show's title. Instead, as he has written in his artist's statement, he prefers to let "people create their own stories."
In a piece such as "Deep Breakfast", Parr is seated at a table in the snow-packed high-country wilderness. If that setting weren't enough of a juxtaposition, Parr's added a mythical jackalope for good measure. The other paintings are equally bizarre and equally well done.
Knutson is an emerging artist who began doing relief printing just a few years ago and is essentially self-taught in the medium, though she did serve an internship at Open Press. Since then, she's exhibited her work in Colorado and New Mexico.
Knutson cites literary figures such as Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges as her spiritual mentors, but her work also relates to that of other contemporary artists, notably Kiki Smith. This is particularly true in regard to Knutson's crude style of rendering and the way she puts animals and women together in her pictures. As with Parr, it's not exactly clear what Knutson's pieces mean, but her creations, like his, are undeniably proficient.
Hidden Narrative at Space runs through February 18.
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