I am a man

I am a man, the current offering at Ironton Studios and Gallery (3636 Chestnut Street, 303-297-8626), purports to be about men's art. For the past thirty years or so, shows about women's art have become pretty common, while shows about men's art have not. This exhibit doesn't really change that -- it's not actually about men's art, but is simply an outing by a trio of male artists brought together for no particular reason. Still and all, it's pretty good.

The first of the three artists is Charles Counter, who creates wooden bas-relief pieces using twigs and boards accented by brightly pigmented glue. The best of these is "Six Sticks" (pictured), and the spare, bold, carnival-esque hues really stand out against the subtle tones of the light woods. Counter cites illusionists, including Robert Irwin and James Turrell, as being among his spiritual mentors, but I saw a greater affinity to the wood work of John Buck and James Surls.

Across the room from the Counters are wall pieces made of woven roofing tar paper created by Stan Meyer, a well-known Colorado artist with a distinguished career of almost forty years. Meyer created a series of complicated shapes covered with the rectangles inherent in the weaving process. The colors, taken from the tar paper, are muted and have an iridescent character. These signature works are sensational both in their monumentality and in their subtle details, particularly in the way Meyer gradually changes the palette from one part of a piece to another.


I am a man

3636 Chestnut Street


The last of the three artists is experimental photographer Randy Brown, who did a new body of work for this show. Brown's pieces are the closest to fulfilling the unrealized theme of men's work, but only because he uses male figures in his photos. Reduced to silhouettes, the men are merely outlines with their middles filled in with scenes of bare trees. I'm not sure this means anything, but it's aesthetically successful.

I am a man runs through Saturday, January 6; a closing reception will be held at Ironton on Friday, January 5, from 6 to 9 p.m.


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