Mai Wyn Schantz christens her gallery with an influential show
Galleries seem to be opening at a breakneck pace lately, with Mai Wyn Fine Art on Santa Fe Drive being the latest. The new venue combines a handsome exhibition space with a studio for owner — and painter — Mai Wyn Schantz. Occupying the former home of the Sandra Phillips Gallery (which decamped to the Golden Triangle), the location has been remodeled by Schantz, resulting in a gorgeous room with a soaring volume.
Though I think it will be an ideal space for future solos, given its size, it also works beautifully for group exhibits, as proved by the inaugural show, Influence. The subject is Schantz herself (though her work is not included), explaining both the exhibit's title and its stylistic diversity: The works here are by artists who were an influence on her.
The student art star from Schantz's high-school years in Wisconsin, Gregory Euclide is represented by one of his sculptural landscape drawings — you know, the stuff that's made him nationally famous. There are also works by three other artists from her home state whom she regards as mentors: Margaret Lockwood, who has a gauzy stripe painting in the show, as well as Charles Munch and Tom Uttech, with idiosyncratic landscapes.
Schantz moved to Denver in the mid-'90s (though she returned for a time to Wisconsin), and this is where the theme of Influence really picks up. She shared a studio with sculptor Bryan Andrews while a student at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and he's represented by a mystical figural. While at RMCAD, Schantz studied with sculptor Chuck Parson and painters Clark Richert and Bruce Price, all of whom are represented here by signature works.
Finally, Schantz gets hyper-personal by including her partner and fellow RMCAD grad Zach Smith, a conceptual artist best known for his work with the Motoman Project. His sculpture "Replicant Harmonics" (pictured) cleverly incorporates a found Speak and Spell device.
Despite the fact that little in Influence has any connection other than to Schantz's own experiences, the show definitely hangs together, so to speak. It closes on August 10 at the brand-new Mai Wyn Fine Art, 744 Santa Fe; for more information, call 720-252-0500 or go to maiwyn.com.
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