Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173), one of the top alternative art spaces in town, is currently given over to a group of shows that highlight the use of photography in various ways. This kind of aesthetic unity at Edge is very rare considering that there are usually three completely unrelated solos filling the place.
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In the front room is men + metal: amalgam, which is made up of recent works by Jerry McLaughlin. Each of these mixed-media pieces has a photographic image in the center surrounded by a dark abstract field, all of it laid on a steel panel. The photos anchoring the works are beefcake pinups, but they're G-rated, and only subtly erotic instead of overtly sexual. In other words, there's not a penis in sight (as in the detail above).
In the second room, the best of the three exhibition spaces at Edge, is shift_context, which is being sponsored by the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, a gypsy institution since shuttering its gallery last year. The show is actually a pair of solos crammed together for expediency, and it never jells as a singular offering. Being notoriously non-expedient myself, I'll deal with them individually: On the left are large and beautiful silver-gelatin prints by Rachel Hawthorn, from her "Archaeometry" series; on the right are Kathleen Walek's "A Slight Shift From the Ordinary," an installation of 125 small color photos. Hawthorn set up pseudo-Neolithic monuments and then did glamour shots of them, while Walek recorded her everyday visual experiences, like trees and doorknobs, and scattered the individually framed images across two walls.
men + metal: amalgam, shift_context and Melinda Laz: new works on paper
Finally, in the back space is Melinda Laz: new works on paper. These are photo-based prints that refer to pop art, save for the dreamy and quiet palette she uses. Laz employs some unusual methods, with the show including etchings done on Polymer-coated metal plates, to cite just one example.
The worthwhile ad hoc photofest of men + metal: amalgam, shift_context and Melinda Laz runs through June 18 at Edge Gallery.