Artist residencies have inspired two back-to-back solos at Michael Warren Contemporary. In the window space and the north half of the entry gallery is Sherry Wiggins: Meeting Her Again, staged photos completed by the well-known Boulder conceptualist during her two residencies in Portugal. Opposite, in the south side of the space, is Marietta Patricia Leis: Lost and Found in Iceland, comprising drawings completed during a residency in – where else? – Iceland.
Sherry Wiggins's photographs are self-portraits once removed. To produce them, Wiggins had photographers record her re-staging of Portuguese conceptual artist Helena Almeida's performances. Almeida, who worked for a time in Paris, was interested in collapsing performance, drawing, painting and photography into singular pieces. Her work is often associated with that of her better-known contemporary Yves Klein. In re-creating the Almeidas, Wiggins adds additional conceptual content to the already conceptual creations.
In “Performing the Drawing," a set of nine sequential photos shot by photographer Rui Fernandes, Wiggins-as-Almeida, wearing a flower dress, poses against a white background. She appears to be dancing and leaping; a closer look reveals that she's actually lying on the ground. But her dramatic, lyrical poses, changing from one photo to the next, add movement. Strong shadows set against the white backgrounds also play a role in the compositions. In a different piece, “Flower," this one photographed by Luis Branco, Wiggins emerges from the center of a gigantic red blossom.
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Marietta Patricia Leis's drawings are as different from Wiggins's photos as Portugal is from Iceland. Based in Albuquerque, Leis has created gray monochromes meant to convey the perpetual night she encountered during winter on the sub-arctic island. Her drawings are coolly elegant, but the most compelling are produced on curved birch panels covered with graphite, which lends them a quiet, metallic sheen. Though Leis could be described as a minimalist, her use of curved panels instead of flat ones makes her work more obviously post-minimal.
In the small side gallery at Michael Warren, director Mike McClung has organized a tight group show, #blackandwhite, that includes works by several of the gallery's noteworthy Colorado artists — Heidi Jung, Robert Brinker and Quintin Gonzalez — along with a raft of artists from around the country.
The attractions at Michael Warren Contemporary run through May 27. The gallery is located at 760 Santa Fe Drive. Call 303-635-6255 or go online to Michael Warren Contemporary for additional details.