Like the pop charts, boutiques and Hollywood, the art world is always looking for the latest thing. And because the newest ideas are usually found in the ranks of unknown and emerging artists, juried shows are worth looking at, because that's who they feature.
Space Gallery (765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088), one of the top spots in the Santa Fe Arts District, has its annual juried show, New Talent, on tap right now. The jury was made up of Michael Burnett, director of Space, Tyler Aiello, formerly of Studio Aiello and now running the Tar Factory, and Justin Brunelle, owner of Soke Fine Art.
Unfortunately, New Talent shows little of that, and the problems lie at the feet of Burnett, Aiello and Brunelle. But somehow, despite their collective efforts, a few great things managed to make it in. There are the pair of dark patterned abstracts by Conor O'Donnell and the three mostly black expressionist compositions by Sarah Fox. But the major revelation is the striking and painterly "Michael + Molly" (above), done by Wyoming artist Penelope Caldwell.
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765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088
Adjacent to Space and connected by a doorway is the newish Soke Fine Art (7571/2 Santa Fe Drive, 303-718-9042). Brunelle originally opened Soke in Minturn, but he moved the business down here this past spring. The current show there is roadside attractions, spotlighting recent paintings by a 22-year-old artist from St. Louis named Scott Lowenbaum. Brunelle met Lowenbaum at his gallery in Minturn, and this show marks the artist's Denver debut. Lowenbaum's paintings mostly include simplified renditions of chickens, which sounds cutesy but isn't. They are stylistically sophisticated because Lowenbaum refers to an unlikely set of modern movements, including regionalism, color-field abstraction and pop art -- or at least a Midwestern barnyard variant of it.
New Talent at Space closes on June 17; roadside attractions comes down on July 2 at Soke. -- Michael Paglia