Artist (and Westword contributor) Patti Cramer is something of a Denver icon. She's been the subject of innumerable solos, and her work is in many collections in the region.
Cramer first emerged on the local scene back in the 1980s as part of a generation of neo-expressionists -- which also includes husband-and-wife artists Louis Recchia and Zoa Ace -- interested in abstracting recognizable images using wildly colored pigments. In the past few years, though, she's kept a lower-than-usual profile, making the self-titled Patti Cramer at Open Press LTD (40 West Bayaud Avenue, 303-778-1116) a rare opportunity to see what she's been up to lately. The show includes Cramer paintings, monotypes and etchings, the latter two mediums having been created at Open Press, which is more of a printmaking facility than a gallery.
Cramer's signature pieces look like a cross between Old Master paintings and New Yorker cartoons, with scenes of fashionable people socializing in restaurants and out on the sidewalks. There are also portraits, landscapes and Cramer's characteristic horse depictions, which are more linear and abstract than any of her other subjects. She does the horses in unnatural colors, which only heightens their abstract qualities. I especially liked the pair of untitled monotypes hanging together, one featuring a running horse (above) and the other a horse in profile. In both, the animals are purple with backgrounds in turquoise.
40 West Bayaud Avenue
Though the Open Press exhibition space is fairly small, Patti Cramer is a pretty large show of nearly fifty pieces -- not to mention stacks of unframed prints that are also available. This is the last exhibit that will be presented in this space, since Open Press is opening a separate gallery at 10 East Ellsworth Avenue next month. The new location kicks off with a Sharon Strasburg solo on November 4.
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The Cramer show will run through December 10 at the West Bayaud location.