Mo'Print, the Month of Printmaking, is winding down, and although the centerpiece is the Open Press show at the McNichols Building, there have been dozens of other events focused on printmaking up and down the Front Range. Among the ones that I've checked out are the two on view at Goodwin Fine Art, and like the Open Press show, they are well worth taking in.
In the handsome front space at Goodwin is Matthew Christie: Spiritus Arbor (Tree Spirit), featuring recent work by this longtime Colorado printer and painter. Christie, who teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has a distinguished printmaking résumé, including a stint at the renowned Shark's Ink in Lyons, and nearly a decade of service as the editions director and master printer at the world-famous Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass.
Everything in this show, from prints and paintings to mixed-media pieces, is closely related. Each has a defining color field as its ground — mostly in browns and grays, though there's one with blues and another with yellows. Since Christie's theme is the tree, it's not a surprise to see depictions of twigs used as compositional anchors, as in "As One, So the Other" (pictured). About half of the works feature the meticulous rendering of a bird in flight, typically a hummingbird. Considering how abstract the grounds and the depictions of the twigs are, these hyperrealist passages are striking, if a little jarring.
Christie has long been interested in trees as subjects and has imbued them with meaning. According to his written statement, trees encompass profound dichotomies within them. There's life and death, for example, with the bare twig evocative of both; and of heaven and earth, with the tree rooted in the ground, its branches climbing toward the sky.
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The Christie selections have been paired with those that make up Valerie Hammond: Print Work. The show, which is installed in the gallery's intimate back spaces, continues the nature theme established by the Christies, but instead of trees, Hammond looks at flowers.
Based in New York, Hammond teaches at New York and Columbia universities. Here she presents lithographs and woodcuts, along with photo-based pieces and even a watercolor; most concern blossoms, which at times have been used to carry out the female figure.
The final features of Mo' Print are heading toward their end dates; the Christie and Hammond solos at Goodwin Fine Art (1255 Delaware Street) are set to close on April 12. Call 303-573-1255 or go to goodwinfineart.com for more information.