The Gildar Gallery is housed in an anonymous-looking storefront on South Broadway, barely marked by a sign. That unassuming presence continues inside -- but modest circumstances haven't deterred owner Adam Gildar from presenting thoughtful programs not unlike those found at contemporary art museums.
In this spirit, Gildar invited a guest curator, Charlie James, to organize the current show, which is appropriately titled Takeover.
James, a Los Angeles-based art dealer whose approach to conceptual art is similar to Gildar's, brought in a group of artists from his stable and added some locals. He picked artists who create work that deals with the concept of power. As with most thematic shows, however, the unifying idea is fairly elastic, with some pieces having only a tenuous association to it.
One artist who pointedly takes on the idea is Daniela Comani. At first glance, her pieces look like found book covers. But a closer look reveals that the text on the covers has been seamlessly altered to change the gender of the book's title, as in "The Sisters Karamazov" and "Monsieur Bovary." They really work, from both an idea perspective and a visual one.
Another artist who is direct about reflecting power relationships in her work is Carol Selter, whose two staged photos are simultaneously beautiful and disturbing. In them, stuffed birds have been reinserted into the natural setting where they once lived.
Other pieces are less obviously related to a critique of power, such as the wonderful post-pop grid of small works by Jim Thompson, "64 Paintings From 1977." In this piece, Thompson has meticulously copied in oil the images of players depicted on baseball cards. It's really great.
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The Thompson is hanging adjacent to Adam Milner's "Torsos." This is another grid, but it's much larger, being made up of more than 1,000 separate elements -- and this is only a fragment of the entire piece. Using the m4m hook-up apps Grindr and SCRUFF, Milner has taken iPhone screen shots of the headless bare torsos of the guys who are looking to connect and printed them on photo paper, covering the end wall with the results. It's a signature Milner mash-up of the individual and the digital -- plus it's a showstopper. (On a bittersweet note, Milner, who has really made a name for himself in Denver over the past couple of years, has just left for grad school in Pittsburgh, so "Torsos" is something of a swan song for him here.)
Also doing grids, as he has for the past four decades, is Phil Bender, and a piece by him, made up of Zig-Zag rolling-paper packages, is displayed in an ancillary show in the back.
Takeover runs through August 14 at Gildar Gallery, 82 South Broadway. Call 303-993-4474 or go to gildargallery.com for more information.