Jennifer Garner, the director of Metro State's Center for Visual Art (965 Santa Fe Drive, 303-294-5207, www.metrostatecva.org) has organized Reclamation, featuring pieces made from trash. "It's not recycling," Garner points out. "It's reuse."
Garner had conceived Reclamation as a group show, but there's an unexpected solo within it. Ann Weber, a California artist who has two bronzes in Skyline Park, is represented here by a selection of her signature cardboard sculptures made from woven strips that have been stapled together. I especially liked the multicolored ones that were not painted, but constructed from colored cardboards.
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For the other participants, Garner chose five notable Colorado artists, all of whom also use humble materials. One, Brian Cavanaugh, has since moved to Texas, but before he left he created an installation at Ice Cube in which a gun seemed to have sprayed paint and ready-made materials across the wall. It was redone for Reclamation.
In a gallery anchored by an installation on the floor, with photos and other documents on the walls, Yumi Janairo Roth lays out her process: She finds a discarded pallet and takes it to her studio, where she inlays it with mother-of-pearl, then returns it to where she found it, ultimately retrieving it after it's gone unnoticed for a time. In an adjacent gallery is a group of wall pieces by Jon Rietfors. He deconstructs photos by mounting fragments of them on the bottoms of Styrofoam cups or the tops of film canisters, and the results are fabulous.
In a larger gallery, Terry Maker is presenting a group of narrative pieces made from sliced bundles of discards. She employs shredded church documents for two pieces about religion and cut-up prescription bottles for a pair that addresses health care ("Superscopics II," pictured above). Finally, back in the corner, there's an installation by Sabin Aell made of re-colored strips of billboard vinyl hanging in front of a drawing applied directly to the wall. The result is very lyrical and evokes the charm of early modern.
Garner has put together a smart show that not only raises the topic of the environment, but also does so through some good-looking art.