An ampersand is an ampersand is an ampersand in one of MCA Denver's new exhibits

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Joel Swanson: Left to Right, Top to Bottom and Critical Focus: Ian Fisher opened at MCA Denver Friday night, as part of curator Nora Burnett Abrams's ongoing focus on local artists. While Fisher's paintings of billowing clouds and skyscapes take over MCA's Whole Room, Swanson has filled the David & Laura Merage Foundation and Luisa & Chris Law galleries with imagery drawn from language.

See also: Best Small Show About Colorado Art Denver 2013 - Continental Drift

Abrams, interested in Swanson's fascination with the shape of the ampersand and how it is made -- with a flourish that falls somewhere between an act of penmanship and one of drawing -- invited the artist to draw viewers into the exhibit by covering an entire wall with them. Now, 25,000 ampersands later, he might be through with rendering ampersands for good, she notes, but in the meantime, here's a time-lapse video documentation of Swanson's three-day process of covering a surface with the symbols from ceiling to floor.

As Abrams theorizes, the result is far more than a wall covered with ampersands -- it's also a smart blend of performance and fine art intermingled. View Left to Right, Top to Bottom at MCA through March 30; Fisher's exhibit runs through April13. Go to MCA Denver online for more information.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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