Art Review

Art Beat

Through the weekend at the Spark Gallery is Elaine Ricklin & Jennifer Parisi: Recent Work, which sounds like a collaborative show but is, in fact, two solo presentations.

In the front gallery, Ricklin has lined the three walls with individually framed Polaroid XS-70 photos, which are either landscapes or still-life shots. The landscapes express the four seasons, with some of the best ones depicting the snowy winter; a few of the photos are nearly identical to one another, while others are unique. One problem, however, is that the photos are sloppily hung; they're not precisely lined up, which is a real distraction until you look more closely and notice how nicely done they are.

Parisi's handsome drawings in the back gallery are also well-done, even though she uses the degraded materials of chalk on velvet (the typical fare of a roadside art dealer). Her style is retro and refers to commercial art. Some of the pieces look back to the styles of the early 1900s; other have an art-deco feel. The best of these refer to the fabulous '50s, like the atomic-age flower arrangement that appears in "Days Upon Days" (above).

In recent months, Spark members have been putting on tandem shows, with the work of one artist mixed in with the work of another. This has resulted in some unhappy combos. Though they share the show's title, I'm glad that Ricklin and Parisi are each given their own space. That's the way it should be.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia