Art Review

Art Beat

Late last summer, Carla St. Romain opened the Bayeux Gallery in the Golden Triangle. What makes this noteworthy is that the gallery is unique -- at least in Denver -- because its specialty is contemporary textiles made by local, national and international fiber artists.

The name "Bayeux" is a reference to the Bayeux tapestry, an eleventh-century textile made to commemorate the French conquest of Britain. St. Romain is of French ancestry and sees her interest in textiles as having at least something to do with this. Born and raised in New Orleans, she still has a trace of a Southern accent -- "Don't hold it against me," she says, only half kidding -- but she's been in Denver for more than twenty years.

The gallery is the result of her midlife crisis, she says. In her former career, St. Romain was a straitlaced bank examiner -- for the Federal Reserve, no less. ("I don't mind coming in on time now," she says.) A weaver for almost twenty years, she decided to focus on textiles in her new venture. But she's decided not to show her own work at Bayeux, at least not yet.

The current show, Kansas Never Looked So Good, is the gallery's first to focus on specific artists. (Previous displays were culled from Bayeux's splendid stock.) The handsome exhibit includes weavings by Marilyn Grisham and April Scott. Most are either landscapes or still-life scenes, such as "Where the Lilies Bloom" (above). An unusual aspect of both Grisham's and Scott's work is the way in which they combine flat weaving with supplemental weaving, a technique that greatly enhances the three-dimensionality of the flowers and trees they depict. Kansas runs through February 12.

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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