Art Review

Art Beat

Two interesting shows are now located back-to-back at the Edge Gallery. In the front space is Quaternion, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Kimberlee Sullivan; in the middle space is a very strange display of sand paintings by Roger Beltrami titled Echoes From the Canyon.

Sullivans pieces have been conceived as multiples in which similar images (or at least those on a similar theme) are repeated on a set of panels, typically four. The wall-hung panels have been constructed as shallow boxes; the sides are made of Masonite held by bolts, and the front is covered in a panel of birch-veneered plywood. Sullivan has either drawn or painted on the veneered panels. Her drawing style is reminiscent of the accurate and simple illustrations in botany or ornithology textbooks, exemplified in the two Bird Quartet: pieces. Each has four tight little drawings of wild birds on small individual panels. The paintings are less scientific. From My Neighborhood: Four Trees,: for instance, seems to have an impressionistic flavor that is at odds with the textbook-style drawings, but its apparently part of the same body of work.

For something entirely different, there are Beltramis sand paintings in the adjacent room. The artist has painted the floor with a circular form announcing the title of the show. On top, he has poured colored sand in patterns, a form developed by the American Indian artists of the Southwest. Beltrami has lined the walls with more permanent and more portable sand paintings. For these, he has glued the sand in place on boards. Most, like Listening to Stars Fall: (above), resemble Navajo rugs, but with some, such as Peote Vision,: and the related Peote Vision Five,: he leaps from neo-Navajo into neo-minimalism.

These two disparate but compatible exhibits close on Sunday.

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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