Art Review

Art Beat

The funkiest of the funky new galleries to open in the last few months must surely be Apart Modern Gallery on South Kalamath Street. The two-building complex, joined by a rough-hewn courtyard covered in gravel and accented with sculptures, is located hard by a busy railroad track.

The gallery is a one-man operation run by transplanted Chicago artist Karl Gerzan. "I was passing through Denver in 1996, and so I guess I've been passing through town for the last four years," says the energetic Gerzan. After a few years as a student at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Gerzan dropped out just a few credits short of graduation. "Chuck [Parson] taught me a lot, and I felt like I was ready to do other things," he says.

Gerzan may have quit school, but he didn't burn his bridges: Both of the artists who currently have shows at Apart are former classmates. In the lower gallery, accessed through the French doors in the south building (the smaller north building houses Gerzan's studio) is Jodi McDonough's Places, featuring recent constructivist wall reliefs. In the upper gallery is And Things, a display of sculptures, many in ceramic, by Daniel Crozier.

McDonough and Crozier couldn't be more different from one another. Using place names, McDonough creates horizontal compositions made of wood, such as "Iowa" (detail above). Some of the wooden elements have been left natural, while others are painted in subtle shades. They're very elegant, but quite informal at the same time.

Crozier's sculptures are organic and surrealistic, and several of the smaller ones suggest pagan fetish objects. His ceramics are particularly strong even if he had some trouble in the kiln. A new generation of shoestring operations has been making itself known around town recently, and places like Gerzan's Apart Modern are becoming the latest thing in the world of alternative galleries.

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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