Art Review

Art Review: Patsy Krebs, Heidi Jung and John Garrett at Michael Warren Contemporary

One of the largest galleries in town, Michael Warren Contemporary, is currently hosting three freestanding solos. Each is showcased alone, free of intrusions from the sensibilities of the others.

To the left of the entrance is Patsy Krebs: Time Passages, made up of the artist’s austere ruminations on the horizon line. Krebs is a well-known California artist who spends part of the year near Walsenburg in a cabin that serves as her rudimentary studio. These works continue her exploration of post-minimalism, with the artist using physics to compose her pictures.

For the paper-on-panel pieces, Krebs coats the surface with water and then applies pigment in a quick run with a brush across one end of the surface. She repeats the process several times for each. As the pigment floats on the water and then sinks into it, the capillary action of the liquid creates an indefinite line across the bottom. Classic minimalism is known for its hard edges, but Krebs employs blurry ones while retaining the style’s less-is-more aesthetic.

In the space ahead is Heidi Jung: Landlocked, which consists of abstracted depictions of fish bones and seaweed. In these works, done in sumi ink and charcoal on Mylar sheets, Jung creates lyrical compositions dominated by lines. Though Jung’s subjects are invariably representational, as in “One," she uses a lot of abstract devices to convey them.

Her method is to add and subtract, to fully render her subject and then to erase, smear or smudge the results so that the subject, fish bones or seaweed, isn’t always clear. Though the pieces are predominantly black, white and gray, some have wisps of faint color done in rubbed-on pastels in subtle hues.

Finally, in the almost completely closed-in side gallery, is a marvelous selection of suspended works that make up John Garrett: Continuums. Garrett uses found materials and wire to create sculptures that conceptually come out of weaving. In “Denver Sweets,” for example, a type of work he calls a “Confection,” Garrett employs carefully cut-out fragments of picnic ware — plastic cups, plates and utensils — and hangs the shards on wires, creating a tapestry of sorts.

There are other works of this type included, but the tour de force is Garrett’s installation, “Thicket,” which is essentially a wall made of 81 separate vertical elements of different metal wires.

Though the individual works by these three artists have little in common — and no one could possibly view them as discrete parts of a cohesive group effort — they’re nonetheless compatible.

The shows continue through August 1 at Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive; for information, call 303-635-6255 or go to  

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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