Art Review

Artbeat

Fresh Art Gallery director Jeanie King is talking about expanding. "I'm looking at two places right now, but I'm not sure I'm going to take either one," she says. "I'll decide by the end of the month, with the idea of being open in the spring." For the foreseeable future, then, Fresh Art will remain in the cramped but handsome quarters it has occupied for nearly a year, in a 1930s storefront on South Broadway.

The current exhibit is Empirical, a solo show featuring recent paintings by Stephen Alarid. The artist, who lives in Dillon, is well known in Denver, having exhibited around here since the late 1980s.

Though there are three distinguishable types of work on display here, all are from a series titled "Empirical," which is also the name given to each painting. In the earliest group, Alarid uses dots and dashes of brightly colored paint to make densely arranged patterns that suggest a variety of forms, from organic to geometric. They are classic Alarids, marking a continuation of the ideas he's been exploring during the past five years. In the next group, metallic-gold tones float over wine-colored monochromes (as seen above). The last group contains the most recent pieces, which feature metallic-gold-painted symbols of Alarid's own invention over a luxurious, mostly yellow ground.

In addition to the Alarid exhibit, Fresh Art is also showing the retro-'70s junk sculptures of Denver sculptor Larry Starky. One of these pieces is displayed in the middle of Empirical; the rest are in the back gallery. Also in the back gallery are computer-altered and -generated photographs by Jsun Van Tatenhove. This emerging artist's work was seen at Andenken Gallery this summer; it's surprising that King was able to get him.

The Alarid show closes on October 27.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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