Art Review


It's been kicking around since the early twentieth century, but there's no denying that nature-based abstraction has experienced a big-time revival in the 21st -- as evidenced by the oh-so-many art shows that include this kind of work right now. The trend is so widespread that it's even shown up in the wilds of northern Colorado, in an exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art (201 South College Avenue, Fort Collins, 1-970-482-2787.)

Growth and Decay combines paintings by Charles Livingston, wall-hung sculptures by E.A. Warson, installations by Linda Ryan and metal sculptures by Jonathan Hubbard.

There's one other artist included in the show, but I've saved mentioning him until last because his work is by far the best. I'm referring to Bryan Andrews, an up-and-coming young Denver sculptor. Especially noteworthy is the way Andrews's work has been influencing sculptors younger than he is -- and he's only 28. In a way, he has put together a mini-retrospective here, with pieces dating back to 1999. But there are also more recent things, including "12 Steps to Redemption," done a couple of weeks ago. Among my favorites are "66 Kings," made of carved, burnt wood; "Have You Ever Seen the Heart of a Giant's Leg?" made of carved and painted wood; and "The War of Flean III" (above), made of found wood accented by Andrews's signature blue paint and a single wooden ball, also painted blue.

Growth and Decay may be a group show, but for my money, it flies better as an Andrews solo. In any case, there's plenty of time to judge for yourself: It's set to stay up until March 29.

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