Art Review

Artbeat

For more than twenty years, Robischon Gallery (1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788) has set the exhibition standard in Denver's contemporary-art world by presenting only high-quality shows. Judy Pfaff, on display now in the intimate Viewing Room in the gallery, is no exception.

The show is made up of a small group of the famous New York artist's works on paper. The first thing viewers see as they enter are three prints hung in a modified cruciform arrangement, all of which share a title, "End of the Rain," but are distinguished by the letters "A", "B" and "C." Each is the product of a different printmaking technique: "A" is a photogravure and woodcut, "B" an etching, and "C" a photogravure. Despite the different techniques, all three look pretty much the same because they are unified by the same blue dye. The subject of the three might be small-town life, which is evoked by the photo images of old houses, but there's also the suggestion of high water. As with the other Pfaffs here, the "End of the Rain" prints sport custom-made, artist-designed frames.

These prints are somewhat unexpected from Pfaff, as are some of the others, including another "End of the Rain" print and "Ghost Story" and "Multnomah" (seen above), which picture bucolic scenes in a pair of photogravures. "People don't realize all the different kinds of work that Judy Pfaff does," says gallery director Jim Robischon. "She's extremely experimental." More clearly Pfaffian is the mammoth mixed-media drawing, "Oxygen," created out of photo positives, acrylic resin, ink and a host of other materials. It includes found images of ducks that seem to morph into colored resin ovals. There's a decidedly Oriental quality to this drawing, which is also found in at least one of the prints, "Nymphea," an exaggerated horizontal composition in which lotus leaves in various greens are lined up in a tidy row.

Since it closes on February 23, there are only a couple of days left to catch the impressive if modest Pfaff show at Robischon.

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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