Art Review

Artbeat

The Andenken Gallery (2110 Market Street, 303-292-3281) is so enormous that the front room alone is as big as some entire galleries and can accommodate fifty paintings or half a dozen large sculptures. As a result, exhibits there -- even big group shows -- can sometimes look mighty thin. Imagine, then, Peter Durst's accomplishment in not just filling the space with a solo, More Recent Work by Peter Durst, but in cramming it so full of sculptures, installations and monumental ceramic vessels that the gallery, rather than looking cavernous, seems positively cozy.

The word "more" in the title doesn't refer to this abundance, though; it's a nod to a show two years ago at the Curtis Arts and Humanities Center called Recent Work. Several pieces in the Andenken show were presented then, including "Journey," which was formerly titled "Passage" (seen above). The installation consists of twelve full-sized tree trunks standing upright on cast-concrete pads and held together by cables strung between the trees and the bases. There are several other pieces of the same type in the show.

Because Durst is chiefly interested in ceramics, he also includes clay elements in each installation. At the top and bottom of the logs, symbolizing branches and roots, are slip-cast twigs that have been wildly decorated with stripes and other simple motifs.

In addition, Andenken is displaying some of the artist's ceramics, lidded pots, chargers and wall plaques. Durst notes in a statement accompanying the show that he has been teaching beginning ceramics at the Art Students' League and that the experience has rekindled his interest in creating ceramic vessels.

As ambitious as this exhibit is, it's been given an abbreviated slot in Andenken's schedule and will close on June 1.

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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