Art Review


The Colorado Photographic Arts Center (1513 Boulder Street, 303-455-8999) is presenting its annual summer feature, the members' show; this year's edition has the prosaic if eloquent title CPAC Members Juried Exhibit 2003.

Membership in CPAC is not limited to serious photographers, meaning that amateurs are also represented in the ranks -- but did they have to be in the exhibit, too? Apparently they did, at least according to the jurors, photographer and educator Alan Rabold and artist and arts advocate Daniel Salazar.

Rabold and Salazar were inclusive, and consequently, the exhibit is way too crowded. Honestly, if half of the photos had been thrown out, the show would have been twice as good. Conversely, I'm sure a great show wound up on the cutting-room floor to make room for the mediocre one on the walls.

But it's not all bad, and if you look carefully, there are a few things worth seeing. There's a lot of good black-and-white work -- as could be expected from CPAC -- with the photos by Ken Dvorak, Jonathan Roderick, Patrick Lambert, Skip Kohloff and Jerry McLaughlin among the notables.

There's also some newfangled work, such as Michael Alexenko's pigmented inkjet prints of flowers and John Bonath's photo-montages of children. More low-tech are Jacqueline Webster's two tiny precisionist cyanotypes of farm buildings.

While we're on the subject of low-tech photography, notice how few conventionally shot color photos got by the jurors, who obviously preferred hocus-focus when it came to color. One of the only straight-color photos to get in is a fabulous chromogenic print called "Self #3-17" (above), by hot emerging photographer Jason Patz. Though the entire show is badly hung, the placement of the Patz stands out as particularly horrendous, making it all the more remarkable that it still looks stunning. Patz is obviously at the top of his game, and, though it's really not much of a compliment, at the top of this show, as well.

The very uneven CPAC Members Juried Exhibit 2003 runs through August 9 at CPAC.

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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