Art Review

Artbeat

There's an interesting show at Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173) that expresses some connections between Mexico and the American West. Called shared horizons/horizontes compartidos, it was organized by Ricky Armendariz, a well-known Latino artist living in Boulder.

"I leaned that two artists from Mexico, Javier Guadarrama and Claudia Gallegos, would be coming to CU, and I had the idea of doing a show of the three of us together," says Armendariz. "I'm an Edge member and thought it would be a good thing for Edge to do.

"My parents are from Juarez, and Javier and Claudia are from Mexico City, but we share more than this geographic commonality. We share ideas and have a common language and culture."

Despite the implications of the exhibit's title, this is not a landscape show, even though there are many landscapes in it. Armendariz's own works, installed in the front gallery, are done on large horizontal plywood panels. They depict sunsets he's seen in Texas, Colorado and Mexico, but they're not very realistic. The colors are especially abstract and are toned up into the garish range. Using a router, Armendariz carved rope frames with animal heads, and across the middle of the paintings he gouged lines of text. In some, such as "Sunset 9", the sentiments are taken from the lyrics of rock songs, in this case by Prince. Others are somewhat different, transcribing Spanish aphorisms that Armendariz learned at the knee of his grandfather.

The paintings by Guadarrama and Gallegos share the middle space at Edge. Guadarrama does tiny photo-realist paintings on sheets of copper of people and places. In some of them, the color of the metal shows through the surface and is employed as a pictorial element. Guadarrama's use of copper refers to the Mexican tradition of religious paintings done on metal. Gallegos creates brushy landscapes that have so little detail and so much paint, they border on abstract expressionism.

The shared horizons exhibit at Edge is definitely worth seeing before it ends its run on January 25.

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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