Art Review


Mark Sink, who runs Gallery Sink (2301 West 30th Avenue, 303-455-0185), has organized Staged Fantasy, an exhibit of posed photos by an assortment of contemporary photographers. A lot of the work relates to Sink's own efforts, which, though not included in the show, are highly visible, as they are hung in the gallery's open storage area.

In the front are New Yorker Lori Nix's photos, which depict disasters. To create her images, Nix constructs miniature landscapes of tragic scenes, such as floods and fires, then photographs them in her studio. The topics are disturbing, but the C-prints themselves are quite beautiful. One photo, "Wasps #6/15" (above), is somewhat different in that it's a close-up. In this shot, the handlebars of a child's bike poke out of a field of flowers with insects flying around them. This photo is the newest Nix here, so it may indicate a change of focus for her.

In the main part of the gallery, the work of several different photographers is brought together. Highlights include two images from the 1970s by the late Francesca Woodman and two others done in the 1980s by Wes Kennedy, who is also deceased. Both photographers chronicled their nightmarish dreams in enigmatic and out-of-focus black-and-white images of the human figure.

"Enigma" is the watchword for many of the show's photos, and it's hard to understand what's going on in a lot of them. Falling into this category is the work of Czech photographer Pavel Pecha, who depicts people striking odd poses in a barren landscape, and that of Anne Arden McDonald, who takes shots of nude women in evocative settings such as ruined buildings.

In the small space on the other side of the partition are more interesting things, among them Alan Rabold's photos, which represent a break with the tradition of street photography. Rabold, who lives in Boulder, poses his subjects instead of secretly recording them in candid shots, which is the standard practice in the documentary field.

The provocative Staged Fantasy at Gallery Sink closes this Sunday, February 1.

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