Art Review


The unusual group offering in the main gallery at Pirate: A Contemporary Art Oasis (3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058) includes pieces by artists from around the world. Mapas y Espejos (Maps and Mirrors) showcases the Matrix Art Project, a loose collective that mounts presentations such as this one throughout the United States and in Europe.

Pirate member Stephen Alarid is involved with Matrix, which is how the show came to Denver. Alarid is represented by a large geometric abstract -- a real departure for him with its straight lines and earthy palette. Mark Sink and Dale Chisman, two other Colorado artists, are also showcased here, as is New York artist Jesús Polanco, who used to live in the area and is still fondly remembered.

In the Associates' space is an installation called NEGATION, which was created by the artist named BUG. The subject is the hybrid of a human and an insect, with a central character being a spider-like creature with a square head. Supporting the theme is a group of very bad paintings, but the installation itself is powerful and well crafted.

The Treasure Chest sports an informal show titled Stephen Alarid that includes a handful of the artist's signature paintings. The best of the mixed lot are the all-over linear abstractions based on botanical forms.

Last but assuredly not least is Linear, a solo devoted to some recent efforts by painter Nicholas Silici. The show, which is hanging up front in ILK @ Pirate, has only three pieces in it. Done with polyurethane in subtle colors, these neo-minimalist works are depictions of horizontal stripes on horizontal panels. But there is a twist -- or, more properly, a turn -- because the paintings literally wrap around the corners of the room as a result of the flexible galvanized steel on which they are painted. This attribute is best flaunted in "Expanse C" (above), the largest piece on display.

All four Pirate shows close on March 7.

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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