Art Review

Artbeat

The spare, monochrome paintings in Angela Larson's Seeking Harmony, at Spark Gallery (900 Santa Fe Drive, 720-889-2200), may look like neo-minimalist compositions, but they're not. In fact, these pieces have nothing to do with minimalism or any other art theory, but rather are based on the I Ching. Larson says she was inspired to do the paintings during the presidential election last fall, when she realized that the I Ching made more sense than the news.

The origins of the ancient Chinese practice lie in the mists of that culture's pre-history. A person throws three coins and uses the I Ching text to interpret the way the coins land. The three coins determine the specific details of one of eight I Ching trigrams (three sets of two horizontal lines). It is this set of six lines, unified in a cartouche, that form the focal points of Larson's paintings, as in "Hexagram #17, Sui -- Following" (above). Larson makes the paintings by coating wooden panels with plaster and carving representations of the specific trigrams into them. Then she tints the plaster with acrylic stains.

Larson's solo is paired with Patricia Miller's Proof of Air, and though the two shows are very different from one another, they work well together. Miller has done a number of things, including small sculptures, but the main course for this show is an assortment of mixed-media paintings that include collage elements. As evidenced by the title, Miller is interested in tangible objects that prove that air exists, such as bird wings, but not everything follows that theme. The funky pieces struck a chord with viewers, and almost everything sold out at the opening.

Seeking Harmony and Proof of Air are on view through May 14. That's also the date Spark closes so that the landlord, Jeanie King, can build an addition on top of it. Spark will be closed for a month and reopen in mid-June -- barring any construction delays, that is.

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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