Art Review

Arturo Guerrero at Michele Mosko Fine Art

Michele Mosko grew up in Denver but spent most of her adult life in New York working as an art dealer. A few years ago, she moved back and opened a tiny gallery just steps from the Denver Art Museum's Martin Plaza, in front of the Hamilton Building. Michele Mosko Fine Art (136 West 12th Avenue, 303-534-5433, is a tiny warren of rooms that reminds me of one of those swank spaces on the upper floors of buildings on New York's Upper East Side. The space is essentially an anteroom, an office and a small exhibition room.

The current offering, Interiors and a Swimming Pool, is a solo dedicated to a Spanish artist, Arturo Guerrero, who lives in New York and has had a relationship with Mosko's art business for a dozen years. All of the pieces are retro, with Guerrero referring to the history of abstraction, most significantly the late work of Picasso. Given the source, it's hardly surprising that Guerrero's style is not pure abstraction but includes recognizable things, such as the nude seen in "Swimming Pool" (pictured). His compositions are organized by arrangements of rectilinear shapes that give them an architectonic quality; it turns out that Guerrero originally trained as an architect.

The paintings share the same palette, with warm Siena shades juxtaposed with cool French blues, both accented by the use of black or dark brown. But don't be misled: This is simply his latest combination. Over the years, Guerrero has embraced a wide range of colors, including bold and bright ones. There are two technical approaches seen in the application of the paint; some shades are rendered solid and others wispy. Guerrero achieves these opposite effects by mixing oil and water, laying in areas of oil paint first, then going over the bare parts of the canvas or paper with watercolors. The watercolors resist where the oil paint is and soak in where they hit open spaces.

Interiors and a Swimming Pool closes January 3.

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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

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