Forms evocative of those found in nature — plant shapes, in particular — connect the paintings and sculptures now on the first floor of the William Havu Gallery, and with growing season just under way, the presentation is perfectly timed. Although there’s an aesthetic seamlessness to the whole endeavor, what we’re actually looking at is three single-artist shows — two dedicated to painters and one to a sculptor.
Sam Scott — Still Lifes fills the entry, picking up space under the mezzanine. Sam Scott is an acknowledged master of Southwestern abstraction who’s used desert scenes around his Santa Fe home as taking-off points for all-over abstract compositions. But the Scotts at Havu are both different and unexpected: They’re expressively executed still-life scenes, each depicting a vase filled with flowers. They’re different, but not new: Scott has been turning out these kinds of paintings for the last ten years or so. Though much more traditional than his typical approach, they still have several familiar Scott touches, notably the linearity of the drafting and the earthy tones of the palette.
Adjacent to the Scotts is Homare Ikeda, a group of nature-based abstracts by respected Colorado artist Homare Ikeda. Whereas Scott at first appears to be working against type, Ikeda is reinforcing his signature; these paintings are the latest examples of his more-is-more aesthetic. Ikeda paints different naturalistic forms that overlap and collide with one another, ultimately filling the compositions to capacity. These forms have been done in a range of colors applied with varying techniques, from smoothly blended pigments to some that are toothpaste thick.
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Scattered among the Scotts and Ikedas are tabletop sculptures depicting highly abstracted imaginary plants, all part of the Rachel Stevens subsidiary exhibit. Although these sculptures are made entirely of steel, they look velvety in parts because the artist has flocked them like Christmas cards.
Up on the mezzanine is Laura Wait, a chaser to the three solos downstairs. Though Laura Wait’s paintings aren’t about nature — they’re calligraphic abstractions with an Asian look — they’re nonetheless compatible with the rest of the works.
All four shows run through June 17 at Havu, 1040 Cherokee Street. Call 303-893-2360 or go to williamhavugallery.com for more information.