At Plus Gallery last night, art lovers sat silently together in the dark, waiting for the next 16mm projected film to surprise and astonish. It was the ideal venue for the third Win Wear showcase, Into the Avant-Garde: Landscapes, with an intimate atmosphere and a large white wall to serve as the projection screen for eight short experimental films. A packed house watched engrossed, or laughed collectively, as glimmering images both recognizable and cheerful, foreign and bizarre, danced on the wall, each frame a work of art, the moving images something truly impressive.
Mark Shusterman, co-founder of Win Wear and creator of the evening's appetizers said of choosing the gallery space for the show, "We've done it other places and it's best when it's more intimate, and that way people can get to know one another."
Before the show got started, there were delicious morsels to be enjoyed: Colorado grass-fed curried lamb on pita bread; pear, blue cheese, and walnut on crispy toast; Tuscan white bean spread. And they just kept coming out. It seemed the tray was inexhaustible. In addition, Great Divide beer was on tap, as well as a homemade hot spiced wine for sipping during the show.
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Ivar Zeile, owner of Plus Gallery, said in his pre-show remarks, "The first Win Wear film showcase I attended at Object and Thought was the best experience I've had in Denver in ten years. There is an authenticity to an event like this that is very rare." The films, curated by local experimental filmmaker Rett Rogers, began with a black-and-white, 3D -- but nothing like what you see in theaters today -- trip through sometimes upside-down rivers, sometimes not, exploring the banks and the buildings and trees along them. Next was the film that got everyone laughing: a charming, elegant black-and-white portrayal of some adorable children in a city from a bygone era. The films became more surreal from there, exhibiting what must have been painstakingly laborious processes to achieve hand-painted and rotoscoped film masterpieces. Abstract worlds of color melded into recognizable form and back into the ether of imagination. People became lines and lines became mountains. It was something else, and a unique experience for all who attended.
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After the showing, Ivar said, of the relationship between art and audience, "An art space is only as interesting and good as its audience. This sort of thing is not for everybody." And that's what makes it special.