Art Review

Containers and Doug Wilson

Sculptor Bob Mangold and his wife, Peggy, an art dealer, are both in their seventies, and given their many contributions to the local art world (including being among the founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art), they are living cultural treasures in Denver.

That makes their gallery (which doubles as Bob's studio) something of a local landmark. And although shows there have been infrequent in recent years, Artyard (1251 South Pearl Street, 303-777-3219) currently has two interesting exhibits on display, both featuring the work of long-established regional artists.

In the informal indoor space is Containers, a solo of recent work by Carley Warren. It is filled mostly with small sculptures that are more like miniature installations. Warren, who has been exhibiting since the 1960s, was among the first artists in Colorado to embrace installation art. The containers on view include a wheelbarrow, a circular fence and many boxes. And while there's a decidedly Japanesque feel to them, there's also conceptual content: Warren reveals the inability of containers to actually contain things, with elements spilling out of several of these.

Outside at Artyard are the large vertical sculptures in welded mild steel and stainless steel that make up Doug Wilson. Like Warren, Wilson has a forty-year career under his belt. The sculptures are not titled, but numbered, such as "07-2" (pictured). Though the upright, totemic posture of the works suggests the figure, for Wilson the sculptures are not even a little figural; rather, they are about spontaneity and visual instinct. He links his thought processes to those of abstract painters, even though direct metal sculpture is difficult to manipulate with the immediacy of paint, as all the pesky cutting, welding and polishing gets in the way of genuine automatism.

Both shows close on November 10.

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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