In one of Ravi Zupa’s bits of film minutiae, a man rises out of the sand, brushes himself off like a newborn creature and runs up a dune before dissolving back into the sand. Walking among Zupa’s prodigious artworks, currently on display at Illiterate gallery, is a little like that: a world unto itself, consisting of works that borrow imagery ideas from across the annals of man, from the Dark Ages to Eastern religion, unfolding through onion-skin layers of history and disappearing without a trace once you walk out the door.

The show, titled The Pyre, is Zupa’s first major solo exhibit in Denver, notes Illiterate’s Adam Gildar, and it features ninety works, including painted panels and a series of puppets and larger sculptures crafted from found objects, bits of wood and even bones. “You look at them, and you can’t necessarily identify the technique; there’s a sort of sleight of hand going on,” Gilder says of the puppets, with an admitted sense of wonder. He’s clearly blown away by this artist’s creative vision. “It’s not just that he has a facility for drawing. You know a Ravi Zupa when you see it. We’re honored to be able to bring his world in here and allow it to breathe a bit.”

In addition to his work as a fine artist, Zupa is also a filmmaker, animator and videographer; Illiterate, 82 South Broadway, will host a screening of his films tonight at 8 p.m. as part of its ongoing Ill Film series. Admission is free; Zupa’s artwork remains on view through July 30. For information, go to www.illiteratemagazine.com or call 303-993-4474.
Aug. 6-27, 2010

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