Visual Arts

Goldfish and a life-sized nude highlight Articulated Perspectives at the Havu gallery

Summer is traditionally a time for group shows, but most galleries tend to feature work by their various artists, with no clear interconnecting theme. Not so at William Havu Gallery, where owner Bill Havu and gallery administrator Nick Ryan have brought together four artists, all of whom do contemporary work based on representational imagery that also incorporates abstract sensibilities.

See also: Review: The Arvada Center takes a leap outside with Unbound: Sculpture in the Field

The show, Articulated Perspectives, has been installed on both the main level and the mezzanine. Just inside the door, viewers are confronted with a monumental Marc Berghaus sculpture, "Rules & Regulations #2" (pictured).

In it, a life-sized male nude in cast fiberglass is encased in an elaborate metal grid of small open boxes. Inside most of the boxes are tiny mechanized fish "swimming" in circles. Taking the place of one of the boxes is a small aquarium with a real fish in it.

In addition, there are a number of small sculptures, several featuring the open metal box as a key element. Though Berghaus lives in Kansas, his work has been widely exhibited in Colorado. (He'll be talking about his work at Havu this Saturday, July 19, at noon.)

On the walls surrounding the Berghaus sculptures are some remarkably fresh-looking paintings by Laura Truitt, an up-and-coming artist who lives in Fort Collins. All of them have architectonic forms expressively conveyed through smears of thick pigment. By combining these seemingly opposite approaches -- linear forms and expressive techniques -- she creates a frisson between depth and flatness.

The compositions are anchored by dense constructs of lines that invariably move the viewers' eyes to the pictures' center. Truitt, whose sense for the skillful assembly of a great palette is impressive, also has a taste for the monumental, and many of these wonderful paintings are all but mural-sized.

Also on the main level are crisply done landscapes by Lori Buntin that are rendered photographically but with unexpected hard-edged divisions marking shifts in the palette. Buntin, a Kansas City artist, captures the toned-down colors of the Midwest along with its gritty industrial and agricultural vistas.

Upstairs, there are some sweet little landscapes in an abstract-expressionist style by Sara Sanderson from Boulder. These paintings are very strong and extremely sophisticated. And though their intimate scale is very appealing, I wish she'd blow them up in size, because there's apparently a lot of potential in her chosen approach.

Articulated Perspectives runs through July 26 at William Havu Gallery.

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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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