Art Review

Review: Brenda Biondo and Alpert + Kahn Get Graphic at Goodwin Fine Art

Installation view, Brenda Biondo: Paper Skies.
Installation view, Brenda Biondo: Paper Skies. Sunshine Divis
With the Month of Photography flooding city venues this month, Denver is drowning in photo shows. MoP is dominated by major exhibits, such as those at the Arvada Center, the Center for Visual Art, MCA Denver and, notably, RedLine, where MoP founder Mark Sink’s keystone event just opened. As a result, smaller outings are overshadowed, even though many of these are significant, too. Among the standouts in this more intimate category are the conjoined solos at Goodwin Fine Art, Brenda Biondo: Paper Skies and Alpert + Kahn: Of Progress.

click to enlarge Installation view, Alpert + Kahn: Of Progress. - SUNSHINE DIVIS
Installation view, Alpert + Kahn: Of Progress.
Sunshine Divis
For several works in Paper Skies, Manitou Springs artist Brenda Biondo took photos of the sky through a stencil-like panel held in front of a camera’s lens. The stencils — sometimes sky blue and blending in with the color of the actual sky — were moved slightly when the shutter opened, blurring the margins of the stencil. This allowed Biondo to create linear abstractions based on direct photos of the sky; the results don’t even look like photos. A good example is “Moving Picture No. 10,” in which a square, cloud-filled shape floats above a rectilinear band of clouds, both set on a blue field. In other photos, such as “Modality No. 1,” Biondo digitally cuts up and reassembles abstract photos in order to produce a non-repeating pattern. All of the Biondo photographs have been printed using a dye-sublimation-on-aluminum process, so they have a slight metallic sheen that enhances the polished quality of the imagery itself.

click to enlarge “Modality No. 1,” by Brenda Biondo, dye-sublimation on aluminum. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND GOODWIN FINE ART
“Modality No. 1,” by Brenda Biondo, dye-sublimation on aluminum.
Courtesy of the Artist and Goodwin Fine Art
A shared taste for strong compositions links Biondo’s work to that of Alpert + Kahn, a Westcliffe-based partnership of artists Renee Alpert and Douglas Kahn; the couple is also interested in conjuring abstracts from actual scenes. Alpert + Kahn took photos of construction sites, choosing buildings in skeletal form or those that have been draped in plastic sheeting. Printed in black and white, they became the backgrounds, receding with their inherent perspective. Then, at imaginary levels both at and behind the picture plane, the pair digitally introduced broad linear constructions done in bright colors laid over the background photos.

click to enlarge Installation view, Brenda Biondo: Paper Skies. - SUNSHINE DIVIS
Installation view, Brenda Biondo: Paper Skies.
Sunshine Divis
Because of their linear aspects, the Biondo photos often have a graphic presence and, in the case of the patterned photos, a bold one. But the pieces by Alpert + Kahn are even more graphic, reading almost like posters. The two shows run through April 15 at Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street; call 303-573-1255 or go to for additional details.
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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