Review: Two Artists Invent Their Own Worlds at Goodwin

Ashley Eliza Williams's “Resonant” (left), oil on panel, and “Data for Resonant,” oil on paper.
Ashley Eliza Williams's “Resonant” (left), oil on panel, and “Data for Resonant,” oil on paper. Courtesy Goodwin Fine Art
Goodwin Fine Art is hosting a pair of tight solos that work beautifully together, though the two artists take almost opposite approaches to their related themes: imagining and fantasizing about nature.

In the capacious main gallery, Ashley Eliza Williams: Anthropocene features paintings of imaginary rocks rendered realistically; these are paired with works on paper sporting invented scientific data whose underlying idea is that human presence is a part of the natural record. “I’m painting rocks as unnatural objects altered by humans,” Ashley Eliza Williams writes, pointing out that “our species can now be considered a ‘geological force’ like glaciers and volcanoes.” This explains the show's title; "anthropocene" is the word that scientists use to describe the last few thousand years of human impact on the planet. Williams imagines future generations excavating fossilized plastics and petrified industrial chemicals.
click to enlarge Installation view of Ashley Eliza Williams: Anthropocene. - WES MAGYAR
Installation view of Ashley Eliza Williams: Anthropocene.
Wes Magyar
A typical pairing is “Resonant,” a painting of a fictitious core sample, and “Data for Resonant,” a hypothetical chart meant to account for the elements that were discovered in the sample. The painting is gorgeous, a meticulous rendition of a layered rock done in toned-up shades of red transitioning to black at the bottom. The rock is depicted floating against a graduated color field that’s darker at the top. The approach is interesting in and of itself, since we’re looking at a realistic rendering of something that exists only in the artist’s mind. Williams exploits a similar effect in the multicolor pseudo bar graphs and captions, which are meant to explain the unnatural color of the rock.
click to enlarge Installation view of The Cyclical Glow: Blanca Guerra-Echeverria. - WES MAGYAR
Installation view of The Cyclical Glow: Blanca Guerra-Echeverria.
Wes Magyar
The second solo, The Cyclical Glow: Blanca Guerra-Echeverria, is installed in the corridor and the small viewing room in the back. The show comprises small-scale abstract ceramic sculptures that reference biological reproduction, specifically the artist's personal hopes and fears regarding child-bearing. The sculptures take on either simple shapes, as in the three-part “Multiplying Ovum” made up of a faceted orb, a sphere and a mound, or are assemblages of simple shapes like the cluster of black and gold balls in “Veiled Loss.”

Williams and Blanca Guerra-Echeverria live in New England, but they have past associations with Colorado: They each earned a graduate art degree at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Williams also had a RedLine residency here in Denver.

The two shows run through April 14 at Goodwin Fine Art at 1255 Delaware Street; call 303-573-1255 or go to for more information.

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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