During the past ten years, the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (1600 Pierce Street, 303-753-6046) has emerged as a local powerhouse. Although there are fewer students enrolled in the entire school than there are fine-art majors at Metropolitan State College of Denver, there have been more significant emerging artists coming out of RMCAD than Metro -- or anywhere else around here, for that matter.
That's why I was eager to see Place: Fine Art Alumni Invitational, the exhibition at the Phillip J. Steele Gallery, in the campus's sublimely moderne-style Mary K. Harris Auditorium. But to be honest, the show was something of a disappointment.
Place: Fine Art Alumni Invitational
Phillip J. Steele Gallery at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, 1600 Pierce Street
The reason is twofold: The selections never come together as a coherent display because there's no theme, and the installation is a disaster. The arbitrary arrangement makes it look as though the works were shuffled like a deck of cards and played where they were dealt. No effort was made to keep the work of individual artists separate from the others -- a mistake I am seeing more frequently.
This is not to say that there aren't things worth seeing in Place. Those little puzzles by Karen McClanahan, for example, are pretty cool. I also thought James Morgan's taped paintings showed promise. The same goes for Robin McClure's charming line drawings, which she did directly on the wall using strips of black adhesive vinyl instead of ink. Justin Simoni continues to riff off Andy Warhol in his group of impressive works. Morgan Barnes is always good, so it's no surprise to see his heavy-duty kinetic sculptures among the show's true standouts. Ditto for Colin Livingston, whose marvelous neo-pop "I Really Care About This" is seen at left.
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Place will be on display in the Phillip J. Steele Gallery through June 10.