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Pretty as a Pixel

What might look to you like painted bricks, sticks, flowerpots and stones have deeper meanings for artist Thomas Scharfenberg. He calls these colorful, recycled found objects “physical pixels” and installs them in unexpected niches and seemingly random locations around the city. He sees them as “glitches” — bridges between the real and digital worlds — and has even mapped some of them into “city-scale connect-the-dot drawings.” Each piece reveals a strange beauty all its own; when installed in a group, they take on a primal, almost fetishistic tone. Scharfenberg’s show Physical Pixel, a micro-world within the larger scheme of things, opens today at Lowbrow Denver. It’s a good match, too: Lowbrow’s Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch practice their own version of guerrilla art as part of the Ladies Fancywork Society. “I feel like we truly see each other as equals, eye to eye, and are energized about progressing and experimenting,” Scharfenberg says.

He begins by searching everything from “city scenes and old industrial neighborhoods to wild mountain meadows and waterfalls” for raw materials: “I then hand-treat, paint, coat and seal my findings with latex and acrylic, using clashing ‘glitch’ geometric pixilated patterning and referential electro-cyber coloring” to ready them for organized placement.

Any of the works at Lowbrow can be yours for a nominal suggested donation, Scharfenberg notes; he hopes that new pixel owners will use them to create their own street installations. Meet the artist and pick up a pixel at a reception tonight at 7 p.m. at Lowbrow, 250 Broadway; works will remain on view through the end of August. For details, visit lowbrowdenver.com or the Physical Pixel Facebook event page.
Fri., Aug. 2, 7 p.m.; Aug. 2-30, 2013

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