Art Review

Review: Psychedelic Circles and Natural Spheres at Goodwin Fine Art

Goodwin Fine Art is hosting an elegant solo show in its main gallery and a tidy little exhibit in the back, with both on view right up to New Year’s Eve.

The show in the front, Ashley Eliza Williams: Convergence, comprises ethereal works depicting an imaginary idealized world. Williams typically employs multiples of recognizable subjects as the components of her compositions; known for her hyperrealist renditions of nature, she has depicted rocks, clouds and other natural elements and phenomenon. For this recent series, created during her residency at Anderson Ranch Arts Center earlier this year, she takes off on the idea of a sphere. This lends the paintings an abstract presence that subtly contrasts with her otherwise realistic approach.

Her starting concept: Many things in the natural world, most obviously the earth, have been self-organized into spheres. Williams fancifully depicts various iterations of that idea, using birds, wisps of clouds and other natural objects.

Williams began studying spheres by producing small informal studies on paper, some in gouache and others in oil. Her studies, hung in grids on opposing gallery walls, explore different color combinations and themes. Those works on paper inform her paintings, which, unlike the studies, are meticulously executed. In some paintings, she sets a large sphere against a recessive ground. Among these are “Phototaxis,” in which insects circle a porch light radiating a moon-like glow; and “Equilibrium,” in which wispy concentric circles – clouds, feathers or fur – float above a frozen landscape. The title piece, “Convergence,” portrays a loosely organized circle of tiny birds in a cloud-filled sky.
Goodwin Fine Art director Tina Goodwin has paired the Williams outing with a small sampling of prints, Barbara Takenaga: Lithographs, in the gallery's back room. These prints were expertly pulled by Bud Shark at Shark’s Ink in Lyons.

Takenaga composed complex patterns out of small colored dots and lines, arranged in bands, some of which are concentric. Juxtaposed contrasting shades almost vibrate, creating a psychedelic effect. In a few cases, Takenaga applied colors by hand after the piece was printed. In others she applied pearlescent powder. Her prints are dazzlingly bold, displaying flourishes reminiscent of op art.

The Williams and Takenaga shows at Goodwin Fine Art close on December 31. The gallery is located at 1255 Delaware; for holiday hours and more information, call 303-573-1255 or go to

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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