Visual Arts

Robischon Gallery's Month of Photography Exhibit Focuses on the Figurative

This year, the Month of Photography has expanded so that it not only fills March, but runs all the way through April. In fact, the last of the shows, including the contemplative Far Between at Robischon Gallery, will be on view into May.

Typically, Robischon presents sets of related solos, and in a sense, that’s what Far Between is, at least in places. The theme is figurative, with nearly everything included being a depiction of a person.

The show starts off with photos of men by Maria Friberg, who is internationally known. In “Way Ahead,” two men are seen from behind walking in the fog; the moody image suggests alienation and aloneness.

Halim Al Karim’s remarkable monumental photos are displayed beyond. The selection samples two series. The first is “Eternal Love,” which includes a spectacular collodion print of a woman’s face that, aside from its gigantic size, looks like an antique photo. The second group comprises the “White Ash” photos, full-sized standing portraits that have a white-on-white effect, so that the figures in them look like vapors. Al Karim has long been interested in exploring the idea of people being hidden, reflecting his own experiences in his native Iraq.

The adjacent spaces include a room full of Christine Buchsbaum’s enigmatic and poetic color photos. There’s something of a perilous edge to several of them, like “Optimism Waning” (pictured), in which the sea is flowing into an abandoned building.

In the spaces to the right are several digitally manipulated photos. One, by Chi Peng, depicts a sky full of winged nudes; on the opposite wall are a pair of equally fantastic photos by Wang Ningde that refer to playgrounds. Nearby are three of David Zimmer’s classic bird videos encased in bell jars; these just never get old. And then there’s a single image by Ruud van Empel, in which the artist has placed each element where he wants it using a software program.

Back toward the rear gallery is a large assortment of works by the artist pair Kahn + Selesnick depicting different characters from their imaginary circus, “Truppe Fledermaus.” In these photos, live models in elaborate costumes are enhanced by digital alterations. In “King of Weeds,” a man completely covered in moss and twigs stands menacingly in a flower-filled field.

In addition to Far Between, there’s also a small solo, Sami Al Karim, made up of photo enlargements that stack re-creations of his prison drawings — he was in Abu Ghraib — with images of the Western landscape. They have a wonderful monumentality.

These shows close May 2 at Robischon, 1740 Wazee Street. Call 303-298-7788 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