In the large front space at Michael Warren Contemporary, director Mike McClung is presenting a sweet little solo called Equations: New Paintings by Teresa Booth Brown. The show follows Brown’s sensational drawing exhibit last fall at Ironton Gallery; that venue has since closed, to be replaced by the Colorado Photographic Art Center, which opens February 6.
The Michael Warren show is related to the one at Ironton, but also distinctly different. Though Brown’s taste for straightforward abstract forms presented in stripped-down relationships to one another is seen in both types of work, the distinctions between drawing and painting inevitably lead to very different results.
Equations comprises simple, small abstracts — most only one foot square, with a few measuring one foot by one and a half feet. Brown begins by laying collage elements onto a wooden panel. She then employs oil paints, covering and changing the arrangements previously established by the collages. Her method is to allow compositions to emerge, and she’ll turn the wooden panel upside down or sideways if she thinks that what’s called for. Brown embraces a limited vocabulary of forms — rectangles, triangles and squares — to create individual works, which she sometimes puts together with others that have similar or complementary compositions to make diptychs or triptychs. But hung all together and at the same height, as they are at Michael Warren, they actually function as a mural.
A distinction I would make between the drawings previously seen at Ironton and the paintings now at Michael Warren is that as similar as they are conceptually, they represent entirely different traditions. The former, with all their appropriated content, were examples of neo-dada, while the latter represent a kind of post-geometric abstraction filled out with would-be straight lines and rectilinear bars.
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In the rest of the Michael Warren space, McClung has come up with a group show that really holds together. Simply titled Gallery Artists, it features a selection of works by artists who are — you guessed it — represented by the gallery. Just beyond the Browns is a suite of Andrew Roberts-Gray’s painted wall reliefs; on the other side of the space is a large suspended wire construction by Haley Bates.
Nearby are more suspension sculptures; these pieces, by John Garrett, are really intriguing “weavings” made of unlikely materials such as shattered CDs or broken-up records. The last part of the display includes paintings by Raul de la Torre, Angela Berkson, Meredith Nemirov and Robert Brinker, among others.
The two exhibits run through February 13 at Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive. Call 303-667-2447 or go to michaelwarrencontemporary.com for information.