Art Review

Tracy and Sushe Felix find Common Ground at the Havu Gallery

The William Havu Gallery (1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com) specializes in showcasing classic Colorado artists. That characteristic is exemplified in Tracy Felix and Sushe Felix: Common Ground. A husband-and-wife team, the Felixes don't work collaboratively, but their work is interrelated.

In the front spaces at Havu is a solid selection of Tracy's signature landscapes; while the mountains are reduced to cartoony caricatures, they also refer back to Colorado's great regionalist tradition. Tracy uses simple forms, creating drama through the bold depictions of the mountains and the even more emphatic handling of the clouds. The show is supplemented by a quartet of quasi-cubist views that push Tracy's landscapes toward abstraction. "Skyscraper" (pictured), for instance, is a surrealistic rendition of a Front Range peak.

Sushe is represented by her own retro mountain vistas, and while there is clearly a connection to Tracy's patented style, there's also a whiff of 1930s transcendentalism, in particular the work of Raymond Jonson. Sushe has done some gorgeous acrylics, demonstrating her admirable control with a brush, along with some astounding drawings that look like Broadmoor Academy prints. Unlike her husband, Sushe has never settled into a singular approach and has instead created work in a wide range of styles. This aesthetic diversity is easy to see in a second group of pieces hung under the mezzanine. These are constructivist abstractions that have no relationship whatsoever with her landscapes, aside from being every bit as good.

Scattered throughout the gallery's spaces are a small group of tabletop sculptures in the eponymous exhibit David Mazza. As could be expected from this young artist, the pieces are fabulous. Some are much simpler formally than his earlier work. I especially liked his use of mixed materials and different finishes.

The shows at Havu close on May 29.

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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