Venus and Mars

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The tattoos illustrate Andrews's theories about color that are also expressed in his sculpture. Rich cobalt blue, for instance, signifies the human soul.

This blue is seen in "Song of the Bluebird," a sculpture in oak, brass, stone and acrylic paint that is just inside the door. It takes the shape of an early cruciform on top of which Andrews has placed a figure of a bird whose wings have been clipped. On either side are two small stones painted blue. "The two blue stones are me and my brother; the bird is my mother," says Andrews. "She has no wings, which were lost in the sacrifice for the blue stones."

Everything in the show has a narrative content, despite its abstract form, but most are about Andrews and his family and his friends. "Paths," for example, is about the options Andrews and his contemporaries faced after graduation, he says, "but they don't know which way to go." The piece is made of six elements. On concrete bases of various heights, Andrews has placed fragments of an old oak beam. Five of the fragments are minimally handled and still retain their original rectangular form, but the sixth has been crudely carved into an androgynous figure.

In a series of three sculptures, Andrews uses the trunk of an elm tree to tell the story of a failed relationship. In "Not Forgotten the Attic," a figure is held tightly in an oddly shaped slot in the log. For "Not Forgotten Destined," two arms with missing hands reach out hopelessly from two square openings in the log. Finally, in "Not Forgotten Safe," the full figure reappears, this time in an opening fit to its contours.

Andrews also has three larger pieces in Artyard's outdoor space. Particularly impressive is "Elders," which consists of three large poles, each topped with a carved finial. The gorgeous surface is the result of scorching the wood. Another piece that has been burned as part of the creative process is "66 Kings," in pine and redwood.

Dopplegangers, Andrews's first important show in a commercial gallery, is a thrilling success. According to Artyard director Peggy Mangold, Andrews is "this year's discovery." And who are we to argue?

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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

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