Up front at Space Gallery is an impressive solo, William Stoehr: Icons, which comprises large portraits done in a wildly expressionist style. Stoehr blows up women's faces to gigantic proportions using an action-painting approach, smearing the pigments in rapidly laid-down strokes. Despite the abstract shapes of these smears, Stoehr orchestrates them so that they carry out the recognizable features of the individual faces.
In most, the sitter stares unblinkingly out at the viewer, making the experience all but confrontational. And though each woman is different — there are three depicted — all of the paintings are unified stylistically and employ related palettes. With all of them hung together, the show becomes a coherent installation that's nothing short of monumental.
Behind, in the niche to the right, is another solo, Jason Lee Gimbel, made up of a small selection of paintings and drawings. The best of the paintings — and all the drawings — are very good. Like Stoehr, Gimbel creates work at the intersection of abstraction and representation. His most recent paintings, "Woman and the Green Chair" and "Femme Assise dans un Fauteuil" (pictured), are absolute knockouts. Gimbel has said that the inspiration for these pieces was a couple of old green chairs kicking around the RedLine figure-drawing workshops, as well as Picasso's taste for women and green chairs.
Across from the Gimbels are a group of posthumous prints based on paintings by the late Mark Travis. For the last decade of his life, Travis turned to the depiction of the nude female done abstractly, with the model's curves determining the lines in his paintings.
Lastly is Rafa Jenn, who is represented by beautifully done colored-pencil drawings of retro pinup girls. Jenn is a pseudonym for a well-known local artist who has chosen to remain anonymous.
And this just in: Space director Michael Burnett has broken ground on a new structure at Fourth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. The project, which promises to be elegant, was conceived by Owen Beard from Solid, a Denver-based design and construction firm.
The Stoehr and Gimbel shows — with extras from Travis and Jenn — run through March 15 at Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, www.spacegallery.org.
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