Right out of art school, sculptor Melanie Hoshiko hit a home run with the solo show Traverse, presented at the Gallery at Guiry's in the Ballpark neighborhood. Hoshiko delved into neo-minimalism with chaste, three-dimensional wood constructions that read like two-dimensional paintings. Her use of modernist color combinations such as red and black or black and white, were quite effective, as was her meticulous craftsmanship. Though she has been relatively unknown until now, our best guess is that Hoshiko's distinctive style will soon become a classic on the Denver art scene's hit parade.

The Singer Gallery at the Mizel Arts Center is little more than a good-sized room at the Jewish Community Center in Hilltop, but it's one of the best places in town to see contemporary art. Last year the gallery was taken over by Simon Zalkind, who began to fill the Singer's calendar with interesting shows -- and one of the most compelling was Fragments, which featured the work of the world-famous Colorado artist John DeAndrea, renowned for his super-realistic depictions of the female figure ("Linda," one of the Denver Art Museum's most well-known pieces, is his creation). For Fragments, Zalkind mostly chose sculptures that were in an experimental state, such as the dozens of heads DeAndrea used as study models and placed on shelves. The show also included some of DeAndrea's latest bronze busts, which were finished traditionally rather than painted naturalistically, as in his earlier, signature style.
The Singer Gallery at the Mizel Arts Center is little more than a good-sized room at the Jewish Community Center in Hilltop, but it's one of the best places in town to see contemporary art. Last year the gallery was taken over by Simon Zalkind, who began to fill the Singer's calendar with interesting shows -- and one of the most compelling was Fragments, which featured the work of the world-famous Colorado artist John DeAndrea, renowned for his super-realistic depictions of the female figure ("Linda," one of the Denver Art Museum's most well-known pieces, is his creation). For Fragments, Zalkind mostly chose sculptures that were in an experimental state, such as the dozens of heads DeAndrea used as study models and placed on shelves. The show also included some of DeAndrea's latest bronze busts, which were finished traditionally rather than painted naturalistically, as in his earlier, signature style.
Since graduating from art school five years ago, sculptor Bryan Andrews had been trying to break into the big leagues of Denver art -- and failing. Then everything came together for him, including a chance for a solo outing at the prestigious Artyard, the city's most respected sculpture gallery. Andrews seized the opportunity by filling the show, titled Dopplegangers, with the best work he had ever done. Most of the pieces were made of wood, some of it blackened by having been set on fire. The work had a distinctive style that seemed to combine one part Ancient Norse funereal artifact, one part New York School sculpture and one part biker chainsaw tree carving. After Dopplegangers, Andrews -- previously known to only a few -- became a well-known player in the game we call the local art scene.

Since graduating from art school five years ago, sculptor Bryan Andrews had been trying to break into the big leagues of Denver art -- and failing. Then everything came together for him, including a chance for a solo outing at the prestigious Artyard, the city's most respected sculpture gallery. Andrews seized the opportunity by filling the show, titled Dopplegangers, with the best work he had ever done. Most of the pieces were made of wood, some of it blackened by having been set on fire. The work had a distinctive style that seemed to combine one part Ancient Norse funereal artifact, one part New York School sculpture and one part biker chainsaw tree carving. After Dopplegangers, Andrews -- previously known to only a few -- became a well-known player in the game we call the local art scene.

Getting thirsty during hour three of that cinema epic about four generations of North Dakota wheat farmers? Slide on out to the concession stand at the Chez Artiste and order up an icy Italian soda (aka "phosphate") -- sparkling water flavored with the syrup of your choice. Among the flavors: coconut, peach, hazelnut, black currant and almond. Available since March, these coolers have become hot sellers at $2.50 and represent a happy alternative to the usual colas and lemonades. Ask the clerk to add a shot of milk and -- presto! -- you've got an "egg cream."

Getting thirsty during hour three of that cinema epic about four generations of North Dakota wheat farmers? Slide on out to the concession stand at the Chez Artiste and order up an icy Italian soda (aka "phosphate") -- sparkling water flavored with the syrup of your choice. Among the flavors: coconut, peach, hazelnut, black currant and almond. Available since March, these coolers have become hot sellers at $2.50 and represent a happy alternative to the usual colas and lemonades. Ask the clerk to add a shot of milk and -- presto! -- you've got an "egg cream."

Among the pleasures of Rule Modern and Contemporary Gallery on Broadway are the many New York artists featured there. True, most are little known, but occasionally director Robin Rule is able to snag one of the greats, as she did when an acknowledged master of minimalism was a part of a duet at her venue last summer. The impressive Carl Andre and Melissa Kretschmer combined the classic modular floor sculptures that made Andre a legend in art history with some extremely fine tar paintings done on stacks of glass by his current girlfriend, the much-younger Melissa Kretschmer. Though Andre is considered one of the greatest living sculptors in America (if only for his contributions from the 1960s, when he helped invent minimalism), he is also controversial -- and in a way most artists aren't. He was tried and ultimately acquitted of murder in the death in 1985 of his wife, feminist artist Ana Mendieta. The scandal quotient surely helped spike attendance at the show, but the real stars were the three somber sculptures that Andre had arranged on the floor.

Among the pleasures of Rule Modern and Contemporary Gallery on Broadway are the many New York artists featured there. True, most are little known, but occasionally director Robin Rule is able to snag one of the greats, as she did when an acknowledged master of minimalism was a part of a duet at her venue last summer. The impressive Carl Andre and Melissa Kretschmer combined the classic modular floor sculptures that made Andre a legend in art history with some extremely fine tar paintings done on stacks of glass by his current girlfriend, the much-younger Melissa Kretschmer. Though Andre is considered one of the greatest living sculptors in America (if only for his contributions from the 1960s, when he helped invent minimalism), he is also controversial -- and in a way most artists aren't. He was tried and ultimately acquitted of murder in the death in 1985 of his wife, feminist artist Ana Mendieta. The scandal quotient surely helped spike attendance at the show, but the real stars were the three somber sculptures that Andre had arranged on the floor.

Famous California artist Alison Saar served as this year's juror for the biennial North American Sculpture Exhibition at Foothills Art Center in Golden. For better or worse, Saar, a wood-carver, mostly chose other sculptors working in wood; standouts here were a number of Colorado artists including Alex Harrison, Bryan Andrews and Craig Robb, all of whom work with logs or lumber. Also nice were the sculptures created in other materials by Colorado artists Peter Durst, Tai Pomara, Carol Sharpe and Sue Quinlan. The size and weight of many sculptures means that they're rarely the subject of group shows, so it's nice that we can count on the NASE at Foothills to fill the bill every two years.

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