Appreciation for Denver artist Mark Penner-Howells clever paintings, which expertly mix pop images with ironic underlying themes in a colorful palette and humorous tone, has been gaining momentum over the past few years, but with his latest show The New Normal, which opens tonight at Space Gallery hes raising the bar.
The work Im doing now is a little more demanding and engaging. Its less decorative, less friendly for furniture and more indicative of me trying to get some ideas out, Howell says. It has to do with how Ive been feeling overwhelmed with all this fallout from the economy and how it affected me personally. Thats the shadow that is cast, and its a bummer that follows a lot of us around, though we try to make the best of it.
With that as a background, I decided to tackle thoughts about money and ownership and our sense of well-being thats informed by ideas of personal wealth. Its also about how conversation is controlled by a handful of media outlets, how its all dumped down and were given two choices for everything. And then I let that stuff filter through my own weird, idiosyncratic imagery that I carry around in my head.
The New Normal opens with a reception tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at Space, 765 Santa Fe Drive; a First Friday open house follows to-morrow at the same time. The show continues through January 29; for information, visit www.spacegallery.org or call 720-904-1088.
Jan. 6-29, 2011