Art Review

Fire and wood inspire a pairing at Sandra Phillips Gallery

With all of the fires and floods in the past six months, living in Colorado has had, if not a biblical quality, than at least the character of a National Geographic Channel special. Fire, as evoked by wood, is the anchor for an inspired pairing titled Truth and Consequences, now at the Sandra Phillips Gallery. Organized by director Sandra Phillips, the show comprises small- to mid-sized sculptures by Carley Warren and intimately detailed works on paper by Anna Kaye.

Warren is a longtime conceptual sculptor, while Kaye is a photo-realist known for her drawings. And although each works in her own distinctive style, they are connected here by one aesthetic link: wood.

Wood, in the form of chunks, boards and scraps, has long been a prime material for Warren, who leaves it in its natural colors and combines it with metal mounts and supports. An elegant example is "Kindling 3," in which tangles of wood scraps ordinarily used to start fires are instead mounted on dark painted metal rods. The results are so clean as to render them essentially minimal, yet the clutches of broken kindling also give them an unexpected expressive quality.

For Kaye, wood is in the form of burned-up twigs, logs and even still-standing trees. Some are in watercolor, some in charcoal, but the most recent ones are rendered meticulously in pencil. The change of medium allows Kaye to convey even more perfectly the appearance of her subjects. Look closely and you'll see how precisely she has captured the heat-shrunk bark and blistered sap.

Fire has long been of interest to Kaye, so it's not surprising that she would have done "Relic" (pictured), which is dedicated to potter Lou Wynne and her late husband, painter Al Wynne. As many know, their combined works were destroyed when their Black Forest home and studio were lost to fire this past summer. This tragedy has resonated in the community.

Truth and Consequences runs through November 2 at Sandra Phillips Gallery, 420 West 12th Avenue. Call 303-573-5969 or go to to learn more.