A few years ago, Sally Perisho was in the driver’s seat at the Center for Visual Art, and in that role was one of the city’s chief movers-and-shakers when it came to art. But since she was forced out of her choice gig by a bureaucrat in Metro State’s administration (see the second item in this column), her aesthetic vision has mostly been denied to the community.
It could be said that she exists in a kind of curator’s Diaspora, alongside other former exhibition-organizers like Ron Judish and Kathy Andrews, among others. But every once in a while Perisho will still put together a show, as she’s done right now with Abstraction at the Sandra Phillips Gallery, one of the funkiest -- and interesting -- spots on the Santa Fe Drive gallery strip.
For Abstraction, Perisho has included works from the 1970s by Virginia Maitland, with some of the last of her color field paintings among them; marvelous though rarely seen oils by Ania Gola-Kumor (pictured); architectonic ceramics by Bebe Alexander -- Emmett Culligan’s step-mother; pieces by Houston’s Jane Troyer; and, finishing out the group, classic modernist compositions by Mel Strawn.
One of the best-known artists in Colorado, Strawn began his long career in California back in the 1950s, moving here in the 1970s and continuing to work at his studio in Salida up to the present day. A compilation of his half century of accomplishments is the subject of a recently published book that’s for sale at the gallery. (There will be a book-signing there at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 31.)
Abstraction opens tonight, Friday, May 16, with a reception scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the gallery at 744 Santa Fe. The artists, along with curator Perisho, will be in attendance. For information, call 303-573-5969 or go to www.thesandraphillipsgallery.com --Michael Paglia