Richard Thompson Prairie #6

ArtWeek Colorado: Contemporary Art Shows in Denver and Aspen

“Confluence” at William Havu Gallery in Denver is the first of two group shows the gallery will host featuring regional and national artists involved with abstraction and landscape on differing levels, all deeply rooted in modernism. The first artist group, through July 11, includes: Tracy Felix, Monroe Hodder, Joanne Kerrihard, Amy Metier, Sam Scott, and Richard Thompson (below). The gallery mezzanine features small works by Susan Cooper, “Downsize/upscale.”

The works in the show, mostly painting, owe to schools and influences as diverse as post-Impressionism, and cartoon clouds, so prevalent in the West and Southwest. Tracy Felixs stylized modern mountain landscapes are  jovial and playful.  Some of his paintings remind me of Thomas Hart Benton, the  Depression era  regionalist who elongated landscapes in which equally tall fellers frequented courthouses of rural America (and whose painting style briefly intimidated Jackson Pollock).

Tracy Felix was put with this crew of more abstract artists and not in the upcoming part two of “Confluence,” subtitled, “Realism,” although one might ask why, given Felixs representational bent. This second group exhibition will focus on realism and hyper-realism featuring the work of Jeff Aeling, Michael Burrows, Rick Dula, Robert Ecker, Jeanette Pasin Sloan and Laurel Swab.

That landscape realism cant do without Industrial Age modernism remains true in the work of Rick Dula, whose style echoes that of Charles Sheeler. Sheeler painted industrial plants and machines in a flat and precisionist style.  Dula says that Sheelers paintings “were like proud birth announcements for modern industry. My work is more … the obituary… I paint what seems to be vanishing from the modern urban landscape.”

He also paints what is rising  — an entire series of paintings of the Denver Art Museum Hamilton building follows the angular construction in Denvers Golden Triangle. The building was completed 2006. Right: Dulas Cathedral, DAM in progress.
Where William Havu Gallery goes to confluence, Robin Rule Gallery takes a minimal approach to convergence. Two exhibitions opening tomorrow deal with photography and landscape. The first is “Utopic” digital prints by Jason DeMarte. The second is “Landscapes-Studies in Light & Shadow” by  art student Ronnie B. Johnson.
DeMarte combines large-scale color photographs of nature fabricated with commercially produced products and graphic elements to illustrate the connection between a consumer experience and a “natural” one. The work is playful and striking. Johnson on the other hand is hybridizing film and digital photography. He captures the images on both film and digitally then scans the film negatives and produces a digital negative. The work like the tracks below (“Omen”) is then produced using the lush platinum printing process favored by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Edward Weston (we sure hope hes got backers).

One can pass the time quietly at the Aspen Art Museum, if you dont factor the clickclick of heels. Through July 19, “No Sound” is an exhibition that includes silent moving-image work by three generations of artists, working in both Europe and the US. Featuring an eclectic mix of avant-garde film, rarely exhibited early video works, and recent film and video by artists: Doug Aitken, Bas Jan Ader, Marcel Broodthaers, Guy Ben-Ner, Nancy Graves, Henrik Hakansson, David Noonan, Paul Pfeiffer, and Diana Thater, the exhibit creates a space unmoored. The removal of sound pushes the viewer towards an almost hypnotic focus on the work. Exploring the ideas of time and experience is an emerging artist from Colorado, an emerging artist living partly in Boston.

Colorado artist Monica Goldsmith has said she sometimes feels she might have to leave the West to find an audience for her painting. Goldsmith has been painting for eight years and she is halfway through her MFA at the Art Institute of Boston, where shes been nominated for a Dedalus MFA fellowship. A prominent Denver dealer reportedly commented her work was too intellectual or difficult for regional art buyers. It is definitely technically rigorous.

This month she is featured in the Boston Young Contemporaries exhibit at 808 Gallery. Seventy emerging artists from 11 Master of Fine Arts and Post-Baccalaureate programs throughout New England are in the show. Goldsmith is also in Abridged/Abstraction a national juried exhibition of small works selected by Sarah Walker for Good Question Gallery in Milford, PA. Juror Walker said she felt the work represented “a random yet compelling snapshot of people thinking and working abstractly in the early years of this new century.”

Bringing forth strands from Hard edge painting, Goldsmith explores the transitory nature of seen and unseen states, rooted in physics and time. She uses the abacus to explore variables while capturing a flickering moment and suspending it in stasis.

Top Photo: Richard Thompson “Prairie #6” 2008 / 48 x 96 inches / oil on wood
Write us your thoughts about this post. Play nice.