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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Lifting the Mood

In recent times, my life has been somewhat of a downer.  Shall we lift the mood a bit with a few of my favorite selections from gallery shows I attended in the last few weeks?

Rob Melor, The Sculptor Visits, acrylic on canvas over panel, 64 x 48, Walker Fine Art.

Lola Montejo, A Balance Between Yesterday and Today, oil on canvas, 42 x 52, William Havu Gallery.

Rielly Marques, M.A. & A.N., acrylic on canvas, Center For Visual Art (CVA) – Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Pamela Gilmor Hake, Defining Marks, acrylic paint and acrylic ink on canvas, 24 x 20, Sync Gallery.

Chris Hudson, Lemon – Aid, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 54, Core New Art Space.

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Friday Night Gala

Jan van Hemessen, Portrain of Elizabeth, Cout Fool of Anne of Hungary, oil paint, 25 1/2 x 22, 1525.

Last night I attended the Denver Art Museum’s annual gala held in conjunction with the opening of Saints, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks.  The museum dropped the black-tie dress code in favor of cocktail attire.  There were a few men in tuxedos and a number of women in floor-length taffeta ball gowns, but most men wore suits or sport coats while the women chose cocktail dresses with sequins being a central theme. As expected, there were a few guys wearing jeans, t-shirts and sneakers.  Many of the high-end gallery owners were there along with the local oil heiresses and the usual suspects from the Denver art scene.

The exhibit offers a look into the specific subjects and styles adopted by artists in the Southern Netherlands between the 15th and 17th centuries.  Works by Hans Memling, Jan Gossaert, Jan and Catharina van Hemessen, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, and Anthony van Dyck are on display.  Almost all the art is on loan from the Belgium-based Phoebus Foundation.

My friend, Sharon, attended the event with me.  She’s an artist who shows at one of the high-end commercial galleries in town and teaches art history and print making at a local university.  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon’s view of the artwork.  She’s sees things in paintings I don’t see and she uses her knowledge of art history to set the social and political context of the time.

We spent two hours touring the exhibit before calling it a night.  I dropped Sharon off at her house before picking up glazed donut holes to celebrate my second week of retirement. After a little Netflix I headed to bed.

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Back to Normal

Friday night was not as exciting as last Friday.  While I did hit the galleries, I didn’t have a conversation with a stoned socialite/fashionista or get invited to any parties.  It was simply a night about the art and conversations with artists.  I ended the night with a slice of bacon and potato pizza at Pie Hole followed by donuts from Voodoo Donuts.

Here are a few favorites selections.

Deja Vu, an installation by Bug at Pirate Contemporary Art.

Jen Starling, Free Agent of the Sublime, charcoal collage, 2022, Pirate Contemporary Art.

Lisa von Koch, These Troublesome Times, India ink on panel, Edge Gallery.

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A Multimedia Evening

Miss Y texted on Friday afternoon.  I saw her briefly at the Pride Parade in June as her contingent marched by.  She said she would be in touch.  We hadn’t hung out in over a year. Life got in the way until Friday.  Miss Y wanted to accompany me if I was venturing out to the galleries.  I called her to firm up plans for meeting on her side of town.  In the brief conversation, I learned her transgendered niece committed suicide a few weeks ago.  Her family was devasted. Her niece was finishing her Ph.D. in a college town in Kansas and somehow lost the will to live.  I warned Miss Y I was planning on stopping by a gallery to see her ex-husband’s latest work.  She was up for seeing her ex. Time seems to have partially healed the wounds of divorce.

We met at the co-ops in Lakewood.  Our first stop was Core New Art Space to see Julie Vaught’s new show, which is a multimedia presentation mostly consisting of pictures taken by an iPhone and manipulated in a software program.  The piece is a commentary on abusive relationships and the journey to survive after one escapes.  A few of the photos feature a topless woman.  The artist is a single mother of 2 as well as a teacher in a local public school district.  Someone complained to the district superintendent because, in their misguided opinion, the piece was about supporting a BDSM lifestyle.  Clearly, the complainer does not understand what a BDSM lifestyle is because there was nothing in the presentation that represented BDSM.  The school board deemed Julie was simply exercising her First Amendment rights.  It’s a powerful display.  One needs to read the included text as there is no artist statement. 

We stopped in all the galleries in the building.  Edge gallery also has a multimedia presentation.  This one stopped us in our tracks.  The gallery artists each contributed to the show which is a commentary on relentlessly escalating gun violence.  Part of the installation is a mockup of a classroom amid a gun violence episode.  Miss Y fled the gallery. I understood her action when I saw the classroom. Her niece shot herself with a handgun. This is very a powerful exhibit, but it will undoubtedly upset many people.

The final stop of the night was Pirate Contemporary Art for yet another multimedia installation.  Catalyst 2,000,000 is based on a previous installation and performance by the artist, Charles Livingston, which comments on how a repeated action is intended to create a meditative state.  The installation includes a series of stark mono-prints which are expertly done.  A sole performance will take place next Friday night.

After Pirate, Miss Y and I chatted in the parking lot.  Her relationship with T is going well.  They went through several rocky patches but have gotten into a grove that suits them.  Miss Y is happy.  She’s been unemployed for a year but has a promising interview next week.  We made the usual promises of staying in touch along with doing future gallery tours together.  We’ll see if life gets in the way again.

As I drove back into the city on the 6th Avenue highway, I was treated to a spectacular lightning show from an approaching summer storm which would soon consume most of the city.  The dark cloudy sky was continuously lit up by the lightning, which reminded me of an abstract fireworks display.  One last multimedia presentation for the night.  I managed to pull into my garage just as the first few raindrops began to fall.  The cat magically appeared by the French doors in the family room.  I let the cat in leaving the door open to enjoy a cool breeze from the downpour outside.  I continued to binge Kleo on Netflix.  The cat sooned joined me on the sofa after he refreshed himself with food and drink.

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Monsoon season has started here.  Rain started in the late afternoon and continued into the evening.  I attended a friend’s art opening in the western suburbs before stopping by Bruce’s Pridefest party.  The rain stopped while I was in the gallery.  Mother Nature rewarded us with a double rainbow over city.  A fitting way to kick off Pride weekend given the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe, which seem to be providing the catalyst for throwing same-sex marriage under the bus next.

I arrived at Bruce’s party a little before 9.  I was the last guest to arrive.  As expected, Bruce’s boyfriend and I were thirty years older than most of the other guests.  The guests were mostly gay men and straight women in smart outfits.  I met the most adorable muscle cub with hair in all the right places.  He, along with his husband, were sporting military type haircuts and masculine dress along with black lace-up platform boots with 8-inch stack heels.  Quite the contradiction!  These guys must have been really short as even with 8-inch heels they were shorter than me. 

I had a cocktail and socialized a bit before heading home.  I passed on playing beer pong.  I was home before 11 and in bed soon after.

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An Enjoyable Evening

It was a night where everything aligned to create a most enjoyable evening.  The galleries were packed with patrons who all seemed to be in a good mood. And the art, from a $200 sculpture to a $40,000 painting, was stellar.  Even though the sky was gray and overcast due to a recently arrived cold front, the temperature was still warm enough navigate in shirt sleeves.  As the evening wore on, the increasing winds blew tumbleweeds down the street. 

Friday evening started by meeting Bruce and his guy at Space Gallery to see new offerings from Noelle Phares and Philip Tarlow.  The offerings did not disappoint.  After Space, the guys dropped me off a few blocks north at D’art Gallery before they headed off to drinks and dinner.  D’art’s juried print show is one not to miss.  I walked down the street to Rule after leaving D’art.  Rule was hosting an opening for Martha Hughes, who normally shows at the Rule’s sister gallery in Marfa, Texas.  After Rule, I walked a few blocks back to my car parked across the street from Space.  I was happy to see the gallery packed with a lively crowd. 

I drove out west to see the offerings at the co-ops located near Casa Bonita, the Mexican restaurant made famous by the popular animated television series, South Park.  Core Gallery’s, Architecture of Form Show, is another one not to be missed.  The show is filled with works from local artists, many of whom are pillars of the regional art community.  Nicholas Kremske opened a show of new mixed-media work at the adjacent Next Gallery.  The works are simultaneously haunting and stunning. The Next show is another must see given it showcases the work of a rising star.

Here are a few of my favorites from my gallery tour:

Nicholas Kremske, Tethered, mixed media on board, 48 x 72, Next Gallery.
Noelle Phares, Plume, oil, oil pastel, acrylic and gouache on panel, 40 x 30, Space Gallery.
Martha Hughes, Untitled 1219, oil on canvas, 72 x 72, Rule Gallery.
Phillip Tarlow, Fly Anywhere, oil/collages on canvas, 32 x 42, Space Gallery.
One of the tumbleweeds.

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Recent Favorites

The galleries have been packed in recent weeks.  A combination of stellar offerings and a perceived pandemic end have brought the art community out.  There’s a joy and optimism prevalent in the local art world.  Here are a few favorites I’ve seen over the last few weeks.

Jeff Wenzel, Cyra, mixed media on wood, 72 x 48, 2021, Bitfactory Gallery.
Gavin Benjamin, Old World Luxury 9, photography, fine art canvas and lacquer, 24 x 30, Walker Fine Art.
Walter Barton, The Marton and the Guardians, mixed media installation, Pirate Contemporary Art.
Don Quade, Yves, mixed media on wood, 48 x 48, Walker Fine Art.
Kate McGuinness, untitled, monotype mounted on wood, 8 x 8, 40 West Arts.

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Friday Night Favorites

The galleries were packed on Friday night. The mostly maskless crowd was full of life. I ran into so many people I knew who I hadn’t seen for ages. I ran into JP at the first gallery. We visited two other galleries together before parting ways. There were too many openings in too many different parts of town to visit in one night. I concentrated my efforts on Santa Fe Drive and the Golden Triangle.
Here are a few of my favorites.

Lynn Heitler, Deductive Reasoning, oil on canvas, 72 x 96, Space Gallery.
Mark A Lunning, To Be King, mixed media on wood panel, 20 x 16, Space Gallery.
Sushe Felix, From Sky to Earth, acrylic on panel, 24 x 24, Willaim Havu Gallery.
Kelton Orborn, A Moment is for Forgetting, 37 x 37, acrylic and graphite on canvas, Michael Warren Contemporary.

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Current Favorites

Four of us hit a few of the galleries last night.  The weather had been bitter cold with snow the last few days so not many people were out.  Month of Print is rapidly approaching which means many galleries have already opened their print shows.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Lola Montejo, Hereafter 12, oil monotype, 35.5 x 30, Space Gallery.
Catherine Shuman Miller, Not So Fast, oil and watercolor monotype, 47 x 62, Space Gallery.
Taiko Chandler, On and On #115, oil monotype, 32 x 43.5, Space Gallery.
Heidi Jung, Artichoke, sumi ink and charcoal on mylar mounted to panel, 30 x 20, Michael Warren Contemporary.
Quintin Gonzalez, Fight Girl II, acrylic on canvas, 46″ diameter, Michael Warren Contemporary.

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Four Openings in Four Hours

There were too many art openings to attend on Friday night so I hit the ones I knew would not disappoint. I started at Space Gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District. My second stop was Walker Fine Art in the Golden Triangle. My third stop was also in the Golden Triangle at the Denver Art Museum for the opening of Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France. After seeing the exhibit the museum offered drinks and European-inspired small plates for an after exhibit snack. Vaccination was required for entrance so no masks were required. It was a festive event. The final stop of the night was John Davenport’s new exhibit at Pirate Contemporary Art in Lakewood. I left my house at 5:30 and returned at 9:30. Four venues in four hours. What a great night!

Steven Baris, Never the Same Space Twice A1, oil on mylar, 14 x 14, Space Gallery.
Mark Penner-Howell, Blessing with Birds, mixed media on wood, 24 x 21, Walker Fine Art.
Edward Hopper, Les Pont des Arts, oil on canvas, 1907. On view at Denver Museum of Art (on load from the Whitney Museum of American Art).
Butternut squash risotto at the DAM.
John Davenport, Self Portrait, vintage diptych, GSP analog silver print, 55 x 77, Pirate Contemporary Art.

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