Recent Recommendations for Visual Art Source

Continuing through January 2, 2010
Walker Fine Art
Denver, Colorado

For Sabin Aell, everything that exists is based on a formula, an undefined code she used to create her mother and father series of images for “Moonwalk.” Based on a pair of echoing forms, these ethereal works are not twins, but opposites. All are 43″ x 33″ and placed in recycled wood frames. Each began with a photograph of plant life. The father series is a negative – a whitish image on a black background. The image is sealed and the artist then paints by hand thousands of short dashes across the image. She interprets the pattern from the background image as a code. That code reappears in the mother series, which begins as a photograph of a finished father piece. The artist then digitally removes the black and enhances the image, resulting in a lighter, grainier opposite. The title of the show seems disconnected, except for the artist’s statement hung on the wall: “Is the moon moving towards or away from us? Is beauty approaching us or are we stepping closer?” Aell says the mother series reflects our aspiration to find beauty and the father series the movement of beauty towards us. Perhaps this idea would seem clearer had the works been hung in pairs. Nevertheless beauty is evident. (Image: Sabin Aell, “Moonwalk 1| father series 1.1,” 2009,  48 1/2″ x 38 1/2,” mixed media photography, at Walker Fine Art.)

Jessica Stockholder, “Swiss Cheese Field 17,” 2009, monoprint, at Robischon Gallery.        Jessica Stockholder’s work is often described as “paintings in space.” Her dimensional “Swiss Cheese Field” series of monoprints might then be described as compressed sculpture. Not compressed into a flat 2-dimensional form, because the works remain multi-dimensional, but they are designed to respond to a wall in the way a painting does. All of Stockholder’s formalism, use of color and her historic foundation are present in these works, which combine mark making, printmaking, painting, drawing, wood engraving, photography with found ready-made objects such as Styrofoam, fake fur and plastic. The large black swatches of fluid color in “15 and 17” echo back to abstract expressionism and Clyfford Still in particular. Color remains as important to the artist in these works as it is in her sculptures, two of which are also on display, “Untitled” and “Two Frames.” Stockholder is interested in the illusion of weight and space. Using a hydraulic press to create these monoprints left the essence of weight and pressure in the work, much the way that her use of light bulbs creates a disruption of stillness. Electricity appears static, but is actually moving. In this way she is able to disrupt viewers’ expectations (at Robischon Gallery, Denver, Colorado). (Image: Jessica Stockholder, “Swiss Cheese Field 17,” 2009, monoprint, at Robischon Gallery.)

Continuing through December, 2009
Van Straaten Gallery
Denver, Colorado
There is something playful about the work of Homare Ikeda. His effusive and colorful paintings are filled with layers of organic shapes and symbols. Ikeda’s current exhibition features a selection of large acrylic, wax and oil paintings that are vivid and of the same intense tonality. They often feature clunky, pseudo organic shapes and layouts that are intentionally off-balance and uneven in a Wabi Sabi aesthetic. The work is lyrical and dark. The exhibition also features watercolor, ink drawings and monotypes through which the artist continues to transform nature into art. Exploring contrasts of yin and yang, thick and thin, open and closed, the artist creates atmospheric and primordial vertical “landscapes.” Some appear to be underwater, others ethereal and still others almost microscopic. Ikeda creates art that fuses Neo-expressionism with Pat Steir-like drips, along with Japanese influences through line, form, and composition. The result is a compelling and layered visual exploration.(Image: Homare Ikeda, “Ima (now),” 2009, acrylic on canvas, at Van Straaten Gallery.)

Continuing through November 12, 2009
Colorado College, I.D.E.A. Space
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Fifty-six diverse works of printmaking created by women artists since the 1970s come together in “Women’s Work: Contemporary Women Printmakers.” Happily, they explore more than gender issues. The diversity of processes and techniques utilized by artists from Helen Frankenthaler and Agnes Martin, through Louise Bourgeois and Barbara Kruger, and on to Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker reflect and convey cultural and social themes explored by contemporary art over the past forty years through conceptual strategies. Color, geometry, drawing, painting are all combined and recombined. This exhibition is, in part, a romp through art history from Abstract Expressionism to recent works of a more narrative and fictive nature, to pop art’s consumer and advertising culture, to questioning the position and role of women in society. The venue also explores a breadth and variety of printmaking approaches. The gallery provides an informative handout defining printmaking terms from aquatint to watermark, which is presented in a helpful but unobtrusive manner that is not distracting. Younger contemporary artists as seen here are pushing these traditional techniques forward by combining styles and methods to create forms of expression that relate to the issues of our time. (Image: Hung Liu, ‘Official Portraits: Citizen,’ 2006, lithograph with collage, edition 12/30.)

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