Exploring fine art in Mile High City
My museum i.d. got a work out at the Denver MCA where we took in the Marilyn Minter show, Pretty Dirty. I am a huge fan of her work. I love her mash up of beauty and the grotesque as commentary on the fashion industry’s definition of the feminine ideal. She is a feminist after my own heart as she brings the average viewer to places they ordinarily wouldn’t entertain, to give them a glimpse behind the façade of beauty to reveal its hidden cruelties. I particularly responded to her videos and photo realist paintings.
Me in front of Marilyn Minter’s “Kicksilver,” 2009, Wallpaper at the Denver MCA.
Alas my i.d. did not charm the nice folks at the Denver Botanic Gardens into waiving the entry fee, but the visit was worth every penny. Flowers were blooming everywhere, each garden more spectacular than the other. A highlight of the visit was Deborah Butterfield’s The Nature of Horses sculptures placed throughout the venue. Their gestural grace and beauty translated in painted bronze cast from scavenged wood bring to my mind the ghostly “Performed Invisbility” works of Anna Mendietta. There was a wonderful video of her making these magnificent works that is a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes for an artist to create work, from inspiration to execution.
Entrance to Denver Botanic Garden
The gardens were a riot of color
“Crane,” 2006 by Deborah Butterfield
The art scene is hopping in Mile High City. It seems you can’t throw a rock without hitting a gallery everywhere you go, but a great concentration can be found on Broadway and Santa Fe Drive.
We visited several galleries highlighted by Solace, a show of sculptural forms of household objects dipped in latex and shaped into wall hangings by Amber Cobb at the Gildar Gallery on Broadway. Cobb’s wall hung works, common household objects coated in latex and hung on walls were at times grotesque, mysterious, sensuous and evocative. Solace is a show worth seeing in my humble opinion. Also on display were fanciful ceramic horses and other figurines one would have in a child’s bedroom that were dripped with white plastic. My favorite in this series was Transitional Figure 8, a figurine seemingly dripping in white plastic. I responded to the way the liquid plastic had dried on and off the piece, leaving what looked like sticky drips in columns off the piece that pooled around and under it. In my opinion the drippy, white plastic coatings of these objects evoke the sugar-coated, sweet, fond memories figurines such as these would evoke if one were to stumble upon them in an attic box or at a jumble sale.
“Transitional Figure 8” by Amber Cobb on view at the Gildar Gallery
We cruised down Santa Fe Drive, another gallery hotbed. There truly is something for everyone’s fine art taste on this boulevard. I enjoyed visiting Mai Wyn Fine Art. Mai Wyn Schantz was there creating one of her wonderful oil on stainless steel portraits of animals. She was in the process of setting up one of the steel “canvases” with masking tape and was very generous with her time and let me take photos of her studio. The gallery had many fine works to enjoy as well.
Mai Wyn Schantz preparing one of her steel canvases for painting an animal portrait.
Mai Wyn Schantz in her studio.
Whenever we are in the area we always stop in Space Gallery. Housed in an industrial style contemporary structure, the exhibition space and façade is as interesting as the art showcased within. The space is a great venue for events as well as exhibition space for fine art. This time I enjoyed paintings and sculptural forms. In particular I was attracted to paintings by Betsy Stewart.
To be totally biased, my favorite 2 stops were at abecedarian gallery for the Content: Artifact show, featuring one of Bill’s 3D printed sculptural works, “Celluose” on the exhibition poster, and Mike Wright Gallery, that had a show that ran from July until September entitled “Paperwork” that featured three of Bill’s large format panorama images from his Borderlands series. We had very nice visits at both galleries and it was so nice to see people as excited about Bill’s work as me.
Entrance to abecedarian gallery, note the image is of Bill’s 3D printed sculpture “Cellulose!” 😀
Works of “Danze” exhibit on view at Mike Wright Gallery during our visit.
Bill firmly believes that Denver, Colorado is the place to be at the moment for fine artists. It was fun having him squire me around and show me his favorite places.