5280 Home magazine featured the gallery in a feature called “How to Buy Art” in their Spring 2014 issue, which included advice from Denver-based art dealers and consultants.
Research galleries at industry sites such as the Denver Art Dealers Asociation, suggests David Smith, owner and director of the David B. Smith Gallery (pictured). Although the prices aren’t listed online, you’ll get a feel for which galleries’ aesthetics align with yours. Then start visiting your favorites. And don’t get intimidated. Smith says: “This is Denver, and pretty much every gallery here is totally accessible.”
Stinson is probably best known for his diptych at the Denver Art Museum titled “The Necessity of Ruins.” Though the piece is not currently on display, it’s familiar to many, since it’s a popular attraction of the Western collection. “Ruins” is a depiction of an abandoned drive-in movie theater; the scene is anchored by a weathered movie screen in one panel and by the natural landscape in the other, and the two paintings have been tied together with a drive-in speaker stand. In this piece, Stinson lays out the key to his chief interest: exploring the way society has intruded on nature.
Most of the paintings in this show were done in the last year or two and are set in Colorado, Utah or New Mexico; nearly all of them include buildings or other structures as significant elements. When I ran into Stinson at the gallery, he remarked that everything was set in the morning — shortly before, during, or immediately after sunrise. He also noted how important it was for him to be part of a longstanding tradition — the landscape — in regional art, saying that it helps to define what’s special about an artist living in this part of the country. It was Stinson who remarked during a panel discussion in 2007 that the Rockies were a celebrity landscape — and he’s right. And it was our scenery that created a nascent art world in this part of the country more than a century ago, even if the landscape is now just one of many approaches being taken by artists around here.
Stinson’s technique in oil on linen seems to come out of the classic realist tradition, with the paint applied smoothly and brushmarks kept to a minimum. Though he’s best known for his depictions of rural ruins, Stinson also does renderings of other artworks. The first of two in this show is a view of the famous “Spiral Jetty,” by Robert Smithson, that juts into the Great Salt Lake. In the Stinson, the jetty is in the foreground, with the curving clouds in the background creating a marvelous pictorial balance. And what more can you say about a traditional depiction of a conceptual object? It’s brilliant.Also great is the diptych “Early Winter Morning: Genesee Park,” in which Charles Deaton’s famous “Sculptured House” is illuminated before dawn in the panel on the left while the one on the right catches the twinkling lights of early morning in Denver.
Don Stinson at Smith is the first solo the artist has had in years, and it’s a majestic offering.
Interdisciplinary artist Tobias Fike has collaborated on two exciting projects for the Biennial of the Americas. The Denver-based biennial is an international festival of art, culture, and ideas, that inspires critical thinking and promotes action, opened this week, with city-wide events, exhibitions, and programming featuring leading artists, architects, and thinkers.
Beach Ball Collision Test, documented above, is a collaboration between Fike and sculptor Matthew Harris, created for the group show, First Draft, which is part of the exhibition Draft Urbanism. For the performance and its accompanying single-channel video, Fike and Harris catapult beach balls toward each other, which hit with a resounding clap. The work explores the contrast between play and the absurd, with notions of masculinity, and the violence often associated with adversarial exercises.
Fike’s second project for the biennial is called, The Butterfly Effect: All the Days, All Our Actions. A collaboration with artist Alvin Gregorio, this commissioned project addresses the concept of the butterfly effect and the sometimes unintended consequences of our actions. Featuring a butterfly nesting area, and serving as a stage for performances throughout the duration of the biennial, the project reminds both speakers and audience members of the potential scope of impact, both good and bad, from small actions.
Please visit the Draft Urbanism page for more information about the arts programming of the biennial, and the Biennial of the Americas website for more information about this summerlong event.
A selection of works by Laura Ball featured in her winter exhibition at the gallery, Minotaur, have been added to the collection of the Denver Art Museum. A gift of the Eleanor and Henry Hitchcock Charitable Foundation, Collection 1, and Zanesville Mandala, were formally added to the museum’s permanent collection.
The Denver Art Museum, founded in 1893, sits in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, with a building complex of over 350,000 square feet. The museum’s permanent collection comprises more than 70,000 works of art, divided between nine collections.
“When you enter your local supermarket, the door will most likely slide open automatically, welcoming you as it senses your presence. There’s nothing remarkable about that, you’re accustomed to the simple technology of motion sensors. What is remarkable is that technological fixtures such as motion sensors have become so ubiquitous that we scarcely notice them anymore. They are a part of your daily routine, a simple and unnoticed interaction with technology. It is that subtle relationship between man and machine that new media artist Michael Theodore explores in his solo exhibition organism/mechanism currently showing at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver.
At the entrance of the gallery stands the monumental sculptural piece, endo/exo (2013). Spanning most of the length of the darkened lobby and rising from ceiling to floor, a flow of ambient LED light reflects off organic clumps of yarn creating a James Turrell-like illuminated atmosphere. However, moving closer to the piece, one is able to see how it departs from traditional light and space work when rows of rods begin rotating in response to the presence of the viewer. endo/exo is similar in design to many of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s pieces that also utilize motion sensors to create kinetic sculpture. However, Theodore’s work ventures further into traditional media in addition to the technological formats. This creates an environment that enhances sensual perception through the use of light and sound as well as movement.
Further in the gallery, there are ten abstract works on paper with a very organic feel to them. Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that the lines are actually perfectly inscribed, created by an automatic drawing machine programed to produce patterns so complex as to appear organic. Underneath these lines, Theodore plays with the tension between man and machine by hand-painting delicate color fields that glow through the machine made line work. In addition, there are three sharply produced digital videos with accompanying video stills. Each video is a digital environment that mimics water, ice and clouds, organic forms that become abstracted in a digital world. They were created using software, but there is something organic and comforting about watching the gently oscillating waves of a digital ocean or a spinning cloud-like formation.
All of the works in the show explore the synthesis between the machine made and organic forms. However, it is when Theodore is creating immersive interactive environments that the artist is at his best. By blending technological tools with our biological perceptions, Theodore is opening up a world of new possibilities within the viewer/object relationship.”
“…It all fits together snugly under the banner organism/mechanism,” the show’s overall title. Theodore is exploring the intersection of technology and humanity. He’s letting the machines in for art’s sake, letting them work his hand and sometimes lead it. Are the machines taking over? Definitely not, but they are moving things forward. The technology makes it all new, the human touch keeps it interesting.”