Object | Nature : John McEnroe, David Zimmer, Karen Kitchel, William Lamson, Tyler Beard, Kim Dickey
Jan 17 – Mar 2, 2013
In his latest resin series entitled “Half Life,” John McEnroe arduously casts stark and fragmented, found tree limbs discovered at a long-abandoned Colorado mining site. The toppled trees, which were cleared for industry, first drew the artist’s eye toward their individual sculptural forms. Transforming the severed branches once treated with brutal disregard, the artist subverts the industrial detachment of destruction and decay to invoke a reflective quietude, where nature and culture are recognized as profound source and symbol. With a strong formal presence illuminated by the elevated choice of white, McEnroe’s trees invite an expansive contemplative response. In tandem, the artist’s resin-encased antique books further the mode of introspection – questioning entrenched cultural ideologies and notions of the West. McEnroe’s stilled organic forms and literary objects call attention to a kind of tipping point where reality and potentiality meet, furthering the dialog of the essential long view.
John McEnroe has a B.F.A. from Kansas University and an M.F.A. from Ohio State University. He has been awarded several high-profile public art commissions in Denver including, most notably, National Velvet at the Highlands pedestrian bridge, Model State: A Local Cosmology at the Colorado Convention Center and Fool’s Gold as part of the RTD Light Rail Station Project which incorporated art into the light rail stops throughout the Denver metro area. Seven sculptures from McEnroe’s “The Bathers” series are included in the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection following the DAM’s 2009 “Embrace!” exhibition. The artist participated in Museum of Contemporary Art Denver’s extensive “Decades of Influence” exhibition and the artist is also scheduled to have a solo show at MCA Denver in 2013.
Including three of the works from his Museum of Contemporary Art Denver exhibition entitled “Another Victory over the Sun,” David Zimmer offers five enigmatic conflations of video and antique housings. With nature as his subject, Zimmer joins elements part current technology and part vintage framework with moving imagery which manifests in works both startling and fully engaging. Within their contained environments, the artist’s work is a fusion of nature-based forms with LED technology that ignites a thoughtful consideration of the enlivened world around us and our relationship to it. Evocative and haunting, Zimmer’s intimate, active images of wind-lashed branches or animated finches and their melodious bird song seem at once like Nature’s magic to behold. This enchantment gives way to a cautionary tale where Nature, if not respected, may one day exist as flickering memory.
David Zimmer has a B.A. from the University of Missouri. His work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions including Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO and The Bemis Center, Omaha, NE .
Karen Kitchel expands on her sublimely-articulated grass paintings to explore the portent and meaning of the landscape in contemporary American art and culture. Embracing the natural world with a commitment to seeing it flourish in conjunction with human activity – instead of isolating it in voyeuristic, reverential separateness, the artist presents an epic narrative viewed through an intimate perspective. At once botanically precise in content and floridly poetic in scale, Kitchel infuses her painterly prowess with a subdued palette – making meaning both profound and nuanced. In “Walking through the Fire,” her fifth Robischon Gallery solo exhibition, the artist once again reveals her meticulous practice, observational discipline and emotional vulnerability while eloquently calling for a passionate examination of our shared response to the land.
A graduate of Kalamazoo College and Claremont Graduate University, Karen Kitchel’s work is in numerous permanent collections, both nationally and internationally, including Denver Art Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, United States Department of State Art Embassies Program, the Joslyn Art Museum, Ucross Foundation and The Children’s Hospital of Denver, among others. The Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming presented Kitchel’s retrospective entitled “A Relative Condition: The Landscape Paintings of Karen Kitchel” bringing together for the first time paintings from Kitchel’s cohesive, over thirty-plus year career as a unique artist of the Western landscape. From January 26 through July 7, 2013, Kitchel’s paintings are included in a group exhibition, “Desert Grasslands” at The Tucson Museum of Art.
Invigorated by location, construct and an ingenious approach toward performance, William Lamson continues his collaboration with the elemental forces of nature in three distinct video works distinguished by intelligence, wit and a formal sensibility. Employing the camera to create the illusion, Lamson situates his elaborate sculptural contraptions with the intent to harness nature’s majestic power while parrying with its inherent unpredictability. For the video entitled Action for the Paiva, the artist stands – seemingly miraculously – on top of an eddying river. Held precariously aloft on an unseen floating platform beneath the water, Lamson allows the river’s current to dictate his position. The video’s peaceful nature belies the periodically intense challenge of staying afloat. Emblematic of the desires and struggles encountered when attempting to coexist in union with powerful forces, Lamson’s videos explore an unfolding drama of man in nature; adaptable, persevering and in relentless pursuit of discovery.
With a BFA from Dartmouth College and an MFA from Bard College, William Lamson regularly participates at showings across the US including group and solo museum exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe and a current exhibition on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Lamson’s exhibitions have garnered frequent attention from numerous publications including ArtForum, the New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, Architectural Digest and the Wall Street Journal.
In his new series of works on paper entitled “Otherscapes,” sculptor Tyler Beard astutely conflates colorful abstract forms with vintage, printed images of iconic landforms such as Rocky Mountain National Park’s Long’s Peak or Yosemite Park’s Half Dome. With small, yet majestic scenes appropriated from a quintessentially-American 1950’s Reader’s Digest publication featuring US national parks, the pristine vistas from over half-a-century ago give way to Beard’s off-kilter, imposed geometric collaged elements. Presented sequentially for a panoramic, overarching perspective, the artist intimates that the nation’s outdoor treasures have been irrevocably altered by mankind’s alien mark. Still, Beard’s meticulously constructed collage/monoprint works on paper remain formal in their compositional sensibility while inviting an open narrative to their homage of familiar landmarks.
Tyler Beard has a B.F.A. from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. from the University of Colorado where his work is placed in the Betty Woodman Collection within the University of Colorado’s extensive art collections. Beard will be featured in an upcoming Museum of Contemporary Art Denver solo exhibition opening March 1, 2013.
As part of her on-going investigation of the “interior monumental,” Kim Dickey explores how we construct environments both physically and psychologically while in response to what is natural vs. cultural or interior vs. exterior. The artist’s intensely assembled, glazed terracotta and porcelain works consist of many thousands of unique, yet seemingly uniform elements. Dickey creates reflexive sculptural landscapes that refer to their own construction while beguiling us toward an elaborate reverie. Using gardens as her reference, ordered plots in the natural world, Dickey freely reinterprets the decorative ceramic tradition of bocage: the closely clustered, miniature flowers traditionally used in the Rococo. The effect of such elements viewed in resplendent multiples is further visually amplified by Dickey’s subtly shifting green palette. The lifted platform in the gallery metaphorically supports the artist’s theatrical sense of her art-historically inspired sculptural forms. Further, the artist’s atmospheric photograph locates her sculpture in the in-between space of presence and absence, the real and the ideal while mirroring past cultures and the natural world.
A professor of art at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Kim Dickey, has a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Alfred University. Her museum exhibitions include Denver Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Mass MOCA, Everson Museum of Art, the American Craft Museum and the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. Her work can also be seen at the Center for Visual Art’s “In Situ” exhibition which features four artists who now have outdoor installations at Denver International Airport.