A Denver Group Show Ditches the Theme

That’s exactly what the Denver gallery is doing for the 12th installment of “Group Exhibition”. In a world of high-concept art events and self-serious artist’s statements, it’s a refreshing gesture—the admission that there’s no theme, no strict parameters, that the artists are free to pursue their own predilections instead of trying to squeeze into a prescribed formula. Indeed, the featured pieces—including abstract oil paintings, quiet landscapes, and elegant graphite drawings—only have one thing in common. They’re all intriguing artworks.
Standouts include oil paintings in a variety of styles: stark and surprising takes on the classic bird portrait, as in ’s Purge (2014), ethereal portraits of women, like ’s Moment of Metta (2014) and Miss Sisley (2015), ’s highly textural boats and figures in repose, ’s colorful street scenes, and ’s eerie but romantic greenhouse scene in Modern Eden (2015). Some of the oils border on abstraction, as in ’s Winter River Banks (2014).  And others are so realistic they first appear to be photographs, like ’s still-lifes; Anthony Waichulis’s Late (2015), which depicts a familiar scene from a modern breakfast table as if seen through a magnifying glass; and ’s exquisite picture of autumn leaves in The Fallen (2014). On the other side of the spectrum are delicate works like ’s graphite florals in Microcosm (Triptych) (2015) and ’s gorgeous trio of golden aspen groves. 
All told, Gallery 1261’s latest group show is an exhibition with enough diversity and depth to make you think twice about the typical group show tropes. In this case, letting go of the commonly held objective—the objective that all the works center around one theme or concept—keeps the spotlight firmly on the artists’ particular visual styles.
Group Exhibition XII” is on view at Gallery 1261, Denver, Feb. 20th–Mar. 21st, 2015.