Three's Company

Donald Fodness, The Champ (Homage to Schwab and the Winner that Lives in Each and Everyone of Us) (2021), ink, graphite, colored

3ism (Group Show)

Alto Gallery, Denver

In transition, is the formidable Alto Gallery in Denver, Colorado. Once located on West 41st Avenue, the gallery has temporarily moved to the old stately schoolhouse at 1115 Acoma Street where you will find the group exhibition 3ism, curated by multi-media artist Peter Yumi. Two of the artists in the exhibition, Brent Hayden and Zack Searcy, hail from San Francisco, while Donald Fodness resides locally in Denver.

With respect to content and aesthetics, these three artists could not be more different. Hayden's sculptures and mixed media reliefs have as much to do with the character of the materials used as they do with any specific aesthetic, as the range of his art moves from oddly statuesque to highly tactile reliefs. Polystyrene plastic and acrylic dominate these multi-dimensional meanderings that come to life with proposed gesture and movement, as the colors may remind some of cotton candy or sugary cereal. In particular, Kaktos (2021) has a "psychedelic seashell by the psych shore" thing going on, while Goddamn I Miss The Rain (2021) speaks both of the current drought situation in western Colorado, and the much needed colorful bounty the missing rain would bring to the wild flora of the nearby plains and mountains. Additionally, there is translucence in much of the materials Hayden employs giving his entire presentation a general feeling of buoyancy or airiness, resulting in something of an otherworldly affect.

Brent Hayden, Goddamn I Miss The Rain (2021) polystyrene plastic and acrylic

Fodness offers two powerful assemblage type sculptures and one 2D piece that is comprised of a heavily altered LP record jacket. Nativity Scene Mandala (2021), which wildly connects the iconic participants in attendance when Christ was born, has all the figures anchored in place at their base or feet, creating a circular pinwheel of passionate believers looking to radiate outwards. Tilted on an angle and accentuated by two overhead spotlights, this new take on such recognizable individuals bizarrely becomes even more celestial. Goddess (2021) by Fodness, is a multi-mammary mash up of mugs that suggests both the single-mindedness of the male ego and the mindlessness of pure kitsch. The title Goddess could also imply that this assemblage is an updated version of the fertility goddess Diana from the period of the Roman Empire, as I am sure there are many other ways to find meaning in this most unexpected expression.

Donald Fodness, Nativity Scene Mandala (2021), blow molded plastic, clay and wood

In the heavily defaced and altered The Champ (Homage to Schwab and the Winner that Lives in Each and Everyone of Us) (2021) we come face to face, literally, with the artist's ability to go off into a realm that teeters on the edge of consciousness. In this instance, flashes of images enter the picture plane from all angles and dimensions, spilling out through the artist's hand, forming a wildly rebellious route.

Conversely, Searcy borrows from one notable, multi-faceted non-objective artist, Sonya Delany, in presenting a new take on colorful, geometric abstraction in a sizable portion of his mixed media works. This new dimensional spin on past perceptions is most apparent in works like Collider (2020), where the intricate design the artist has put forth wraps systematically around the edge and sides of the canvas. Other times, like in Surface Tension (2020), there is more of a Roy Lichtenstein sensibility in the composition, while At Window (2021) is far more theatrical and centralized, suggesting a lone soul performing on a surreal stage. In the end, Searcy's art enters the realm of discernible versus imperceptible movement, the multiple dimensions of cognition, and all the resulting pattern shifts that keep the viewer engaged.

Zack Searcy, Surface Tension (2020), mixed media on linen

Alto Gallery's next location will be 1900 35th Street, Suite B, Denver, Colorado.

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