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What's new on the art landscape 

click to enlarge Aspens, by Tracy Felix
  • Aspens, by Tracy Felix

First, a couple of minor complaints: 1) KCME 88.7: You are not "the cultural voice of the Pikes Peak Region." I'll give you "a" but not "the." Time for a new slogan and more contemporary composers please.

2) All local radio stations: It's time for somebody to step up to the plate and start a show that features the incredible variety of original local music. KVUU 99.9 recently said they've got a local show for Sunday nights in the works, but my money's on KEPC 89.7 at Pikes Peak Community College to get it together and be one of the only local stations to promote our local musicians with, at the very least, a one-hour weekly local show. Being a college station without the fairly conservative values of KRCC, KEPC is also quite possibly the only local station with the ability and the chutzpah to play local hip-hop. Come on folks: This town is rife with talent, and it's an embarrassment that local radio stations aren't supporting them. We can do better than this!

3) Manitou Center for Photography: The show you put up last October was brilliant. It's June. A good gallery space is a terrible place to leave any show hanging for eight months! I know you know. And I know you know that we know. Just nudging.

4). Regis Bonnart and La Baguette Caf: Those postcard photos that've been hanging on the walls for the last 20 years are real chummy and, I'm sure, great advertising. But if you could go ahead and take 'em down now. Yeah, that'd be great.

There appears to be a new landscape or "post-landscape" movement congealing in the art world, both locally and nationally. It's a stylistic reinvention, and a conceptual attack on the genre's staid, Romantic idealization of nature.

What separates local artists like Jean Gumpper (see review of her show at Plantera in Livelong Days, p.18) Tracy Felix, and Dawn Wilde from the endless host of "Solitude: Mountain Reflected In Still Lake" Marty Robbins painters is their insistence on a rigorous, almost alchemical revision of the way they see the natural world. The colors in Gumpper's woodblock prints are enought to make Pantone jealous. Tracy Felix warps the landscape into a formalist's Candyland; and Dawn Wilde (if you saw her series at the Colorado 2002 Show at the FAC) makes Pikes Peak a vehicle for light and color instead of being the same old tired subject of, well, itself.

California-based artists like Sandow Birk and David Korty are also taking landscape boldly into the 21st century.

In Birk's series Incarcerated, he takes a high Romantic approach to the California landscape. Aside from being exquisitely executed, the paintings appear to be nothing terribly out of the ordinary until you notice that, in the distant background of all of them, sits one of California's many penitentiaries. Birk's work bravely uses the landscape painting as a vehicle for political critique, pointing out what the blind romanticization of nature inevitably leaves out.

David Korty (whose vision falls somewhere between Gumpper and Birk) has made the city of Los Angeles and its surroundings the subject of his watercolors, gouaches, acrylics and pastels. Using the post-apocalyptic pallette of LA.'s smog-filtered atmospherics, Korty renders vibrant and impressionistic visions of the artificial nature humans have so dramatically modified.

Now's a great time to check out the new landscape as many of the current exhibitions, including Andrea Modica's show at the Fine Arts Center, and the Series show at UCCS' Gallery of Contemporary Art (that includes John Hull's white-trash-scapes and Stephen Lack's perturbing "State of the World" series), prove that the genre is far from dead.

New music venues are popping up everywhere: "The Honeycomb" room at Beau Jo's Pizza at 2415 W. Colorado recently opened and is now hosting rock, pop, blues, folk and country shows. Shuga's Caf downtown at 702 S. Cascade is also hosting live music shows and gatherings. This Thursday night, The Revolvers will play at 9 p.m. ($3 cover), there's a scooter rally on Friday night at 8 p.m., and Saturday night at 9 p.m., 8 Track Mafia, DJ Wise and DJ Odd 1 will spin for free.

Also not to miss this week (and just recently announced): Patti Smithsonian will be giving a one- night-only performance of her solo show "The Romantic Life of Everyday Objects" at the Business of Art Center on Sunday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

nblack@csindy.com

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