And the Award Goes to 

UCCS, for bringing the best and the brightest to light

The most recent show at UCCS's Gallery of Contemporary Art has opened yet another window onto the regional art scene. This time, it's a survey of top students from Front Range art schools.

Selected by faculty members from 12 different institutions along the Front Range, the only criteria was that the students were "generally regarded as the best and brightest" of the given schools. All told, 16 students, including four graduate students, are represented.

Let's have an awards ceremony!

The Lo-Fi Barbara Kruger Award (aka Ain't it a Shame UCCS Doesn't Even Have a BFA Award!) goes to UCCS student Naomi Wager for her series "My Public/Private Space." Using magic markers, Wager created a small room full of self-portraits accompanied by fabulous stenciled one-liners like: "YOUR INDECISION AFFECTS ME INDIRECTLY" and "RETALIATE WITH APATHY." Wager's hyperkinetic cheap craftoid style is just the kind of youth, irreverence and vigor the Springs art scene needs.

Home Despot Award for Conceptual Construction goes to Leilani Zimmerman from Colorado College. Her untitled installation is roughly a 50-foot-by-2-foot wide rectangle of rock salt on the floor. Sitting atop the rock salt every 4 feet or so are little plywood cubes covered in wax. Zimmerman unabashedly embraces a minimal capital-B Beauty, and it's about time someone united abstraction with conceptual construction. Lovely.

Jackson Pollack Moving Minimalist Painting Award goes to University of Denver's Elise Pelletier for her video Untitled Order. A video negative of car headlights on the highway with a superimposed orange bouncing ball, Pelletier creates a visual mystery, subtle and restrained social commentary, and a gorgeous moving abstraction.

The Tom Friedman Award for Conceptual Social Awareness goes to UC Boulder's Jenni Lin Lexau for her plaster molds of the bottoms of soda bottles and cans. Allusive without being abusive, Lexau brings a focused awareness to the patterns of our disposable, plastic culture by immortalizing them as plaster impressions. Like the bitter beauty in a polluted sunset, Lexau's piece notices and reveals the beauty in our culture of trash outside the context of junk art.

Bauhaus Award for Fine Craft goes to Susan Jean Hart from CUDenver for the sensuality and movement she brings to her many wood, metal and fiberglass sculptures.

-- Noel Black


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