Show Preview | Abend Gallery Fine Art: Four-Person Show

Denver, CO, October 26-December 1

Ken Valastro, Red Umbrella, oil, 30 x 40.

Ken Valastro, Red Umbrella, oil, 30 x 40.

This story was featured in the November 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art November 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art November 2012 digital download here. Or simply subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!

Successful art galleries benefit from a sort of aesthetic synergy, offering their visitors viewing experiences that are all the greater for the creative juxtaposition of works by different fine artists. An example of that phenomenon can now be experienced at Denver’s Abend Gallery in a show—debuting on Friday, October 26, with an artists’ reception from 5 to 9 p.m.—featuring approximately six dozen recent works by four local oil painters.

Peggy McGivern is bringing to the exhibition what she describes as “a new series of abstract-impressionistic landscapes,” works abounding in “juicy, flowing lines.” Mikael Olson offers his paintings of urban scenes and still-life subjects that “harmonize wild expression with a sensitivity of form.”

Peggy McGivern, Trailers and Mobile Homes, oil, 24 x 24.

Peggy McGivern, Trailers and Mobile Homes, oil, 24 x 24.

From Clyde Steadman come tightly cropped still-life and figurative works that “aim to pare the subjects down to their essence,” while their “boldly expressive brush strokes,” he says, “let the viewer into the artistic process.” And Ken Valastro’s urban and rural scenes offer “a believable degree of representation,” while their “freshly gestural” execution makes them feel “not so overly finished that they leave nothing to the imagination, so viewers can discover new surprises for years to come,” the artist explains.

As those descriptions suggest, the four artists have in common what might be summed up as loosely expressive styles, while each retains her or his own distinctive look and preferred subject matter. “They share a harmony of purpose that helps make their works hang well together,” explains Abend Gallery director Christine Serr. “Yet each artist is dedicated to showing the viewer his or her unique perspective on both the art of painting and the world around us.”

Beyond that stylistic harmony, Serr continues, the gallery refrained from imposing any sort of title on the show. “We try not to offer a theme for group shows like this one,” she says, “because we simply want the artists to be able to paint the works they would paint anyway.”

That kind of expressive freedom makes for a deep loyalty among Abend’s stable of artists. “[It has] been an exciting venue for my work for many years,” says Valastro. “When I was learning to paint,” adds Steadman, “Abend was where you went to see good works.” Says Olson, “The gallery has played a significant role in introducing me to the great local art scene.” McGivern concurs: “The vibe there is unmatched by any other gallery.”

All four artists are present at the gallery not only at the opening reception but also the next day, when they set up their easels to give painting demonstrations. The show is a prelude to Denver Arts Week, running this year from November 2 through 10, when local galleries, museums, and performance venues offer dozens of special events for lovers of fine art, theater, music, and film—an example of aesthetic synergy on a citywide scale. 
—Norman Kolpas

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Featured in the November 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine November 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine November 2012 print edition
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