Get Thee to Denver. Daniel Sprick
It’s a fact…. the Mile High City is the place to be this season for people interested in great contemporary art.
Anyone paying close attention to American realism today already knows the Denver-based painter Daniel Sprick (b. 1953), some of whose work is almost always on view at the Denver Art Museum (DAM).
Indeed, this mainstream institution has long won high marks in the realist community for presenting Sprick’s meticulously observed still lifes, both prominently and respectfully, near the more “cutting-edge” works that
most visitors might expect to find in a museum’s contemporary galleries these days. Now through November 2, however, Sprick’s admirers have a rare opportunity to see more than 40 recent works that underscore not only his virtuosity, but also his blurring of the boundaries between realism and abstraction in thoughtprovoking ways.
Born in Little Rock, Sprick studied with the great painter Ramon Froman (1908-1980), attended the National Academy of Design in New York City, and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado.
Most of the new pictures prioritize people over objects, yet no narrative is provided, leaving us to make up our own minds about the models. (A superb example appears on this magazine’s cover.) It’s likely that Sprick’s avoidance of conventional beauty reaches back to his longstanding interest in the ordinary figures treated by such forerunners as Rembrandt and Courbet. Though Sprick takes reference shots with a digital camera, he ultimately transcends them at the easel to create something beyond reality — another reason his show is titled Daniel Sprick’s Fictions.
Alas, this exhibition will not tour, so try to see it in person this fall. For those who cannot, the University
of New Mexico Press has published a catalogue with the outstanding illustrations needed to convey Sprick’s complex textures and odd edges.
Elsewhere in Denver, Abend Gallery Fine Art is presenting the 15th annual National Juried Exhibition of the American Impressionist Society. On view October 2-November 1, this show will feature works by 165 artists living across the country.
Awards will be presented on the 2nd, and on the following day, AIS Master Artist Clayton J. Beck III will demonstrate his virtuosic technique. Parker, Colorado — located 10 miles south of downtown Denver — is home to the Wildlife Experience, a nonprofit institution that is an ideal venue for the 54th annual exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists (SAA). Its 126 images of wild and domesticated creatures have been made by some of the world’s leading practitioners in a wide range of media and styles. A majority of them are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the host venue.