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Whichcraft bewitches Next Stage Gallery

Part of the Eye Candy Series by Mariana Viera.
Photo: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

The art asks “which” materials are used

Located in the Performing Arts Complex in Downtown Denver, Whichcraft has taken over the tiny Next Stage Gallery with interesting pieces of work by a trifecta of artists: Melanie Walker, Carol Golemboski, and Mariana Vieira.

A play on words derived from the term “Witchcraft,” the exhibition Whichcraft portrays artwork that is blended with traditional methods that bear the mark of each artist. The pieces hold a connection with the artist, and the medium is unclear and hard to pinpoint. It creates a mysterious atmosphere, as the artists propose the audience to question “which” craft is being used in their final masterpieces.

Most of what is on display at the Next Stage Gallery are photographs, framed and hanging along the walls. From a variety of vibrant colors, to the dullness of black and white, the work of the artists is immensely enthralling.

When entering the exhibition, the work of Golemboski attracts the eye almost immediately. Hanging along the back wall are nine photographs laid out in a three-by-three grid. Titled Moving Targets, it offers a feel of hypnosis when viewed. With each asymmetrical shooting target being decently different from one another in its position and color, ranging from blue to gold, Golemboski creates a diverse hypnotic spell in admiration of the simplistic beauty of the targets.

The work of Walker casts a haunting feel to the scene in Silk City. Sharing a resemblance with a ghost town, Walker uses the medium of silk, hanging six large vertical sheets of the material—two rows of three—one behind another. The transparent sheets offer a look from both sides while printed on the sheets and atop the ends of poles placed nearby are images of human hands, spell books, and buildings that complete the city.

Lastly, there is the work of Vieira. Her most interesting piece in the exhibit is placed near the back corner on a large table. With the title Self Portrait, Vieira dove deep into her abstract photography skills to create a handmade book of indistinguishably interesting silver gelatin portraits of herself. Consisting of dark blacks, browns, and greens pasted on black construction paper, the artist immersed the dark arts with her “spell book.”

Although the work is pleasing, one downfall of this exhibition can’t go unnoticed. There is much empty space and not enough art for viewers. In a decent-sized gallery, one would expect more pieces to be on display. However, the eerie and uneasy feeling provided by these works of art make up for it. 

While it may look very plain, the beauty of Whichcraft is that none of the artists are like the others, each created a vastly different story in a different medium that remains true to themselves.

When speculating and interpreting the story behind Walker, Golemboski, and Vieira’s “which” craft, Whichcraft is something that hasn’t been seen before and is a quick glimpse into the magic of rising artists here in Denver.

 

Whichcraft
on display April 4 – 27
The Next Stage Gallery
1400 Curtis St.
nextstagecu.org

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