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Small works loom large in Sager Braudis exhibit

Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo. logo Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo. 7/12/2019 By Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo.
a graffiti covered wall: "Theo" by Carlos Michael Finn, mixed media on board © Columbia Daily Tribune/Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo./TNS "Theo" by Carlos Michael Finn, mixed media on board

Thank goodness for the small favors currently attending the Columbia art scene. The Montminy Gallery continues its Small Art/Big Stories, a grouping of mini-exhibitions, through the end of the month. And at Sager Braudis Gallery, July also is dedicated to small works. Approximately 270 of them, in fact, from more than 60 artists. Most are return visitors to the venue, and some rank among the most impressive creators the gallery has ever exhibited.

a close up of text on a white background: "Abstract 7/7 / Bunglow Collection No. 1" by Michele Ledoux, beeswax, resin, pigment and oil on panel © Columbia Daily Tribune/Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo./TNS "Abstract 7/7 / Bunglow Collection No. 1" by Michele Ledoux, beeswax, resin, pigment and oil on panel

Photography, devised and delivered in various ways, is one of the exhibit's shining lights. Presenting her images on wood, Katie Barnes captures a beautiful array of motion and texture. Kansas City-based artist Chris Dahlquist, a gallery favorite, achieves more depth and verve in a series of black-and-white photographs than many artists do with color.

Several artists subvert expectation and squeeze potential from the form, working in archival pigment prints. Johanna Warwick sees in layers, then translates that vision to the viewer with multi-faceted works. The prints of Scott McMahon and Ahmed Salvador seem to catch the metaphysical breaking into the physical world, as light and exposure burn halos and glimmers into single leaves or sweeping forests.

Artists such as Ben Chlapek scratch out signature style at a smaller scope. The Columbia ex-pat brilliantly and reliably mocks the mundane features of middle-class existence; here, his works bear titles such as "Boring" and "Safe" and exist across what appear to be tiny manila file folders, just another manifestation of Chlapek's fight against the typical.

Working at an impressive size, or intimate ones as he does here, Ramsay Wise displays a remarkable ability to create mood and atmosphere. Lupus Garrett creates rich portraits against dizzying, colorful backdrops reminiscent of the stop-motion animation which framed Peter Gabriel in the landmark "Sledgehammer" clip. Carlos Michael Finn finds the absurdity -- and dignity -- in each one of us with surreal, specific portraiture.

Craig Albright merges the aesthetics of landscapes and color-field painting in his richly rendered studies, while Michele Ledoux exhibits mastery of texture, finding a surprising space between 2-D and 3-D work.

Ken Nichols' acrylic paintings survey the geometry inherent to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, taking an aerial view of lush greens, tennis courts, pools and private lakes. Turning attention to something wilder and more free, Amy Putansu's Sky and Sea studies use simple divisions and horizons to find the vastness in both natural forces.

adanielsen@columbiatribune.com 573-815-1731

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