By Scott Bailey
Let’s start with the main point: Doug Kacena’s new exhibition “Crossover” is a truly innovative concept, and the execution is excellent. The show opens Saturday, November 5th at Denver’s Mike Wright Gallery, and it’s not to be missed. Here’s the idea behind it: collect a group of works by some of Colorado’s most treasured representational artists, then let Kacena add his own abstract art on top of them. Sometimes just embellishments, sometimes careful additions, and sometimes almost complete obliteration of the original piece. Oh, but there is a yin to this yang: Doug gave those same painters one of his own abstract works to allow them to return the favor, adding their own representational work on top of his. The project is so interesting (and controversial) that a PBS documentary is being made by David Schler about it.
Doug used his experience as a long time art supporter and curator to bring together an amazing group of artists including Quang Ho, Jill Soukup, Ron Hicks, Don Stinson, Robert Spooner, Kevin Weckbach, David Santillanes, Edward Aldrich, Terrie Lombardi, Ed Kucera, Jeff Legg, and Mikael Olson.
Why are the worlds of representational and abstract art so divided, after all? I mean, they’re more alike than different, right? That question hit Doug when two of his favorite artists were showing next to each other in nearby galleries — one was a highly regarded abstract artist, and across the street a figurative painter. Despite having friends at both shows, however, there seemed to be no overlap of love. Why?
By working with representational artists, Kacena hopes to bridge that gap and turn people onto new artists they aren’t familiar with, all while getting people excited about art that might be outside their usual fare. A noble undertaking for sure. More than that, though, the show has truly yielded some great collaborations, and fans of both abstract and figurative work really enjoy it. Lots more information, as well as before and after pictures are available at www.mikewrightgallery.com, and get updates on their Facebook event page.