New GoCA art exhibits explore the playful side of life

Feb. 6, 2012

April Wefler
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The Gallery of Contemporary Art is known by UCCS students as the gallery in Centennial Hall. In the community, it is one of the quintessential galleries in the area.

To commemorate its 30th anniversary, GoCA is hosting two events this month. It kicked off with “Cicotello Retrospective” on Feb. 2 and follows with “Suburbia” on Feb. 10.

The campus exhibit, “Louis Cicotello Retrospective,” features art from 1971-2008 and is open until March 29 in GoCA on the second floor of Centennial Hall.

Daisy McConnell, director of GoCA, said that the arrangement of Cicotello’s art is mindful of balance and spacing and is a cacophony of ideas presented in formal structure, the way Cicotello liked it.

“His craftsmanship is really impeccable. It has to be for it to be successful and he pulls it off,” said McConnell.

She noted that some of Cicotello’s plexi-glass works from the 1970s were restored for the exhibit. “The artisans restoring them were astounded by the technique and ability,” said McConnell.

In part of the exhibit, a dishwasher acts as a “Homage to Marcel Duchamp” – the French artist associated with Dadaism and Surrealism.

“There’s a playful sense of humor, referencing really serious art,” said McConnell, adding, “It’s almost like some crazy dreamscape.”

Cicotello moved to Colorado Springs from Kansas City, Mo. in 1984 and was the head of the Department of Fine Arts and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts through 2007. He died after a rappelling accident in March 2011.

The second event, entitled “Suburbia,” will open at downtown GoCA 121 on Feb. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit features four artists and three projects: Phil Bender, Chris Coleman, Michael Salter and Michael Whiting.

Bender features objects collected around the house, portraying the suburban growth and sprawl with such items as 1950s magazine ads and tennis rackets presented in grids.

Bender is more of a Denver legend. It’s his first time showing in Colorado Springs.

“It feels very much that he’s categorizing and archiving our past, but in a playful way,” said McConnell.

Coleman and Salter have been collaborating on “My House is Not My House” for over two years. The project is projected into frames on a wall, giving the audience the feel that they are looking into and observing a house when most people would be at work or school.

“It brings up the idea of how we choose to live, in city or community. It’s subtle, so not too heavy-handed,” said McConnell. She called “My House is Not My House” a beautiful visual.

Whiting, as a fan of old-time videogames, has created pixelated animal sculptures of fauna that one might find around the neighborhood. Whiting’s sculptures are in close proximity to Bender’s and the two projects are meant to interact together.

“The one thing that they all have in common is that it’s playful, colorful, fun,” said McConnell.

Both exhibits are free for students, and the downtown exhibit will have all four artists at the opening.