Fried eggs, feet and flapjacks

Big. Bold. Bodacious. Coming upon As Above So Below (above) for the first time, these are the words that sprung to mind. The painting is by Riva Sweetrocket, and her colors are so vivid you can’t believe they’re pastels. No sugary baby blues or pale pinks here. Sweetrocket’s images—on view at Denver’s Plus Gallery—are as fresh and original as her colors. Quirky juxtapositions bring together hands, feet, fried eggs, and flapjacks to create striking compositions.

In one of my favorites, Ruby Slipper Revelation (at right), the artist turns Dorothy’s red slippers on their allegorical heels and offers viewers a Western take on the “Wizard of Oz” shoes—a woman exuberantly thrusts a pair of red cowboy boots toward the sky. For Sweetwater, the boots are a more powerful symbolic image than the sparkly pumps from the movie.

The artist’s visual banquets are usually packed with metaphors and meanings. They are to be savored on many delicious levels. If you’re in Denver between Sept. 21 and the end of the year, stop by the Buell Theater, where Sweetrocket will have 12 new paintings on view. To learn more about the Colorado artist and the show, check out the September issue of Southwest Art.

—Bonnie Gangelhoff

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