Howard Harris and Topher Straus in two-person “MASTERS” show at Niza Knoll Gallery
August 7 – September 12, 2020
Last year, artists Howard Harris and Topher Straus challenged one another to create images influenced by their favorite master artists whose work has intrigued and inspired them, using their own distinct styles and techniques. The result is an intriguing and vibrant two-man show called “MASTERS,” running August 7 through September 12 at Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive in Denver.
This will be the 2nd live exhibit in the space since re-opening and they are excited to welcome small groups of visitors in to view art again! The work will be on view and available to purchase during modified business hours, Fridays and Saturdays, 1-5 pm. Those who prefer to enjoy from afar can view the show and purchase works online at the gallery’s new ecommerce website, www.nizaknollgallery.com.
On the opening date, August 7, the gallery will be open for a first-chance viewing with the artists present, from 2 pm to 7 pm. The public is welcome to attend. Only 6 people will be allowed in the space at one time and the art is spaced to allow for easy social distancing. Visitors with masks will be welcomed inside on a first-come, first-served basis. If six people are inside, others will be asked to wait outside the gallery while those indoors enjoy the exhibit.
For this show, Howard Harris was inspired by master artists Chuck Close, Claude Monet, David Hockney, Joan Miro, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Rembrandt, Salvador Dali, and Wayne Thiebaud.
Harris’ exploration in dimensional photographic art represents an attempt to re-create the perceptual experience, with its dynamic nature and hidden complexities. In his patented process he uses photographic constructions where a single, often abstracted, image is layered over itself on clear acrylic surfaces and superimposed on a subtle grid. The resulting visual phenomenon infuses the image with a sense of dimensionality and fluidity affected by such changes as the angle of viewing and light.
Harris is a Denver native who earned a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and a MID (Masters Industrial Design) from Pratt Institute in New York. His work has appeared in many books and publications, including International Artists of the Decade, Art Collectors Choice Japan, International Contemporary Masters, Top 10 Contemporary Artists and 50 Artists to Invest In. His art can be seen in galleries in the U.S. and throughout Europe.
Straus’ inspirations for this show are Matisse, Miro, Basquiat and Picasso. For this series his process starts with a collage of photographs. He digitally reinterprets the images using the most prominent colors and lines of the originals, infusing them with his own style. The final painting is sublimated onto an aluminum sheet giving it a partially mirrored finish. The end result is contoured lines that superimpose the autogenous beauty of the original photograph. Straus’ zest for transcending established iconography makes for a unique combination.
“I did this series during Covid and chose to do a 45-x-90-inch painting inspired by Picasso’s “Guernica,” dealing with the virus and its war-like, haunting impact on society.” Straus is also native to Colorado and graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA. He works out of his studio in Golden.
Niza Knoll Gallery is located at 915 Santa Fe Drive in Denver’s popular Art District on Santa Fe. The gallery specializes in intriguing conceptual exhibits, participates in First and Third Friday and Art of Brunch Art Walks, and hosts monthly salons, private concerts and guest speakers. These live events have been put on hold during the pandemic but will resume once it is safe to gather once again. Past exhibits have included unusual artist pairings, outsider art, collaborative work, thought-provoking thematic exhibits of artists using non-traditional media. The Mix Co-op in the back of the gallery features 8 artists and is open during regular hours. Visit www.nizaknollgallery.com for more information, current hours and safety protocols.