DENVER POST REVIEW OF TONY JAMES / by Monique Crine

A modern Marlboro Man

Through Saturday. Where do you find today’s Marlboro Man? Monique Crine turned to — where else? — Craigslist. The Denver artist was looking for a model who would offer an updated take on that classic Western icon, and she found her man in Tony James, a wiry Texan who recently returned from duty as a soldier in Iraq. What results is a kind of photojournalistic series of 10 psychological portraits — all titled just “Tony” — on view in an exhibition that closes this weekend at the Ironton Gallery, 3636 Chestnut Place. But these works are not the expected photographs but technically sophisticated oils on canvas that subtly or sometimes overtly explore the complicated relationship between painting and photography. In these portraits, Crine probes questions of identity, individualism and how we envision cowboys and soldiers in a tech-driven 21st-century America that would seem to have little place for such potentially anachronistic archetypes. In some, Crine peers straight on at James, who is sometimes drinking a beer or smoking. But in others, she poses him more dramatically, including two canvases where he is seen in the mouth of a tunnel, mimicking a scene from “The Searchers.” These multiple dimensions give these pieces a conceptual depth often missing in much ultra-realistic figure painting, and they help explain why Crine is one of the most promising and exciting young artists on the Denver scene. The exhibition is on view 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Irontonstudios.com or moniquecrine.com.  Kyle MacMillan

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