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Minimalism gets a maximum boost in thought-provoking solos at Rule and ILK.

Red seems to be a favorite color for Hahn and definitely promotes the Oriental aspects of her art. Two monumental multi-part pieces, each with ten horizontal panels stacked almost from floor to ceiling, are also painted in rich reds: "Enchantment" and "The Golden Autumn." In each, every panel has been painted the identical shade, but the color used for "Enchantment" is redder than "The Golden Autumn," which has an orangey tinge.

An interesting feature is that both pieces are available in modular form, meaning buyers can purchase two, four, six, eight, or all ten panels. In fact, every painting here can be bought in pieces, with "Kuan S99-10" being the only exception, since it wouldn't make sense to split its panels up. I wonder, though, if "Kuan SOO-2" wouldn't also suffer from being split up. This piecemeal approach to sales seems to be a better idea conceptually, or poetically, than it is in actuality; perhaps Hahn should rethink it.

The luxurious paintings in Jae H. Hahn gleam like jewels and make the Rule Gallery shine. Despite all this glitziness, however, the mood is quiet and contemplative -- or, as Hahn would have it, silent.

"Kuan SOO-2," by Jae H. Hahn, oil on wood.
"Kuan SOO-2," by Jae H. Hahn, oil on wood.

Details

Through November 4
303-777-9537

Several Terms, Tacit
Through October 22
ILK on Santa Fe, 554 Santa Fe Drive
303-615-5725

Rule Modern and Contemporary Gallery, 111 Broadway

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Minimal concepts are also seen in two shows closing this weekend at ILK on Santa Fe. In the entry space and continuing into the south gallery is Several Terms, a painting show featuring recent work by John Clark. Filling the north gallery -- literally -- is Tacit, an installation by Alex Harrison.

Clark's show would have been good if he hadn't made a serious mistake in judgment right off the bat: In the offensively ironic "Departed Souls," he has incorporated a dead mouse and a dead bird, both entombed in a thick layer of aluminum paint. It's a move that's either overly trendy à la Damien Hirst or a reflection of Clark's bad taste. Either way, it's only the latest example of the twelve-year-old-boy-gross-out school of the fine arts -- something I've never appreciated, even when I was twelve.

If you can recover your sensibilities -- which is no easy task -- you'll notice that "Departed Souls" is quite beautiful. Of course, that just makes the whole thing worse.

The rest of the show, thankfully, is free of animal corpses used as art supplies, and in the south gallery proper, there are a number of fine paintings that somehow manage not to be stomach-turning.

"First Class Entrance," an acrylic on panel, is a dark, vaporous painting impersonating a monochrome. Though it appears to be a purple square, Clark creates a mottled finish with shades of purple, dark blue and reddish-violet. It's simultaneously expressionist and minimalist. The same combination of stylistic elements is seen in the elegant "Man Hanged Re-mem-bered," an acrylic on synthetic fabric. The essentially black painting is divided into vertical bars created by the seams, where Clark has joined together swaths of cloth. Some of the vertical pieces have been skim-coated with acrylic, which alters the sheen of the already shiny cloth. A simple yet ambiguous line drawing in the bottom right of the piece depicts either a horned animal or, maybe, a jock strap.

Harrison's installation, "Tacit," also has a minimal element: the materials he uses -- namely, hardware and rope. With these simple tools, he has completely taken control of the space, so much so that it's impossible to actually enter the north gallery. Instead, "Tacit" must be viewed by looking into the room through the doorway. Harrison has taken scores of metal loops and screwed them into the four walls, the floor and the ceiling; attached to the loops are measured lengths of thick, bright-white braided rope. The ropes are connected in straight lines between the four walls, the floor and the ceiling, with all of them intersecting in the center of the room. The resulting form is a starlike shape in which rays seem to emanate from the middle. The effective lighting further stresses the piece's locus.

Both artists are thoughtfully playing with minimalist concepts, a popular idea around here right now. And both are on their way up in the local art world -- well, as long as Clark can leave the dead animals to his cat.

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