The title All Is Leaf is taken from a quote by Goethe, who used the phrase to sum up his exhaustive study of botany. Dickey was taken by the romantic idea that everything can be reduced to a single idea — in this case, conveying the ambience of a garden inside a building.

On the floor near the quatrefoil-covered freestanding wall is "Wolfgang's Lion," which takes the form of a seated lion created from leaves. It's been glazed white and has a memento mori quality to it for Dickey. According to the artist, the idea of carrying out a figurative element with foliate ornament is part of the "Green Man" tradition that dates back to antiquity. As viewers zigzag to the back, various hard-edged hedge forms are arranged in relation to other representational sculptures of animals — "Bird of Prey (Kite)" and "The Departure (Rabbit)" — and plants. Remarkably, the animals, much more than the plants, have a naturalistic feel to them even though they are completely covered with press-molded leaves of Dickey's own design.

Toward the end of the show, things seem to thin out, with lower forms and fewer elements. This disappearing feature was inspired by those ruined gardens Dickey saw in Italy that are slowly dissolving into the surrounding landscape.

"Wolfgang's Lion" in front of "Half Arch," by Kim Dickey, mixed materials.
"Wolfgang's Lion" in front of "Half Arch," by Kim Dickey, mixed materials.

Details

Through March 5, Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway, 303-777-9473, www.rulegallery.com.

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For Dickey, each subsequent iteration of the garden theme has been built on the one that came before, and it turns out that All Is Leaf is itself a stepping stone to the next piece. Using the same ideas, Dickey will unveil a twenty-foot-long wall that will be covered with the quatrefoils as part of Marvelous Mud, a clay extravaganza that will be on view at the Denver Art Museum in June. One side of Dickey's wall will read as a hedge, like the pieces in All Is Leaf, because it will be covered by the quatrefoils glazed in her characteristic green. But on the other side, there will be a composite image inspired by the mille flore background of the "Unicorn" tapestry. This side of the wall will also be carried out with the quatrefoils, but they will have been glazed in different colors to convey the effect of a field of flowers.

In addition to being a knockout show, All Is Leaf is the last exhibit the handsome Rule gallery will present in its current location. In March, Rule will relocate to 3340 Walnut Street in RiNo, right next to Ice Cube Gallery.

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