Dula built his reputation locally with his paintings of the construction of Daniel Libeskind's outrageous Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum. He was allowed on site, and during his many trips there, he took hundreds of photos to record the ever-changing details. The paintings make up the "Moment in Time" series and are typically set looking toward the outside from within the web of girders that define the Hamilton's flamboyant shapes. The series culminated in a billboard-sized mural on the Hamilton's second floor depicting that exact space before the structure was walled in.

Related to these are another group showing the construction of the Denver Justice Center, but the most interesting, because of its timing, is a single image of the Clyfford Still Museum being built titled "Still Under Construction." The Still is not a steel-frame building like the Hamilton, but was instead cast in place with concrete. So the possible see-through views were much more limited. Dula's view is sort of constructivist in composition, with the big squarish plywood form at the second floor dominating the painting. With the Still now nearly finished, the Dula scene is intriguing because it's so firmly gone, lost in the past — as recent as that past might be. And I think that quality — a scene that's gone — is one of the things that make Dula's construction paintings so engaging. That and the riot of details he's able to cram into them.

"Ends of the Earth," by Chuck Forsman, oil on panel.
"Ends of the Earth," by Chuck Forsman, oil on panel.
"Still Under Construction," by Rick Dula, acrylic on panel.
"Still Under Construction," by Rick Dula, acrylic on panel.

Location Info


Robischon Gallery

1740 Wazee St.
Denver, CO 80202

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Downtown Denver

William Havu Gallery

1040 Cherokee St.
Denver, CO 80204

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Denver


Through October 29, at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com.Through October 29, at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com.

While many of the most important painters and photographers of the last century and a half came from around the world to Colorado to be inspired by its celebrity scenery, the fact that some of the artists who live here chose to look instead at more difficult subjects is something that's really pretty remarkable.

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