Monroe Hodder really gets around. In the past twenty years she's lived in New York, San Francisco, Rome and — get this — Almaty, which is in Kazakhstan. Currently the painter is dividing her time between her permanent residence in London and Steamboat Springs, where she has a second home. Given her travels, it's not surprising that she's had exhibits around the world. But Desire in a Gypsy Cloak, at the William Havu Gallery (1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com) marks her Denver debut.
The show fills the entire first floor, and you won't doubt for a minute that these post-minimal paintings are brand-new, because they're still de-gassing and are thus still wet. Hodder combines minimal subject matter — stripes — with anti-minimal techniques, particularly expressionist brushwork. Her surfaces are covered with paint-outs, over-painting, drips, runs and scumbled areas. And it's apparent that she turns the paintings this way and that as she is working them, because many of the drips and runs go sideways or up instead of down.
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The stripes are large belts of color with smeary margins rather than crisp ones, which creates a minimal/anti-minimal tension. Typically, each stripe is done in a combination of tints instead of just one shade. Hodder's color choices are key to the success of these pieces. Some, such as "Polar Rose," are done in a range of related shades, in this case blues and greens. At other times, Hodder embraces a rainbow of hues, as in the title painting, "Desire in a Gypsy Cloak," where she brings together red, pink, blue, green, yellow, purple and a range of others. In most of these paintings, the stripes run from side to side, but in a few, like "Fanfare for the Common Man" (pictured), they go from top to bottom.
Denver's art world has been busy during the run of Hodder's show, so I'm afraid it's fallen through the cracks for many art fans. Now's the time to see it; you won't be sorry.