Art Review


This past spring, emerging artist Jared David Paul founded an exhibition space that he originally called the Santa Fe Arts Assembly. He has since shortened the name to the Assembly (766 Santa Fe Drive, 303-257-0145), because the original name, it turns out, misled people into thinking that the space was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as opposed to simply being on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver.

Last month, the Assembly, which is in a storefront next door to the Sandy Carson Gallery, opened a second venue, called the Annex, just around the corner (820 West Eighth Avenue, 303-257-0145).

The Assembly and the Annex are not commercial galleries, but two spaces run by the same artists' cooperative, which is also called the Assembly. The membership of the co-op is limited to twelve emerging artists, and the two members featured in this month's shows are Mark Logan and Rodney Wallace. Logan's abstract paintings are displayed in Layers at the main Assembly space, and neo-pop artist Wallace is showing his large-scale representational paintings in The Denver Series at the Annex.

Logan's paintings include geometric and other simple shapes, but his painterly method is sloppy and expressionistic, which is seemingly at odds with the linear subjects. This combination of antithetical attributes is hard to pull off, and many of these paintings fail as a result. But others succeed, in particular those in which Xs appear, as in the smart-looking little "Dos" (above), an acrylic on canvas.

Wallace's paintings, which include text and photo-based images, are set in Denver. And while most of them are a little thin, the train of thought -- reflecting everyday events and objects through the use of commercial art methods -- does hold a lot of promise.

With so much going on in the Denver art scene, and therefore so much competition among art spaces for viewers, Paul showed real courage in adding not one, but two new spots to the city's exhibition circuit.

Shows at the Assembly and the Annex each run for one month, meaning that Layers and The Denver Series will stay up through October 31.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia