Art Review

Artbeat: Ended friendships and abstract brushworks at Edge Gallery

The recent work of a pair of longtime members of Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173, http://edgeart.org) is on view in the co-op's front and middle spaces through this weekend. Both artists are abstract painters.

In the front is Mark Brasuell: The Second Chance, made up of acrylic and mixed-medium paintings on sheets of transparent Mylar, done in Brasuell's characteristic action-painting style. But Brasuell's work isn't purely abstract-expressionist (despite appearances to the contrary), because he puts in a neomodern twist by basing them on a personal narrative and taking an unconventional approach to titling them.

The pieces in this show are based on a recent unpleasant experience, a regrettable and abruptly ended close friendship. Playing on the sound-alike word association of "wine" and "whine," which provides clues to the situation that the artist is referring to, Brasuell poured wine over Mylar sheets and allowed them to dry, which took about a week. He then went in with acrylic paint, and in a few instances embedded fragments of flowers and leaves in the pigments. Each piece is given the name of the wine – and, in one case, absinthe – that was used to make it, and the label from the bottle has been drafted as the title card on the wall next to the piece. The pieces are intimately scaled, which could refer to the fact that the underlying narrative was itself an intimate matter (or to the fact that wine is so expensive).

In the back gallery are a group of paintings, many of them quite large, that make up Jennifer Hope. These paintings are closely akin to one another, making them a coherent series. They combine abstract-expressionist brushwork with a constructivist handling of the large forms. Circles or egg shapes are a major motif, with some being fully fleshed out while others are in partial form or conveyed only in outline. Hope uses a limited palette, with lots of dark tones in black and green and touches of orangey red.

The Brasuell and Hope shows both run through October 9.

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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