Art Review

Artists Repeat Themselves in Pattern, an Elegant Group Show at Space Gallery

Space Gallery owner Michael Burnett believes that the impressive Pattern: Geometric / Organic, now on display at the gallery, is his best effort yet. I have to say, though, that I’ve been checking out exhibits at Space for years, and there have been many solid shows presented there. It’s true that Pattern is more ambitious than most; there’s even a handsome catalogue that accompanies it — and that’s something that almost never happens with a show at a commercial gallery like this one.

Pattern features the work of nine artists, all of whom use repeated forms or shapes to create their compositions. Artists employing hard-edged compositions dominate, but there are also some who utilize organic shapes and some who do work that lies somewhere in between. Most are quite strong. The show has been installed so that there’s an appealing openness to it; there’s a lot of material here, but Pattern never looks or feels crowded. Then again, Space is huge.

Karen Freedman, who’s in the hard-edged camp, creates multi-layered cubic patterns that radiate symmetrically out from the center of each of her panels. There is juxtaposition between the straightness of her lines and the haziness of their edges, the latter the result of her use of thick encaustics. Joanne Mattera’s triangle-based works, also in encaustic, comprise non-repeating patterns, with subtle alterations in the rhythm of shapes that she uses in each one.

Corey Postiglione embraces interlocking arching forms, which he carries out in stripped-down palettes. That’s also the case with Ruth Hiller, who creates post-minimalist compositions using beeswax in elementary shades applied to plywood. The results, as in “The Rule of Thirds," are absolutely sublime. Also distinct — though still geometric — are the encaustic works by Lynda Ray, who takes rectilinear shapes but conveys them with unexpected painterly flourishes.

Among those artists who use organic shapes is Jane Guthridge, whose cut and painted Dura-Lar plastic bas-reliefs have vaguely vegetal compositions incorporating repeated biomorphic elements. The same is true for Tyler Aiello’s sculptures, which are constructed from repeated metal roundels brought together into natural forms. Their work clearly establishes the fact that geometric patterns are not the only kind out there. The same can be said for the work of two other artists, Nouman Gaafar and Amber George, who both produce pieces that lie formally between geometry and nature, with each using loosely conceived patterns in their paintings.

This good-looking show runs through June 13 at Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive. Call 720-904-1088 or go to for additional information.

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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