Illiterate Gallery first year anniversary features the art of Brittany Gould and Drew Englander

Several blocks outside the First Friday art-walk on Santa Fe sits Illiterate Gallery at 72 South Broadway. It's a part of town that some consider a place so-called "hipsters" call home -- but if you stand in front of Illiterate too long on any other night of the week, you're quickly going to be accosted by aggressive bums. Such was not the case at this opening of the dual art show featuring the work of Brittany Gould and Drew Englander. "Technically, it's our first anniversary," commented Adam Gildar, one of the founders of the gallery when I congratulated him on the second anniversary. Gildar, with Yuzo Nieto, founded Illiterate Magazine on the college's coin while they were students at CU Boulder a few years back, and the magazine's contents focused mostly on literature and artwork. You can still find the magazine in the gallery, but recent offerings in that arena are mostly online at

A quick walk around the gallery revealed artwork that really made good use of the background white. Especially a piece by Englander called "The Wall Loves Itself" in which a white hand seemed to emerge from the wall like something out of Videodrome, holding a mirror to the wall as though it were checking itself out. In red, backward, all-capital letters were the words "I AM A BEAUTIFUL WALL." Indeed, vanity of the inanimate.

Englander's other pieces were similarly conceptual, and the theme of the "vortex" ran through a couple of pieces, as did "leaving the body." In each, symbolic beings become one with or embody the vortex in different ways, including the enigmatic "Vortex Face."

Gould's work, no less abstract in its way, and no less interesting, made extensive use of textures and composition in various contexts. One piece called "And So Carefully" looked as though Gould had created huge fingerprints through precise scoring of a material in confined areas, so as to give the impression of something left behind -- much more so than something meticulously crafted to look that way.

Running into electronic music wunderkind Colin Ward at the show, I asked him what his favorite piece might be and he pointed to "The Long Dark." Citing the frayed imperfection of the piece compared to so many other works of art, Ward seemed to see it as having taken some more liberties with the artform than expected.

And it was a night to run into some other local visual artists like Alicia Ordal, Milton Melvin Croissant III and Sara Century, also fans of the captivatingly mysterious artwork of Gould and Englander. But mostly it was people coming to see something a little different off the beaten path of First Friday, away from the mobs of people crowding Santa Fe that night.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.