Art Review

Jennifer Hope: 4 new paintings and Mark Brasuell: Flaming

The funky little Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173) is the city's oldest art co-op, which may be why it frequently hosts great pairs of solos. Currently, Edge is home to a couple of sophisticated shows dedicated to contemporary abstraction, with Jennifer Hope: 4 new paintings installed in the front space and Mark Brasuell: Flaming in the center room.

In many ways, Hope's four large, untitled paintings -- each of which is hung on an individual wall -- are essentially formless, and that makes them a little thin compositionally. They definitely have a presence, though, and the green one facing the entry to the left really works. Despite the number four in the show's subtitle, there are actually five paintings here, with the last one being a small abstraction. Though clearly related to the larger paintings, the small one has a sharper division of pictorial elements.

The Hope solo provides a perfect companion for Brasuell's Flaming, a large and impressive display that records a subtle shift in the artist's style. The paintings are installed so that you can walk around the room and see how Brasuell went from his classic work to the newer, more decorative manner he's playing with. Several of the paintings suggest abstracted floral still-life scenes, and many of them have an early modernist feeling, such as "Virtuosi Vantage" (pictured), which is almost futurist in terms of its dynamic configuration of forms.

Interestingly, Brasuell was not trying to be retro. He doesn't simply paint abstracts; he paints pieces that are about abstraction. In the past, he's had others title his paintings -- or even start them -- and in these newest ones, he wanted to do drawings using paint instead of pencils. To do that, he had to reconcile his volumetric paintings with his airy drawings, and he's definitely been successful in the pursuit.

The Hope and Brasuell exhibits at Edge Gallery close on October 8.

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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