Art Review

Light and Time at Rule Gallery

Light and Time, in the front of Rule Gallery (227 Broadway, 303-777-9473, consists of small, wet-plate Collodion print photographs by Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi that have been propped against the walls. The Collodion process is an early photographic method used by Civil War documentarian Matthew Brady.

In a jointly written artist statement, Sink and Hatgi observe that archaic chemical processes — including the Collodion procedure — that fell by the wayside in the late 19th century are making something of a comeback at the beginning of the 21st. This is no doubt a reaction to the digital revolution, of which these methods are decidedly not a part.

The diminutive photos on glass or tin depict men, women, landscapes and still-life scenes; they are very beautiful, if more than a little creepy. Many feature self-portraits of Sink and Hatgi, sometimes together and sometimes alone. The most striking are printed on blue sheets of glass that have been sprinkled throughout the display. The entire presentation is very engaging.

In the middle part of the gallery, in the exhibit The Untold Story, are some remarkable candid shots of Andy Warhol (and one of Jean-Michel Basquiat) that were taken by Sink during his youthful sojourn to New York a couple of decades ago. Sink has long talked about his close relationship with Warhol, and these intimate photos of the artist's private life prove that he wasn't just whistling Dixie. I have to admit, I was one of those who doubted him, but I guess I was wrong. The color photos show Warhol as he was in his everyday life not long before he died.

The festivities are finished off by Stills, which comprises edgy and awkward representational paintings done by emerging Denver artist Nathan Abels. Though technically not photo-realist in style, these paintings make wonderful companions for the photos from the other two shows.

All three exhibits close January 10.

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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

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