Art Review


Mark Brasuell is using his solo, Magellan, at Edge Gallery (3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173), as a celebration of his twenty years of exhibition history in Denver; the title refers to a spiritual journey. He began his career in Denver in 1987 after moving from Texas and enrolling in graduate school at the University of Denver. He then immediately jumped into the long-established local art scene by becoming one of the original members of the Edge co-op, where he's exhibited annually for many years.

The gorgeous Magellan is made up of large, neo-abstract-expressionist drawings that are consistent with Brasuell's well-established signature style. What's different about this recent batch is the use of acrylic sheeting in lieu of paper in his boldly colored compositions done in acrylic and oil pastels. The unusual materials and the difficulty caused by working on plastic mean that Brasuell labored over each drawing for several weeks. The transparent sheets (mounted on white panels) allowed him to create a deeper sense of three-dimensionality through layering of the pigments. Furthermore, he has mounted the sheets loosely so that they float over the white backgrounds, lending them an even greater illusion of depth.

Stylistically, works such as "LLABW: Papillion: Lubbock, Texas, 1983" (pictured) have a retro, mid-twentieth-century character, which is typical of Brasuell. According to the artist, he thought of Arshile Gorky's work of the 1940s when he looked at the finished pieces, but I believe they're more reminiscent of Kandinsky's pioneering expressionist pictures from the 1920s. See, I told you they're retro.

Handsomely paired with Brasuell's Magellan is the eponymous Jennifer Hope, installed in the center space at Edge. The show is made up of four enormous color-field abstractions that take a page from Clyfford Still's book in their brushwork and conception. The paintings are atmospheric monochromes, with flame-like forms in complementary tones scattered across them.

Magellan and Jennifer Hope run through October 7 at Edge Gallery.

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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