New paintings by Jill Hadley Hooper at Goodwin Fine Art

Tina Goodwin is a veteran of the Denver art world, having started out at the legendary Carson-Sapiro Gallery, which arguably pioneered RiNo as an art district some thirty years ago when it became the first art venue there. She was also the director for sixteen years of the now-closed William Matthews Gallery. Then, last March, she struck out on her own, opening Goodwin Fine Art (1255 Delaware Street, 303-573-1255, www.goodwinfineart.com) in a rehabbed building just a stone's throw from the Civic Center Cultural Complex with great views — through the big front windows — of the DAM, the Clyfford Still Museum and the Denver Public Library.

The current show at Goodwin is The Weight of Things: Jill Hadley Hooper, showcasing the well-known Denver artist's newest series of paintings. Hooper, who runs the gallery at Ironton, is not only a painter, but also a book illustrator, and she has built a national reputation with her work. The paintings at Goodwin depict some recently acquired heirlooms and other family pieces. Using oil-based printing inks and crayons applied to birch panels, Hooper creates a ground that comprises blocky, semi-geometric shapes. Then she inserts lyrical depictions of these inherited pieces, mostly furniture, in the center of the picture plane. 

Hooper has written that the show's title is a clever play on words, which it is — in more ways than one. First, the idea of "weight" suggests the emotional heaviness associated with pieces that are passed down and thus contain within them the history of her family and the biography of the deceased person who once owned them. Second, Hooper renders the pieces of furniture as though they were floating in the middle of those blocky grounds and are thus "weightless." The resulting paintings are nominally representational, but are clearly not realist in style, even if viewers will readily recognize what their subjects are.


The Weight of Things

Hooper is one of several prominent Colorado artists who are part of the stable at the still-newish Goodwin, including Patrick Marold and Yoshitomo Saito; surely more will be joining up in the coming months. The Weight of Things: Jill Hadley Hooper at Goodwin Fine Art runs through December 3.

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