Art Review

Review: Between Stations, Rule Gallery's Last Show in RiNo

Among the unpleasant upheavals predicated by Denver’s current boom are the twin problems of soaring rents and the demolition of existing buildings to make room for new ones. Together they’re forcing artists out of their studios and galleries out of their homes. That’s the case with Hinterland, whose location in RiNo — which also houses Rule Gallery — is going to be torn down. Co-director Sabin Aell told me that Hinterland will remain in its current spot for the next few months, then relocate to Morrison. Rule has announced that it’s moving out at the end of the month and will reopen on Santa Fe Drive in September.
To mark that transition, Rule has mounted Between Stations, a small group show, as a farewell to its Hinterland space. The show brings together four artists who have little in common other than the fact that they’re all working in some kind of conceptualism. As a result, the exhibition looks free-associational, but that shortcoming is offset by its spare design.

The show encompasses a pair of tour-de-force efforts. Covering one wall is s. legg’s “empty space,” a thirteen-foot-long work on paper created by the artist, who pressed an inked stamp of an Asian character over and over onto the paper during the past two years. On one level this is a process piece, with a video documenting that; on another, it’s an abstract work based on a photo of a tire track in the snow.

In the front corner is the other showstopper, “As a Tree,” a sculpture by Clay Hawkley, who has disassembled an antique nightstand and freely reassembled it, along with some driftwood, to form an expressive tower.

Hawkley also displays paired works on paper: a drawing, and a digital print based on it. These are very compatible with Helen Alexandra’s two prints, which have been digitally painted and subsequently altered with ink; the geometric compositions are pointedly undercut by the ink additions.

The best known of the group is Chris Bagley, a videographer and filmmaker. For this show, Bagley hijacked vintage electronic equipment — like the four Panasonic Travelvision devices that make up his “Piece” series — and loaded them with still images conveyed as though they were broadcast, complete with static and blackouts.

Between Stations runs through August 27 at Rule; the gallery is located — for the time being — at 3254 Walnut Street, where it is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Call 303-800-6776 or go to for additional details. 
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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