Review: Memories of Home Get Hazy for Jill Hadley Hooper at Goodwin Fine Art

Jill Hadley Hooper: Interiors Goodwin Fine Art 1255 Delaware Street

Jill Hadley Hooper is nationally known for her illustrations, which have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times. Around here, though, she wears many hats, and may be better known as the co-founder, with Tracy Weil, of the River North Art District. She's also respected for her curatorial vision, as expressed at Ironton Studios and Gallery, where she's the director. Finally, as this show at Goodwin reveals, she's also an expert painter and a significant Denver artist.

See also: Review: Conceptual Art from Judy Chicago, Ann Hamilton and Jae Ko

Jill Hadley Hooper: Interiors includes a series of large-format mixed-media paintings depicting domestic objects such as furniture. The subjects were inspired by Hooper's childhood home in southeast Denver, where, until recently, her widowed mother lived. After a decline in health, her mother entered a nursing home, where she remains.

This left a large empty house for Hooper to deal with -- one that was filled with possessions that evoked the everyday lives of her parents and that also held a powerful place in Hooper's own memories.

The paintings are both elegant and somber, each focusing on a single piece of furniture. In "Nature Morte, 2," which depicts a table with ghostly images of plates on top, there's the sense that we're looking at Hooper's memories of past events. And talk about ghostly: "White Chair" shows an armchair draped in a sheet, while "Eclipse" depicts a wall mirror reflecting nothing.

These works have a distinctive look, which is the product of Hooper's interesting method. She begins by cutting either cardboard or Styrofoam into the shapes that she wants, then covers one side of the cut-out with oil-based inks and transfers the inked shape to a panel, in the manner of a contact print. The shapes are often unique to their place in the composition; however, in some, the same shape is used over and over to create a background.

Interiors is an extremely refined effort, made up of distinctive and accomplished work, and it looks absolutely great in the front space at Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street. The show runs through December 30; for more information, call 303-573-1255 or go to goodwinfineart.com.

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