Art Review

Review: Simplicity Rules in Inherent Intent at Walker Fine Art

Bobbi Walker, owner and director of Walker Fine Art, has assembled Inherent Intent, a seamless group show that brings together seven contemporary abstract artists from across the country. All of these artists employ subtlety as their principal aesthetic philosophy, yet none of them can be called minimalists — at least not in the traditional sense of that term.

The show opens with several pieces by Florida artist Jessica Drenk, who uses an unusual material to create her works: cut-up books saturated with wax used as a stiffening medium. The most impressive of her creations is the monumental “Cerebral Mapping,” which rises up the double-height north wall. The piece is a tangle of interlocking shapes that resembles the roots of a tree, and it's a great starting-off point for the rest of the show.
In the niches on either side of the center section are pieces by two California artists whose styles are extremely compatible. On the left are intriguingly luminous mixed-media paintings by Udo Nöger, a German-born artist who's been showing his work in Denver for decades. On the right are gauzy black-on-white oil-on-panel pieces by Chris Richter. It would be easy to imagine the Nögers and Richters hanging beautifully side by side instead of across the room from one another, as they are at Walker.
In the back space, a similar harmony is created between the works on paper by Ohio's Mel Rea and by Ana Zanic, who emigrated from Croatia and now lives in Chicago. Both are interested in creating expressionist abstractions; for these pieces, Rea works in black and white, while Zanic uses an array of delicately translucent colors. In the Rea works, a dominant black mark is surrounded by less distinct elements in gray against white. Meanwhile, Zanic uses watery washes accented by linear elements; she's exploring the psychology behind her own journey from her war-torn home to the sanctuary of the United States.

The show also includes offerings by two Colorado artists who work in three dimensions. Boulder’s Liz Quan, whose pieces are displayed in the back adjacent to the Zanics, assembles scores of similar shapes done in white porcelain to create aggregated bas-reliefs. And running throughout the space are stone sculptures in both geometric and organic shapes by Vanessa Clarke from Denver.
Walker has taken a tight approach in curating this show, and everything in it works beautifully together. It runs through November 5 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A (the main entrance is on Cherokee Street). Call 303-355-8955 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