Kevin Curry: Between Chaos and Order is a smart-looking solo at Rule Gallery that's dominated by conceptual abstractions which the artist, Kevin Curry, made from reclaimed materials.
Curry moved to Colorado in 2009 and has since made something of a splash. I first encountered his work in the Faculty Triennial at the University of Denver's Myhren Gallery, but his breakout piece is "Face the Sun," a city-commissioned sculpture that was just installed at Tennyson Street near 41st Avenue.
Working with an insultingly small budget of $15,000, Curry was able to come up with something monumental for this piece of public art. The central element (there are a half-dozen outlying elements) comprises three stiles covered with cut-up found signs that rise from a circular concrete base embossed with the phrase "Face the Sun" on the east and west sides, which relates to sunrise and sunset.
A number of pieces at Rule are closely associated with "Face the Sun." For "447 Days" (detail pictured), Curry created a trio of boxes made of cut-up and reassembled metal signs so that the words on the signs become abstract forms. Some of these reassembled signs are more lyrical — in particular, "Chicken in the Box." The original sign was hand-painted, which allows Curry not only to exploit the found sign as a material, but also to annex the found brushstrokes on it. But despite all of the heady appropriation, there's almost an abstract-expressionist quality to this piece. The associational referents are different for "Location," which is based on a printed sign and winds up looking like a pattern painting.
One of the works at Rule, "Home" — a hyper-realist image constructed from found keyboard keys — isn't linked visually to the others, but it is associated with them on a conceptual level. Curry employed keys in a range of colors to build a digitally inspired image of a single key.
The main concern for conceptual artists like Curry isn't coming up with the idea on which works are based — ideas are a dime a dozen — but rather conveying that idea in visually interesting ways. And in that regard, it's very apparent that Curry has succeeded.
The show at Rule (3340 Walnut Street, 303-777-9473, www.rulegallery.com) runs through June 16.