An exhibition featuring artists working in or near Denver who use the square format as a conceptual and visual tool. Denver Square is accompanied by Boxy Books in the Reading Room.
Artists included in the Denver Square are gallery director Alicia Bailey, here exhibiting mixed-media assemblage pieces from her Navigation Timeline series. Built in layers forward from figurative oil paintings, the pieces incorporate a blend of artifacts culled from Bailey’s collection of oddities, including items such as butterfly wings sandwiched between mica, snake skins, vials of pigment and ash, vintage and discarded maps, letters, prints, and glass lenses.
Anna Newell-Jones exhibits four small color photographs from the series Halfway Between Here and There. Newell-Jones is a Denver based photographer who quite often works in the square format, occasionally pairing square images for an overall rectangular shape based on square. For Newell, recording moments of interest is a form of study and examination. “I look for subtlety and a sort of quiet, says Newell of her compositional philosophy. I take pictures because I have a compulsive need to record. I photograph things that intuitively appeal to me… objects I want to look at longer, things I want to study. My photographs are a reaction to an exploratory process that investigates the interplay between colors and concepts, patterns and associations.”
Brianna Martray is a Denver painter who works with oil on wooden, boxlike forms. The cubes she has in Denver Square are free-standing and potentially functional as table bases. Brianna’s gestural swirls are applied by her gloved hands rather than brushes and have an energy that works particularly well ‘off the wall’. Of these pieces she says “On this particular project I was intrigued and ultimately satisfied by the tension and duality created between the swirls and circles of color vs. the perfect geometry inherent of the cube.”
Daisy McConnell is a Colorado Springs artist trained as a printmaker who has moved into the painting realm by first mounting/collaging prints and drawings to wooden supports and painting over them with encaustic. Her subject matter ranges from organic body systems to feminine frippery, from domestic musings to animal mortality. Here she exhibits pieces from her Ornamental Organ series.
Gail Wagner is a Boulder based mixed media artist who has recently returned to painting. She states: “In my older fiber pieces (exhibited in the Interweavings show), I used forms inspired by plants and animals as a way of exploring contradictory views of nature coexisting in our culture. Another part of this exploration was through my construction process: crocheting, sewing, and weaving are activities that bring together separate components, in the act of creating a new whole. In my newer work, I continue the practice of linking seemingly disparate elements through painting. Flatness vs. space, spontaneity vs. control, whimsy vs. gloom, sophistication vs. naiveté—all these conflicting extremes are brought together in the new works. Though a different medium, hints of past materials persist: threads, yarns, and loops pervade the new work, linking past and present.”
Hamidah Glasgow – Richly beautiful, the photographs of Hamidah Glasgow in Denver Square are selections from her series Shadow World. Glasgow states “Shadow world is a body of work about what we leave behind. Even in the simplest landscape there is a human presence. Sometimes the traces are obvious and sometimes sometimes not. I am interested in traces of humanity that inhabit the seemingly empty landscape. . . Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell Tale Heart and Dante’s Inferno have in common an exploration of the inner workings of the mind. I am interested in exploring the emotions and thoughts that take hold of our imagination and begin to bend time as well as perception. How we experience the world on an experiential level as well as an emotional level is a theme that has captured my imagination and my creative need to explore.
Heather Doyle-Maier has pieces from her Wane series on display, along with brand new series. . . “As a form, I find the square to be irresistible and I am drawn to create square works again and again. Solid and uniform, squares provide for me a clearly-defined arena in which to explore line and texture, yet they are blessedly free from internal tension. Squares offer reliability and objectivity, not favoring one side or direction over another. Yet squares maintain a sense of themselves, not fading into the background but remaining present as a frame. In a square, I can create a visual language that has its own integrity, a world that is contained and held. The borders of a square are strong enough to contain anything that needs to happen within them. My love for squares and combinations of squares has grown out of admiring traditional quilts, in which geometric shapes are stitched together to form square blocks and the square blocks are then stitched together to make the quilt surface. The pattern of repeating squares that forms the quilt top serves to both comfort and organize, offering a respite from chaos and meaninglessness. In my work, repeating squares act to slow down sequences and to make visible small variations and slight shifts. Progressions of squares serve to regulate and, like the pages of a book, break down raw experience into uniform, manageable pieces.
Maura Gramzinski exhibits several handbags crafted from vintage slides, along with her brand new laptop bag. RedCamper handbags are built literally from memories. Comprised of authentic vintage travel and family images, permanently sealed in a sturdy vinyl with industrial modern touches of stainless steel and rubber, the handbag is both cutting edge and retro in a sweet fusion. Its old school in a new way. RedCamper celebrates the human story, no matter your age, race, class or education. American/human history has for too long been written by the TV networks, advertising blitzes and newspaper headlines. The real American history we all lived and loved is locked into mildewed boxes in attics, basements and closets seen only once, twice, maybe three times, and as time marches on these little relics often find themselves sitting on the curb waiting for the trash truck. The human story has become irrelevant in the face of history. It’s a tragedy to waste these decisive moments that were important enough to that person, in that time, to be worthy of encapsulation forever on film. These images are the authentic, pure, real, look into the life of a person living life and this average persons view of their world is as fascinating and telling as the most brilliant scholars thesis.
Mia Semingson is a photographer and artist living in Lafayette. She is exhibiting a piece created specifically for Denver Square. She also has two pieces in the Boxy Books show in the Reading Room.
Tony Gallagher is exhibiting works from his series Anthropomorphize. With an SX-70 Polaroid SLR (single-lens reflex) camera in hand, Tony captured this series on Alterimage 600 pack film—now discontinued, but chosen for its color, grain and matte surface.