By Raymundo Munoz
Well, RiNo is now minus one Rule Gallery, and that’s a sore loss. Not necessarily for Rule, though — they have a new location opening up soon on Santa Fe (and another one in Marfa, TX) and will continue showcasing the conceptual and abstract contemporary works they (and we) love. We wish them the very best.
The aformentioned art district, however, has lost a vital member. What gallery in this art district can and will take up the slack? Who can fill the space left in Rule’s leaving? (Don’t forget the adjoined Hinterland is also shutting its doors this year) There are some contenders (Dateline, for instance), but with new developments gobbling up the area (and pushing artist havens like Wazee Union out), who really knows how much of an art district will be left?
Change is inevitable, though, and art’s fickle mistress wrote the book on it. Transitions, though, can be messy.
In its last move on Walnut St., Rule offers up a clever and poignant meditation on this idea with their group show “Between Stations.” Featuring Helen Alexandra, Clay Hawkley, Chris Bagley, and s.legg, the show explores the transitions society faces and the adaptations that follow.
Consider s.legg’s massive “Empty Space” piece, previously on view for a semi-private solo exibition in the racquet ball court at the Lido Building back in February (sounds weird, but it was a beautiful and haunting experience). The piece is anything but empty: thousands of hand-pressings with a tiny Chinese character typewriter slug filling the space left by cars after snowfall. From afar, the piece resembles a thick and long brushstroke, but closer investigation reveals a multitude of swirling and undulating patterns that took months to develop.
In its original presentation, “Empty Space” interacted with its womb-like space in a different way: it was almost holy, eliciting whispers and slow, measured movements. In “Between Stations,” however, the piece is much more dynamic, acting as a swooping bridge that helps tie the rest of the show together in a moving way.
Or take Boulder artist Clay Hawkley’s “As A Tree” sculpture, built from found driftwood and a nightstand. Gangling and questionably balanced, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of sorts: touching and absurd. Something dead but natural spliced with something dead but repurposed by humankind and then made to resemble what it once was but in a crude and perverse way. In the context of the show and touched-upon neighborhood issues, it works as a powerful statement on gentrification and urban development.
“Between Stations” fulfills its purpose well, closing one chapter for the gallery and making way for another, all while leaving a dog-ear for others to contend with.
“Between Stations” has since closed, and so has the gallery. (I’m a very slow writer. I apologize.) For more information, please visit www.rulegallery.com/Between-Stations and please consider helping Rule Gallery usher in a new and successful era at the grand opening of their new location on 530 Santa Fe Dr. featuring a solo show by Scott Young on Sept. 23. Photos from Aug. 7 opening reception.