RULE Gallery reopens alongside Nathan Abel’s “West with the Night”

Robin Rule’s early death hit Denver’s art community hard. While Rule had hit a few bumps in her long career as a gallerist she was respected for her aesthetic, her curatorial sensibilities and was recognized by artists as Denver’s leading dealer. I always thought she could sell a piece of tape on the wall. Please don’t misinterpret-Rule was not trumpeting “The Emperor’s New Clothes” nor did she promulgate used-car sales tactics.

Rule’s excitement and expansive knowledge of the artwork was palpable. Viewers responded accordingly and rose to her challenge. Not playing to the sensibilities of a small set of collectors, Rule chose work in which she believed. So how does the new director, Valerie Santerli continue the legacy of RULE Gallery?

Nathan Abels, "Ghost," Acrylic on Canvas, 16" x 20”
Nathan Abels, “Ghost,” Acrylic on Canvas, 16″ x 20”
Nathan Abels, "First Light,” Acrylic on Canvas, 36" x 48”
Nathan Abels, “First Light,” Acrylic on Canvas, 36” x 48”
Nathan Abels, “Glow," Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 24"
Nathan Abels, “Glow,” Acrylic on Canvas, 18″ x 24″

To start, Santerli has reopened a physical gallery. RULE Gallery now occupies the space opposite Hinterland Art Space, the well-respected gallery in RiNo run by Sabin Aell and Randy Rushton. In a timely co-exhibition, Hinterland is hosting Nathan Abels, one of Rule’s stable, with a solid exhibition of paintings, “West with the Night,” the strongest of which are very subtle, almost-there paintings conceived in 2012.

(Not sure if this is intended- is Abel’s exhibition title also indicative of Rule’s pioneering spirit? It’s a nice doubling even so.)

The washy dusk-lit Ghost, 2012 and light flecked Dawn, 2012 bookend a set of paintings hung in a narrative succession that brings to mind fear of the dark, loneliness and then climbing out of a hole of despair. And yet, I sense that desolation hasn’t quite departed. As portended by the golden colored work Dawn, there’s a sense that he’s just opening his eyes to the light. These are works that require quiet and solitude. Viewing is recommended without interruption.

Clark Richert, "Fibonacci's Chord"
Clark Richert, “Fibonacci’s Chord”
 Dale Chisman "Big Chief"
Dale Chisman “Big Chief”

In RULE Gallery proper Santerli has curated an exhibition comprised from Rule’s inventory, some new works from Rule’s represented artists and most significantly works released from Rule’s private collection. Of special note is Clark Richert’s all over patterning in Fibonacci’s Chord, 1981 and Dale Chisman’s Big Chief, 1986, oil and collage on canvas. Also intrigued by Diane Christiansen’s surreal, performative animation First Chapter, 2013 I hope that Santerli is able to commit Christiansen to a solo exhibition.

-I’m also piqued to follow Santerli’s navigation of Rule’s aesthetic.



Check out RULE Gallery and the pop-up exhibition at Hinterland Art Space

3254 Walnut St, Denver CO, 80205

June 13, 2014 through July 3, 2014

Tuesday – Saturday 12-6pm and by appointment.

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