A review of Icebreaker3 by Christopher Fox

From Christopher Fox an artist who shows regularly at Abend Gallery, a review of the work posted on his website http://www.denverdart.com/ http://www.denverdart.com/tag/christopher-fox/.

Icebreaker3: Review

Raise your glass to Ice Cube Gallery on 33rd & Walnut, because Icebreaker3, on display through February 25th, deserves a toast. With over 500 submitted works to choose from, juror Gwen Chanzit (curator of modern and contemporary collections at the Denver Art Museum) certainly could have taken any perspective she wanted. But it’s clear that she worked closely with Ice Cube and wisely chose artistic vision as the thread that ties each artist to the next on display, and the mix works.

Adam Milner’s offering, “Letters to people that should never read them,” is hilarious and engaging. It’s two rows of five letters, all addressing scorned affection, but executed in a way that explores censorship, anonymity and the sometimes painful process of human interaction with great results. You’re left wanting to know more: who were they and what happened? Did she really call him that? It’s raw and engaging, without being lewd or overtly hateful.

Lydia Riegle’s piece “Audacity” is beautiful. The staccatos and adagios of her brushwork are exquisite.  The color palette is restive, grounded with rich ochre yellows, dove greys and deep umbers to keep the piece substantial and dignified.

We’re still processing Mai Wyn Schnatz’s “Splitting wood: Walnut,” and “Splitting wood: Pine,” but we know we love them. She floats a painted film of chopped firewood on brushed aluminum panels, and as a collection of graphic images they pack a lot of personality–not an easy task when your subject is firewood. But she pulls it off, and the panels stake a claim for their space in a worthy way.

We were also glad to see that Gwen Chanzit juried in “Diane Arbus photographing the Doppelganger twins,” by Sally Stockhold. Stockhold’s “Myselfportraits” series, with new works in the series displayed almost annually at Spark Gallery since 2006, is in our humble opinion one of the most significant bodies of work in the genre of photographic self-portraits a living Denver artist has produced. That’s primarily because the scope of her project has been an immensely time-consuming affair, but also because she’s fabulously talented when it comes to self-analysis. The amount of energy and time she puts into each scenario is admirable, and they always reveal different aspects of her personality in a slightly humorous, self-mocking way—she’s always engaged and actively analyzing, but it never feels tortured or burdensome.

Bonnie Ferril-Roman’s handmade paper and wire installation, “Continuum/Interrupted Conversations,” is an absolute jaw-dropper. The central figure of the grouping, or continuum, is an illuminated handmade paper sculpture of what we believe is the artist’s rendering of her own body while pregnant. It is stunning. She’s surrounded this form with tightly coiled handwritten notes (interrupted conversations) held within floating spheres, and punctuated this hovering and magical universe with spiraled trails. The overall effect is dazzling at minimum, and Ferril-Roman turns an otherwise unfortunate placement in the show into a vortex of self-revelation, life-giving intimacy and dialogue. You are seeing the work of an artist who has clearly made the passage not only into motherhood, but into a new phase of conceptual maturity and mastery of her medium.

Other works that caught our eye were Sharon Bond Brown’s “Family Portrait,” Carol Browning’s “Simple Truth,” and Tyler Vorhees’s “The Lector.” All three are wonderful efforts that deserve a second look.

The show’s great. Go, already.

One thought on “A review of Icebreaker3 by Christopher Fox”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *