The Butcher’s Daughter

Kathy Knaus grew up in Wheat Ridge, where her father owned a meat market — Edwards Meats — that’s still a going concern now run by her nephew. When she was a teenager, she worked behind the counter during summer breaks from school. And since 2006, she’s created works of art about the experience — the latest being the brand-new installation Meat Market.

“Lots of it is about re-creating the memories I have,” says Knaus. “I’ve had a meat cooler built using the door my father made, with sawdust on the floor like he used to do; I have butcher paper hanging down on the wall with a video of my paintings projected on it; the sausage machine my father used; meat hooks and his scale.” This total environment now fills one half of Ice Cube, the new artist co-op at 3320 Walnut Street. In the other half is Coliseum, a show devoted to a selection of neo-expressionist paintings and other mixed-media works by Theresa Anderson.

Theresa Anderson and Jennifer Jeannelle present two shows at Ice Cube


By Michael PagliaTuesday, Jun 14 2011

In just two years, Ice Cube Gallery (3320 Walnut Street, 303-292-1822, has become one of the top co-ops in the city, owing to both its impressive facility and its high-quality offerings. Currently on display are two solos showcasing a pair of co-op members.

On the north side of the main exhibition room is Theresa Anderson: Private Listening Devices, made up of a series of interconnected installations. For her show, Anderson has combined a handful of her signature representational paintings and a raft of preparatory studies, along with torn magazine pages, thrift-shop lamps, beat-up chairs, an old television set, kitschy knickknacks and other materials. Taken together, they have an insane, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feel. For Anderson, these vignettes are meant to express her creative process, and she likens them to “period rooms” that are meant to document her interests. Also included is a series of digital images that are stills from a video of a performance in front of a sports facility near Parker, but the video itself is not part of the show.

In the southern half of the gallery is Jennifer Jeannelle: Receptive, made up of an enormous multi-part bas-relief (detail pictured) and a series of studies for it. The pieces are constructed from large individual panels covered with wax that has been embedded with computer components and with thousands of extruded horn shapes in clay applied to the surfaces. The clay elements are arranged in circular shapes that suggest plants and flowers. Some are finished in light colors while others are done in dark tones, which Jeannelle says represent growth and decay, respectively. One subtle aspect of the piece are the strings that connect some of the panels. This combination of images conflates science and nature. Jeannelle has been doing monumental work of this type for several years — this one measures over thirty feet long — and it would look great in a large public space; eventually, she hopes to place it in one.

Charging RiNo

Read more Art Limited at
by michael paglia
Jul 2011

It’s a story that could be told about any big city that has an art scene. Artists need to find cheap studios close to the center of things, and when they do, ancillary businesses like galleries, design and architecture firms, and even restaurants and bars quickly follow. Denver sports a number of these art-friendly neighborhoods including the Golden Triangle, Santa Fe Drive and LoDo among a raft of others.

One area though is clearly on the ascendancy–it’s RiNo, the official nickname for the River North Art District. It’s an enormous area just north of downtown, encompassing all or part of several neighborhoods. Why it’s happening in RiNo in particular has to do with Denver’s past, and why it’s happening now has to do with Denver’s current role as the art center of the region.

The Railroad, Not the River
The RiNo neighborhoods are diverse but have one thing in common: the railroad. Denver was a railroad city. Gold and silver ore, lumber and the rest, were brought down from the mountains to Denver on narrow-gauge rail lines. But then, those commodities needed to be shipped out. The transcontinental railroad completed in 1869 could not come through Colorado because there was no way over our famous peaks, so civic leaders made the decision to build a spur to the main line at Cheyenne, Wyoming, 100 miles due north. Over time, the railroads built a multiplicity of lines north of downtown and this area is what is now called RiNo. This extensive track system encouraged the development of both commercial and industrial buildings that, owing to fire codes, were predominately constructed of brick or other masonry. The oldest structures date to the late 19th century but most were constructed in the first half of the 20th. Some are, as you might expect, undistinguished in any way, while others are more unexpected, being high quality works of architecture exemplifying various strains of modernism beginning with Arts and Crafts and the Prairie styles, and progressing through to mid-century, Streamline Moderne, and International styles.

Dry Ice Factory
Artist studios and Galleries, Founded by Matt Palmer

Changing Fortunes
With the decline of the railroads after World War II, these neighborhoods likewise began to decline and suddenly there were lots of vacant buildings. RiNo as a place for art can trace its roots back to the ’70s, when artists and the Carson Sapiro Gallery were occupying buildings in the Upper Larimer section. However, it’s only been in the last five years that RiNo has really taken off as an art district. That’s due both to a continuous influx of fresh talent, as well as to the creation of the RiNo organization in the fall of 2005, the brainchild of Tracy Weil and Jill Hadley Hooper, who also designed the group’s distinctive logo.

Tireless promoters of RiNo, Weil and Hooper have definitely put this part of town on the city’s art map. Originally there were only eight members of the group, including Sharon Brown–who coined the inspired slogan, “where art is made”–but within a year there were fifty. Both Weil and Hooper credit art critic Mary Chandler with the initial success of RiNo, because she promoted the first district tour in the winter of 2006 in her column in the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. At the same time, Weil and Hooper were also creating a powerful on-line presence for the district, and were interested in establishing the RiNo brand, an effort in which they’ve made great strides. Participation in the group swelled with the rapid rise of the area as exemplified by a recent RiNo “Art Safari” that had over one hundred studios and galleries at two dozen separate locations on its schedule.


Topographically, and because of the colliding, intermittent, and disconnected street grids, there emerges three distinct parts of RiNo. These are: the ridge east of the tracks; the rail-yards along Brighton Boulevard in the valley; and the west bank of the Platte River along Ringsby Court. RiNo is essentially only navigable by car, and until you figure out the confusing street patterns, daytime touring is recommended.

The Ridge
Along Broadway from Arapahoe to Blake, and north up Larimer, Walnut and Blake, is the most urban part of RiNo. This neighborhood is built on the brow of a ridge above the rail-yards. In character, the south end resembles nearby LoDo, with handsome historic buildings and a nice assortment of contemporary in-fill projects. Toward 38th Street, the buildings thin out with some open service yards.

Many of the landmarks of RiNo may be found here. Coming out of downtown, you’ll first come across RedLine on Arapahoe, an art center that features subsidized state-of-the-art studio space along with impressive exhibition facilities. Founded by wealthy art donor and artist Laura Merage, RedLine is in a former vacuum-cleaner parts warehouse that was rehabbed into a Neo-Modern gem by the architectural firm Semple Brown Design.

Another distinctive Neo-Modern design houses Plus Gallery, owned by Karen and Ivar Zeile, just a few blocks away on Larimer. Plus, which showcases eclectic contemporary art, is one of the only purpose-built galleries in town, with its handsome minimalist style building by architect Steve Chucovich. The chaste red brick and reflective metal structure that incorporates elements of a historic paint factory is considered a contemporary masterpiece in Denver.

Heading up Walnut–and back down Blake and Larimer–there are many other important players in RiNo. Surely the most significant is the Dry Ice Factory, which was–you guessed it–a dry ice factory. Today, the handsome early modern building, run by founder Matt Palmer, houses some thirty studios. It also includes one of the city’s top co-operatives, Ice Cube Gallery, and recently Rule Gallery relocated there to a ground floor space. Rule, owned by Robin Rule, is a noteworthy contemporary commercial outlet that specializes in the work of established regional talents.

Just a few doors down Walnut is Hinterland, founded by Sabin Aell and Randy Rushton, as a venue for experimental art displays. And a block away on Blake is Pattern Shop Studio, owned by Rex Brown and his wife Sharon, the author of the “where art is made” slogan, and a painter. This handsome Arts and Crafts-style brick building was the former home of Silver Engineering Works, a pattern maker. The Browns turned it into a gallery, studio and residence commissioning top-tier Denver architect David Owen Tryba to oversee what would be an award-winning rehab design.

The Yards
Though the venues west of the rail-yards are right next to those on the ridge–as the crow flies anyway–there are limited street connections between them. Only where Broadway becomes Brighton Boulevard, or at 38th Street, a dozen blocks to the north, do the two areas directly communicate. Taking the Broadway to Brighton route, you’ll first come to Plinth Gallery, a remarkably handsome rehab and expansion of a once bland existing building. It was commissioned by ceramics artist Jonathan Kaplan and designed by architect David Lynn Wise. Kaplan operates a ceramics gallery in the front, and has his studio in the back, and on the second floor, his living space.

A couple blocks up 36th Street, on an isolated patch of Wazee, is one of the first art-related outfits to have opened in this part of RiNo: Z Wick Place, a rundown brick building with funky accents which is the studio of installation and mosaic artist Susan Wick. Just to the south is the enormous if ramshackle Wazee Union, founded by S. Brian Smith and Neil Adam, with Nick Hughes curating the shows in the gallery. The large painted brick building houses around fifty separate studios, and there’s an annex, back up on the ridge, called Walnut Workshop.

Heading the other way on 36th are two key spots, Weilworks, opened by RiNo founder Weil, and Ironton Studios and Gallery, of which fellow group founder Hooper is a part. Like Plinth, Weilworks is an entirely reconfigured and expanded existing building, which was also designed by architect Wise. There’s a postmodern character to it so that it resembles an urban farmhouse, a feeling enhanced by the extensive vegetable gardens that surround it. It’s a live/work space where Weil mounts shows on the ground floor and in the stair tower. Ironton, directly across Chestnut, is a lightly touched-up metal shop that retains its industrial charm, although the elaborate garden set with sculptures ameliorates the blue-collar connotations of the place. The day-to-day operation of Ironton is left to sculptor Mike Mancarella whose Junoworks operates out of the studios, alongside those of other artists. There is also a serious contemporary art gallery at Ironton run by Hooper.

The River and Beyond
Back down on Brighton, cross at either 31st or 38th to arrive at Ringsby Court where RiNo’s most architecturally ambitious contemporary project has been built: Taxi 2, developed by Mickey Zeppelin, a major real estate investor in RiNo. Dubbed a “landscaper” because of Taxi 2’s five hundred and fifty foot length–it’s like a skyscraper lying on the ground–the building was a product of a starchitect design team that included, among others, Will Bruder and Harry Teague. This chicly styled neo-modern building includes live/work spaces for artists. It’s part of a ten-acre campus that also encompasses the old Yellow Cab headquarters that has been rehabbed as studios, as well as the Fuel Cafe.

Following Ringsby Court to the north onto Washington, you’ll come to 47th; go back across the river, and then north onto National Western Drive and you’ll be at the most far-flung of the RiNo hangouts, the picturesquely named Blue Silo Studios owned by artists/ landlords Reed Weimer and Chandler Romeo. This large, tumbledown brick commercial building was originally a creamery and now provides studio spaces to artists.

RiNo is already an unabashed success in the little over five years it’s been in business. And it won’t have one of the problems many art districts have, which is to be doomed by its own success. The pattern is a familiar one: Artists act as pioneers, turning neglected areas into hot ones, and are thus eventually forced out. But that is not on the agenda for RiNo. Because there’s so much potential for expansion in the form of still-vacant buildings and empty lots, it can get as hot as it wants. So as big a deal as RiNo already is, this may just be the beginning.

Ambitous art at cutting-edge Ice Cube Gallery

By The Denver Post
Posted: 06/03/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT


(Provided by Ice Cube Gallery)

The Ice Cube Gallery, 3320 Walnut St., is quickly becoming one of the Denver’s most cutting-edge art spaces.

Its latest offering is a pair of exhibitions by two artists who are pursuing very different paths in their work but share a similar level of ambition: Jennifer Jeannelle and Theresa Anderson​.

Jeannelle, who completed a master of fine arts degree at the Art Institute of Boston in 2009, is represented primarily by a staggering wall installation composed of 36 panels — each 30 inches square.

The work, titled “Receptive Catalyst,” is covered with hundreds of 3-inch thorns, some crowded together, others scattered sparsely. It has a vague yet unmistakably biomorphic feel.

Anderson is probably best known for her wonderfully ambiguous paintings, with bits of text and fragments of reality blurring into dreams and memories. Her compositions combine expressionistic bursts with loose, open sections and skewed perspectives.

In this exhibition, Anderson’s paintings and drawings are incorporated into a complex, deliberately elusive installation, titled “Private Listening Devices.”

The two shows run through June 18. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 303-292-1822 or Kyle MacMillan

Shine a Light

The artists represented in the two solos opening tonight at Ice Cube Gallery create their own distinctive work, but they share an interest in the same topic: light. In the north half of the gallery is Sophia Dixon Dillo: Light and Line, while in the south half is Sara Goldenberg White: String Theory.

These titles are slightly confusing, since Dillo, not White, is the one using string — or, to be more precise, fishing line. “Fishing line is delicate; it slows people down,” says Dillo. “In the fast-paced city life, with traffic and cell phones, I’m creating some quiet space in the midst of it all.” Dillo has taken miles of fishing line, which is translucent and catches the light, and strung it in a simple two-part installation on the walls and ceiling.

White employs photographs that she pierces and stitches together to make two- and three-dimensional objects. “I enjoy the fracturing and restructuring of imagery to create entirely different works, with the pieces exploring the stitched line — highlighting pinholes as channels for light to move through,” she says.

An opening reception goes from 6 to 10 p.m at Ice Cube Gallery, 3320 Walnut Street; both shows stay up through July 16. Call 303-292-1822 or go to for more information.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: June 24. Continues through July 16, 2011

Two new solo offerings at Ice Cube Gallery show members’ talent

By Michael Paglia Thursday, Sep 2 2010

I haven’t seen every show at Ice Cube Gallery (3320 Walnut Street, 303-292-1822, ), but every one that I have seen has been great. Part of it is the spectacular showroom — just about anything would look its best here in one of the nicest exhibition spaces in town — but it’s also because of the talent found in the membership.

The current offerings feature two of those talented members in separate solos, Sophia Dixon Dillo: Light Works and Ray Tomasso: Summer Light.

Dillo works with translucent materials and artificial lighting to create elegant, ceiling-hung installations. She takes sheets of paper, Mylar and plastic, and hangs them so that they run parallel to the walls. The sheets, which are back-lit by track lights, are bound at the top and bottom but have been left to hang freely on the sides. They’ve been pierced with patterns that transmit the light more readily than the backgrounds so the panels look as though they’ve been studded with sparkling jewels. In some, like “Translucent Crinkle” (pictured), Dillo adds passages of white paint. All of them rely on an extremely successful white-on-white aesthetic — though I do wish the track lights had been hidden behind defusers so they’d be more subtle.

Tomasso was the subject of a show at the Byers-Evans House this past spring, so I didn’t expect anything new at Ice Cube. Boy, was I wrong. This show is not only an extension of the one at Byers-Evans, but it marks a great advancement. Tomasso’s breakthrough is easiest to see in the spectacular “Gauguin’s Red Dog Passed Through the Yard,” a gigantic cast-paper painting. To say it has a “wow” factor would be an understatement. Tomasso seems to be leaving his craft-based approach and increasingly embracing a fine-art one.

Best Impersonation of a Museum by a Co-op 2011

Westword, Best of Award

Though it started up just over a year ago, the Ice Cube Gallery has already made its mark not just in RiNo, but in Denver’s art world as well. This is partly because of the obvious talent of the co-op’s members, who include Sophia Dixon Dillo, Theresa Anderson, Karen Roehl, Carol Browning, Katie Caron, Michael Gadlin, Ray Tomasso and Regina Benson. But it’s also because of the swank and enormous exhibition space that Ice Cube occupies in a handsome red-brick building that was once a dry ice factory; this impressive facility puts every other Denver co-op to shame.

Kathy Knaus and Theresa Anderson at Ice Cube Gallery

By Michael PagliaThursday, Mar 11 2010

The RiNo district, north of downtown, is now a center for art, but it was originally one of Denver’s prime industrial areas. Among the landmarks in the funky neighborhood is the old Dry Ice Factory, a handsome and substantial brick structure from the 1920s that looks like a misplaced element from LoDo.

Last year, the Ice Cube Gallery (3320 Walnut Street, 303-292-1822, opened on the structure’s first floor and, in the process, turned the place into Denver’s newest and most impressive artist cooperative, featuring a stunning set of exhibition spaces that resemble an interior you’d expect to find in a fancy downtown gallery. The current shows comprise two installations by a pair of Ice Cube‘s founding members: On the north side of the main space is Kathy Knaus: Meat Market, and on the south side is Theresa Anderson: Coliseum.

Knaus, who has lived in Colorado since she was a child, created an autobiographical piece that refers to her life as a butcher’s daughter. Her father opened Edwards Meats in Wheat Ridge back in the ’60s, and Knaus worked behind the counter when she was a teenager. For the show, she had a meat cooler made using the metal door her father built (detail above) and brought in his old sausage maker and other elements of the store. On the walls are a row of soiled butcher’s jackets and sheets of butcher paper; on one, Knaus has made a wallpaper-like pattern using bloody liver prints.

On the opposite side of the space, Anderson has lined the walls with smallish mixed-media works that include nude photos of herself that were taken during a private performance. These have been combined with found and drawn imagery along with passages of writing. The Anderson show is anchored by a pair of large boxes sitting in the middle of the floor that viewers may enter; one is lined in paintings done in her unique style, while the other has a smaller box inside with a peephole in it.

These two quirky shows run through March 20 at Ice Cube.