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, www.icecubegallery.com ), 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.

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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.