The painter’s palette is the simplest of tools, a humble plane of potential biding unseen and unremarked behind images and ideas both soaring and deep.
On June 15, however, that unassuming servant of the artist’s ideal will rise from the paint-spattered studio and onto the light-splashed gallery wall as Abend Gallery christens its innovative new Wazee Street location with “Palette,” an extraordinary exhibition revealing the magnificence that lies just beneath the surface of the mundane. Layered with the bright echoes of masterpieces long complete, those unlikely canvases have been thoughtfully amplified by many of the country’s most celebrated painters until they resound with glorious expression that speaks as eloquently of each artist’s creative method as to their artistic gifts.
“Palette” arrives at Abend Gallery by way of New York painter and inspired art curator Dina Brodsky, who introduced the concept last year at the Lodge Gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side along with co-curator Trek Lexington and about 50 top-flight artists. Like most painters, Brodsky holds on to her old palettes long after the colorful sediments of projects past have overwhelmed their utility. But unlike most painters, Brodsky gave the sentiment-speckled relics a second look.
“An old palette is kind of like a diary, and I hate to throw them out,” says Brodsky, a contemporary realist miniaturist and respected art teacher. Almost on a whim, she decided to try her hand at building beauty and order upon what appeared a rather chaotic foundation. “It very organically turned into a landscape painting. I thought that would be a cool idea for a small show, and it kind of caught on from there.”
It certainly caught on with Big Apple art lovers, who quickly made Brodsky’s cool idea a hot destination. Just as much, though, it caught on with the artists themselves, who found that resurrecting their retired paint-boards offered not only an intriguing professional challenge, but an illuminating window into their own unconscious patterns and processes.
“It’s fun,” Brodsky says, “but they take it very seriously.” And if the constraints imposed by a palette’s compact profile may at first blush seem limiting, Brodsky will delightedly assure quite the contrary. Palettes come in a wide variety of sizes shapes and materials, each combination directing the discerning eye down a different visual path.
“There’s no limit to what’s possible,” Brodsky says. “Each artist just does what comes naturally to them.” For that matter, that she and Lexington are re-staging her wildly popular show in the Mile High City comes just as naturally. “Abend shows many of my favorite artists. I can’t think of a better venue for this.”
Abend Gallery curator David Ethridge would have to agree. “I love the interesting format,” Ethridge says. “While artists do paint on palettes, it’s not something you see all the time, and certainly not in such a concentration. We expect close to 100 paintings by some of the best artists working today.”
Artists like James Adelman, a master in oil and charcoal, and contemporary landscape painter Sue Bryan. The introspective world of Dimitri Desiron will come to life on Abend’s walls alongside the natural magic of Jessica Pisano and the penetrating portraits of representational figurative painter Seven Assael. For many, “Palette” will represent their Denver debut, and that, too, is perfectly natural.
“It’s perfect for our June re-opening,” Ethridge smiles. “It will be Denver’s first chance to see a show in our new facility.”
“Palette” begins with an Opening Reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 16, and runs through July 8. Abend Gallery Fine Arts is now located at 1412 Wazee Street in Denver. To learn more, call 303-355-0950, or email [email protected]