Denver venues break out photos for Month of Photography

15-year tradition spurs artists and galleries to try new things

Casey Van Divier
caseyvandivier@yahoo.com
Posted 3/7/19

When Paul Brokering approached Denver’s Space Gallery years ago, he knew the gallery showed very little photography. But he had a plan to win over gallery owner Michael Burnett: showing him …

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Denver venues break out photos for Month of Photography

15-year tradition spurs artists and galleries to try new things

Posted

When Paul Brokering approached Denver’s Space Gallery years ago, he knew the gallery showed very little photography. But he had a plan to win over gallery owner Michael Burnett: showing him photographs of what Burnett calls “just concrete.”

“But I was like `Wow, these are beautiful,’ ” Burnett said with a laugh. “We didn’t show a lot of photography, but he still beat down our doors. Eventually, I relented and showed his work.”

Since then, Space Gallery has featured Brokering’s photography on many occasions. His latest show, “Rear View Mirror” — named for his tendency to circle back and photograph the eye-catching scenes he drives past — will be held by Space Gallery this March as part of Denver’s Month of Photography.

Held every other year, the Month of Photography, or MoP, invites venues all over the city to hold photography exhibits. The majority of the shows will be free and open to the public, said MoP founder Mark Sink.

“It’s art for art’s sake,” he said. “Signing up is free, listings are free. It’s an amazing resource for photographers.”

A month of firsts

A local artist himself, Sink founded the event in 2004. Since then, he has worked to keep the event fun and easy for anyone who wants to participate.

“I have idea and planning meetings starting a year before in my backyard,” he said. “Galleries around Denver get very excited, and then the word travels for other galleries to jump aboard.”

Several local galleries have opted to make their MoP debut this year, including Station 16 Gallery, Modern Nomad and JuiceBox Gallery.

Meanwhile, for those who have previously participated, Denver’s MoP offers a chance to turn March into a month of firsts, creating a one-of-a-kind viewing experience for the Denver community.

For Burnett, MoP is an ideal opportunity to unveil Space Gallery’s second location, the Space ANNEX, at 95 S. Cherokee St. Brokering’s MoP display, which will run from March 29 to May 4, will be the first show in the new location.

“This is really the first time that people will see the new space finished, and we’re obviously super excited to show it off,” Burnett said.

The show includes 13 typologies, grids of 25 images taken by Brokering, as well as 13 enlarged versions of images taken from the typologies. Each typology incorporates a different color, Burnett said, so that the work “portrays this rainbow as you look through the show.”

Though Brokering has experimented with typologies before, “Rear View Mirror” will be his first show displaying this technique.

“I think it’ll be a cheery kind of thing, almost like a puzzle. It’s a fascinating way to see things quickly,” Brokering said. “You can have 25 stories going on at one time but yet, because they’re all the same color, they become a different story.”

While the Space Gallery exhibit will focus on color, down at Walker Fine Art artists will show their work inspired by the elements. Several of the six featured photographers are showing with Walker for the first time, including guest artist Russell Brown, creative director of Adobe Systems.

Brown’s display, an augmented reality installation simulating the elements, will kick off the show at 300 W. 11th Ave. on March 8. The show will run through April 20.

“The show does well to bring together different arts and different practices, all under this umbrella of the elements,” said local photographer Conor King. Though King has shown work and curated shows for prior MoPs, this will be his first with Walker Fine Art.

King’s work highlights the element of water, representing the story of a rogue wave that shattered the lens of a lighthouse in Ireland. His display will use photography to depict the shattered lens and layer video footage of different waves, among other methods.

For gallery manager Libby Garon, Brown’s and King’s works represent the way MoP encourages the gallery to think outside its typical methods.

“We rarely do shows of just photography, so it gets us out of our usual themes,” she said. “It makes us think differently about our artists and the potential of our space.”

Becoming a part of the MoP

Garon added that this year, Walker Fine Art will make it easy for viewers to develop their own photography skills with a workshop held by photographer Bonny Lhotka on March 16.

“If people are really loving the viewing part of art and need a more hands-on experience, that would be a great way to do it,” Garon said.

Meanwhile, the community can also get involved simply by attending nearby shows. Those interested can visit www.mopdenver.com to find a calendar listing upcoming events and examples of the work each gallery will be displaying.

Having announced that 2019 will be his “last year at the MoP helm” — the 2019 show will be spearheaded at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center — Sink said he hoped his final MoP will “inspire, educate and bring the community together.”

“We’ve discovered some amazing work this year,” he said. “Community is a keyword. We’re bringing the world closer together through photography.”

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