Gallery Hours

First Fridays 6-9 pm

Occasional artist talks

(watch this space for announcements)

and always by appointment.
Call (303) 297-9831

Email: rexford@


Strange Attractors opens at PSS


"Strange Attractors:" Roger Rapp and Jeff Richards at the Pattern Shop Studio


Roger Rapp and Jeff Richards make intellectually interesting and visually beautiful art. Both share deep interests in science, mathematics, philosophy, and the noumenal--that is, the non-material, non-phenomenal aspects of experience that can only be apprehended intuitively. Both were trained as sculptors, but have been painting or working with multiple media for many years. Both have deeply curious minds. Appearing together for the first time in a show they call "Strange Attractors," at the Pattern Shop Studio (December 3rd to February 4th), they create a striking dialog that prompts viewers to think about space, time, light and reality in new ways.


Roger's multi-layered paintings in the show are centered on the geometry and mathematics of ancient civilizations, principally the gigantic Nasca Lines, mysterious geoglyphs etched on the high desert sands of Peru by a long vanished people. Although no one knows exactly why or how these patterns, which can only be fully seen from the air, were created, Roger's interest is to show the universality of the geometric relationships they express. He does this by coloring the various arcs, circles, squares and triangles and highlighting their intersections under layer after layer of acrylic paint, some layers containing words and word fragments in an unknown language, scattered about the paintings like pottery shards at an archaeological dig. The effect, in his "Rosetta 1" painting, for example, is hauntingly beautiful and thought provoking. What ideas lie beneath our feet, what ancient secrets cry out for the translator who can restore them to our collective wisdom? How much have we lost?




Roger Rapp: Rosetta 1 (56"x 44")


If you are not curious about the human mind and the evolution of ideas, Roger's paintings will make you curious. Moreover, they will show you, if you didn't already appreciate it, how important artists like Roger are for inducing wonder and engaging our inquisitive instincts. His anthropological interests connect him to the artists of the late 19th century who brought their curiosity about "primitive" or "tribal" art into the mainstream of the next century's modern movement. I am reminded of Sir Herbert Read's assertion, in Icon and Idea, that in human and individual development, the image precedes the idea. Geometric pottery preceded Geometry itself. "Without the creative arts there would have been no advance in myth or ritual, in language or meaning, in morality or metaphysics," he wrote. He might have added, today, "in science and mathematics."


Jeff Richards is interested in many things, including chaos theory, from which the term "strange attractors" has emerged to describe conditions under which chaotic systems can tend to evolve toward more ordered dynamical systems. If you Google the term or have ever seen the graphics produced by the mathematics of chaotic systems, you will find that the visual representations of these concepts resemble Jeff's topological fiberboard, paint, glue and sewing thread constructions.




Jeff Richards: Dreamscape


Each work begins with a painted wooden circle, square or rectangle, upon which he has stretched hundreds or, on bigger pieces, thousands of feet of threads of various colors, some of which are painted over and some of which are just above the painted surface, like veils. The effects he achieves are extraordinary. His surfaces are often mottled or bumpy, as if they were landscapes on an asteroid or frozen rivers shot through with ice cracks and crevasses. Over them run radii of threads in multiple directions, intersecting and piling up to create still more nodes above the surface, each looking like distant stars broadcasting their light one ray at a time. Viewers crook their necks this way and that, trying to establish which of the many lines fanning out across the works are the "real" perspective lines, but they search in vain. Jeff has exploded the conventions of human perspective, conveying instead the sense of a universe that can be seen from all perspectives at once. His works boggle our earthly brains. His round "mandalas" bring the eye to their bright centers, then spin it out to the periphery and then draw it back again and again for a most dynamic viewing experience.


The artists don't have separate rooms. Their works are intermingled. The overall effect is visually powerful (their palettes and geometric shapes often match) and intellectually fascinating. They carry on an irresistible conversation about the nature and beauty of patterns in our lives, our world, and the universe in which we find ourselves. The show will be open First Friday in January and February, and any time individuals or groups would like to make an appointment to see it.




Zottelbart in Westword

Hair Today
Susan Froyd

To photographer Michael Ensminger, his Zottelbart (meaning “ragged beard” in German) self-portrait series is positively operatic, an ongoing aria kept alive by the ever-lengthening hair on his head and face, which he hasn’t cut or shaved in eight years.

During that period, he’s made periodic trips to the foothills, particularly in the Mount Evans area, for assisted shoots of himself, naked and long-haired, in a variety of neoclassical poses that look to have been pulled from a book of Maxfield Parrish paintings...only in black and white. But that’s all soon to end, he says. When the series reaches about 100 images, hopefully by spring, he plans to shear his locks and Billy Gibbons beard in what he imagines will be a work of ceremonial performance art. Read the rest of the article on


Ensminger's Zottelbart Encore

© Michael EnsmingerThe Pattern Shop Studio is pleased to host the final exhibition of Michael Ensminger's self-portrait series, Zottelbart in an exhibition titled, Zottelbart Encore. Opening on Friday, September 3rd, 2010 and repeating on October 1st and November 5th (First Fridays) from 6 – 9 p.m., and by appointment. 

The show includes eight years of photographs of Michael's alter ego, Zottelbart, a capricious pagan mountain god who cavorts in the ancient forests near the summit of Mount Evans. The artist will be in attendance, wearing clothes.

This exhibition continues through November 7th, 2010.

Zottelbart, which means ragged beard in German, is the encore of the highly successful exhibition at Reed Photo from two years ago. In addition to the 21 framed photographs the photographs from the project's last three seasons will be exhibited. These self-portrait works from the last eight years are done at or near timberline in the high forests of Colorado within an hour or so of Denver. This is Michael's final year of shooting this series, after which the beard and long hair will finally go. When this "opera" is complete, there should be nearly 100 images. 

The Pattern Shop Studio is located in the heart of Denver's River North Art District (RiNo) at 3349 Blake Street, and is open during First Fridays, special events and always by appointment. For more information or directions visit PSS online at or call 303.297.9831.