Robert Burnier & Justine Hill

David B. Smith Gallery

In the project room: Tobias Fike: Stages

January 19 - February 24, 2018

  • Opening Reception: Friday, January 19th, from 6 - 8pm

RobertBurnierJustineHill(left) Robert Burnier, Maldekstramana Anĝelo (Duccio 1), 2017, acrylic on aluminum, 12 x 10 x 4 in. (30.48 x 25.4 x 10.16cm)
(right) Justine Hill, Misfit 12, 2017, acrylic and pencil on canvas, 24 x 18in. (60.96 x4 5.72cm)

Tobias Fike, Stages (detail), 2018, wood, paper, tape, electrical cord, LED lights, found objects, sound, dimensions variable

Featuring work from Chicago-based artist Robert Burnier, and New York-based artist Justine Hill in the main gallery, David B. Smith Gallery is proud to present a two-person exhibition of artists working across media, across the country.

Robert Burnier’s folded and twisted aluminum wall sculptures draw attention to spatial relationships and corresponding visual language, with meaning inadvertently following form. Each of Burnier’s works are titled in the manufactured utopian language Esperanto, which was conceived in the late 19th century in what is now Poland, in order to create a universal linguistic bridge between peoples. Materiality, manipulation, and chance come together in Burnier’s work, presenting both question and axiom.

The line between landscape and figure, painting and collage, foreground and background is crossed over and back again in Justine Hill’s enigmatic works. Hill’s irregularly shaped canvases burst with colors and textures, emphasizing gesture and intuitive mark making. Occupying a fluctuating space between loose representation and pure abstraction, Hill’s mixed media paintings act individualistically as distinct characters.

Together Burnier and Hill bring new takes on color, form, texture, and dimension to the main gallery. Contrast and convergence underscore chance relationships between works, where shapes and shadow echo and mimic one another, moving forward and back through layers and spaces, never seeking or arriving at a conclusion.

David B. Smith Gallery
1543 A Wazee Street
Denver, CO, 80202


David B. Smith Gallery is pleased to present, Stages, an immersive installation from Tobias Fike in the project room. This work, like much of Fike’s oeuvre, offers full sensory experience incorporating sight and sound elements in performative collage. Stages began with the image: light casting shadows of trees through the windows of his family’s home, that of his father’s childhood. This meditation of those fleeting moments provides a multi-layered installation of natural elements, machines, the body, and the mind in an intentionally unrefined manner. Fike artificially recreates this memory using a central sculptural ‘tree’, electric lights, and fans. The cast shadows would typically pique one’s curiosity; in life, one is cued to find the source out the window, but here it is very easily discovered that it is not true branches, but a raw facsimile produced by a combination of machine and man-made leaves attached to branches swaying in a fan-generated breeze. In this instance, the artifice isn’t hidden, it is embraced. But true and familiar memories are called to mind. Sound brings this visual cue out of a vacuum, bringing it to reality even more with typically unnoticed elements of this experience: the hum of crickets, breathing, a song playing in the distance.

Stages presents a holistic memory, collaged and layered elements as they would be in life set out for the viewer to piece together their own ethereal landscape. Included in this installation, a smaller sculptural work titled, In Memory of Forgotten Moments, offers an additional layer of nostalgia and humor to an already nuanced moment in time. This captivating installation exploring artificiality and the ability to reproduce memories so easily forgotten.

About Robert Burnier

Robert Burnier lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute, and a BS in Computer Science from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. Burnier has had solo exhibitions Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago), Elastic Arts (Chicago), and Starcom (Chicago), among others, and is a founding member of the celebrated artist run gallery space Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Chicago). His work has been exhibited in solo and curated presentations at art fairs in Chicago, Miami, New York, Mexico City, and Copenhagen, and is included in numerous public and private collections.

About Justine Hill

Justine Hill lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from the College of the Holy Cross. She has had solo exhibitions at Denny Gallery (New York), Kathryn Markel Fine Arts (New York), Blueshift Project (Miami), and Galerie Protege (New York), and has been in critically reviewed group shows such as Metamodern at Denny Gallery and Immediate Female at Judith Charles Gallery (New York). Her work has been reviewed or featured in Hyperallergic, New York Magazine, The Observer, The Huffington Post, Artsy, Artspace, Arte Fuse, Two Coats of Paint, and On Verge.

About Tobias Fike

Tobias Fike is an interdisciplinary, contemporary artist who lives and works outside of Denver, Colorado. The form of his work is incredibly varied and he approaches a range of concepts, from his personal experiences of family, place, and grief, to our temporal relationship with the universe and observations of time.

Fike was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, moved to Kansas City when he was ten, then later returned to Lincoln to attend the University of Nebraska, where he earned a BFA in 2000. He earned his MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011. In addition to national tours showcasing his rich performance and collaboration-based projects, including sound performances with the Flinching Eye Collective, Fike's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with exhibitions in cities including Berlin, Germany; Coimbra, Portugal; Houston, TX; and Tucson, AZ, among others. About David B. Smith Gallery

David B. Smith Gallery is committed to presenting intelligent and culturally relevant exhibitions in its Denver location, featuring the region’s most important emerging talent alongside internationally recognized artists. Through its curatorial program, participation in art fairs, and extensive media coverage in publications such as Art in America and ARTnews, David B. Smith Gallery has cultivated a strong regional, national, and international collector audience. The New York Times hailed the gallery as offering "an exciting contrast of cutting edge works” and The Denver Post declared that it is the “premiere commercial space” in Denver. The gallery also maintains an active publishing division, which produces exhibition catalogues and editions.