Artists Michael Dowling and Brett Matarazzo attended the same Denver high school back in the day, but they weren’t friends until 3 years ago when mutual friends suggested they meet “because they were both artists.” A partnership was born and like any successful collaboration, Dowling and Matarazzo bring different skills to the table. Their most recent project being BRDG, an acronym of their names and, also, conveniently, a possible abbreviation of “bridge” which indicates the location of their new pop-up gallery just under the Highlands’ Pedestrian Bridge.
Through Matarazzo’s resourcefulness they have procured this space as a 6-month donation from Unico Properties. The historic property at 1553 Platte Street boasts a spacious 4000 square feet where the collaborative can accommodate up to 3 exhibits at a time. Dowling and Matarazzo will not have trouble filling these spaces during their tenure, as their art roots run deep in the city. This month’s offering features unique takes on photography. Brett Fox’s series of faces is interpreted through experimental photographic processes in the front gallery. A group show including Justin Beard, Ethan Jantzer, and Devvon Simpson, showcases equally unique photography techniques and perspectives presented through unexpected means such as the microscope, the photogram method, and slides that change as the light in the room evolves through the day.
“Process” is also a theme this month as Dowling and Matarazzo will open up the back gallery as an active studio while they begin on, collaborate with, and finish several works of art. Visitors are invited to watch as the artists work. “We want art to be accessible and bringing folks in this way cultivates community and active discussions,” says Matarazzo. Dowling offers that revealing their processes also helps to dispel the myth that there is some sort of “secret magic” in creating art, “It’s hard work, actually.”
The two clearly make a great partnership, yet their artistic styles couldn’t be further apart. Dowling’s contemporary paintings are heavily influenced by classical methods influenced by his time in Italy. Matarazzo has an advertising/graphics background and makes use of reclaimed surfaces with photo transfers to convey unique messages. Juxtaposed side by side in this studio/exhibit space, it will be interesting to see how they influence one another. Their finished works will be presented at a reception Friday, March 26, 5-10pm.
Additionally, the BRDG Project will soon add a Museum Store, a nod to their major museum counterparts, which will feature small works, studies, and prints at moderate price points, providing further accessibility to contemporary art.
The project space is open during the weekdays Mon-Wed by appointment or chance, Thursday, 1-7 pm, Friday 1-9 pm, Saturday 11am-8 pm and Sunday 12-4pm. All city and state social distancing requirements are adhered to. Appointments can be made by instant messaging Facebook or Instagram @BRDGproject.