Photo by Kate Rogers | Clarion

Where: Svper Ordinary

When: now – Nov. 25

Travel 10 minutes north of Coors Field and to the right of the Platte River, and one finds him or herself in the heart of Downtown Denver. Travel that same distance, but to the left of the Platte River, and one is traversing into new territory: River North Art District.

This isn’t so much a scene from West Side Story — RiNo (Jets) versus Downtown (Sharks) — but rather a sudden flashback to the mix of industrial complexes and wealthy neighborhoods captured so elegantly in “The Great Gatsby.”

RiNo is a clear reminder of the industrial age of Denver, yet the half-standing, half-crumbling buildings are now overrun by a melting pot of artists, art galleries, creative businesses and so much more. This area is like the furnace of Denver, the fiery underbelly that gives heat and life to the city.

The Source is a marketplace with food and drink options as well as art. Kate Rogers | Clarion
The Source is a marketplace with food and drink options as well as art. Kate Rogers | Clarion

Within this hotspot is Svper Ordinary, a gallery and store, currently hosting a solo exhibit for Texas-based artist Michael Reeder until Nov. 25. 

Before one can enjoy this exhibit, they have to find it, a task easier said than done. Svper Ordinary is hidden away on Brighton Boulevard, and then tucked away in a marketplace known as The Source. The Source is a collection of restaurants and shops, a vibrant place worth checking out for its art and other offerings.

Reeder’s paintings and small-scale wooden sculptures on display at the gallery explore identity and the human condition. Reeder uses two different characters in the pieces presented at the exhibit. The characters, taken from creative commons, are cookie-cutter with no definitive features, but Reeder gives them life by adding layers of colorful features on top of them. Why he does this is up to the viewer. One can infer the re-emerging presence of these two characters suggests the multiple faces a single person can possess. That, or it represents the progression of a person’s character over time as they change and develop with experience. 

Reeder’s work, like all art, is open to interpretation, and one’s takeaway is as good as any. According to his artist bio, self-interpretation is something that he encourages.

Michael Reeder’s work is unique and open to audience interpretation. Kate Rogers | Clarion

“Centered on portraiture, my current body of work seeks to make a direct connection with the audience. This connection encourages viewers to bring their own perceptions, imagination and vision to light alongside mine,” Reeder said on his personal website. “I avoid narrowing my conceptual focus in order to allow content to be found and seen for the first time.”

Each painting features a portraits of one of the two figures. The face and upper body is layered with bright colors and shapes that are painted with perfect precision: definitive, sharp lines that give it an online graphic feel. The portrait are transformed into new characters with intense expressions and specific emotional ties to them. 

Make a day of it and check out Reeder’s artwork while also enjoying everything The Source has to offer. This marketplace is equipped with a restaurant, bar, floral shop, cheese and meat deli and, of course, Svper Ordinary.