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Behind the scenes

Magnum Opus at The Warehouse


At Magnum Opus, OpticalReverb's first show in The Warehouse Restaurant, the sum is greater than the parts which is a nice improvement over some of the organization's previous efforts.

Jason Zacharias, curator of the Internet-based OpticalReverb Gallery, put together Magnum Opus with the help of The Warehouse as a benefit for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR). Zacharias says the original idea behind this show was to display all the "investment" items from the OpticalReverb canon hence the name Magnum Opus, which means "great work." The new venue also provides an easier filter to take in all the art within a nontraditional gallery space.

Zacharias' effort is always evident at his shows. (OpticalReverb regularly shows at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co.) But this show seems different, with a particular cohesiveness that sets Magnum Opus apart.

While there is a wide variety in subjects and styles, the way the works are arranged remains the best part of the show. Magnum Opus may appear to be random in its organization, but the mismatched pairings throughout the space are actually what make it so impressive. Within this space, the two first pieces to catch the viewer's eye are graffiti works, which are also the best of the show.

One of these pieces comes from Michael "Halo" Schwartz, who specializes in Christian graffiti work. He contributes to Magnum with "Vital Archer," an airbrush painting of an elephant wielding a bow and arrow. Schwartz, a co-founder of Nocturnal Mockery, an annual festival for urban artwork enjoying its sixth year this weekend, creates his figure in smoky pastels.

The formation is so well-conceived, the viewer may forget that the archer is an elephant and not a human. His personification of the character is sensitive and careful. The elephant's fluffiness is offset by sharp details such as the water in his eyes and nicks on the arrow blade.

"Vital Archer" is typical of graffiti style, but a few works down, another artist pushes it in a different direction.

Tylan Troyer's "connected disconnection/passenger pigeons" is a gorgeous composition in a gray train yard. Troyer takes a bland cityscape and adds highlights with graffiti details such as drips and blotches. He craftily outlines the scene with soft black lines and even adds a hint of graffiti on the train cars. Despite the medium, the work is very realistic. The details don't flatten the picture; instead, they heighten Troyer's peculiar vision. The viewer can see Troyer's appropriation of two very different styles and blending them successfully.

While these Magnum Opus pieces outshine the rest, the show is most impactful as a whole. This is a credit to Zacharias' curatorial work. In this case, it makes the experience.


Magnum Opus

The Warehouse Restaurant, 25 W. Cimarron St.

Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to close, Saturday 6 p.m. to close, through Nov. 24

Free; call The Warehouse at 475-8880 or visit for information.

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