There are several galleries housed in the Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts building in the Depot Arts District the largest of which is currently showing the works of renowned poster artist Jermaine Rogers. Jermaine, as he is commonly known, has worked within the music-poster circuit for years, turning out concert posters for critically acclaimed bands such as The Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cure, and Sparta.
Though Jermaine works largely in crisp screenprints, this show also exhibits some of his original ink drawings and gorgeous lithographs. Each of Jermaine's prints explores new textures, compositions and color patterns.
For instance, with the band The Mars Volta, Jermaine employs a soft khaki and green palette and creates a highly symmetric montage of figures, patterns and, of course, the vital venue information. He differs in his approach to posters for The Deftones, with thicker calligraphic lines and bold colors.
Meanwhile, Jermaine's posters refrain from relying on tired rock clichs. Instead, his work is loaded with other motives and statements subtly set in the imagery. The images of The Mars Volta series, for example, are highly reminiscent of dollar bills a commentary not lost on anyone.
This is one of those shows where, by virtue of the works' strength, the gallery gets put on the spot.
As a whole, the Smokebrush building is strange. The front door seems like a back door, and the myriad small rooms can be confusing. However, things do begin to flow once the viewer walks around inside.
Eventually, all roads lead to the largest gallery the one in the back, where Jermaine's work is on display. This room is open and large enough to hold a sizeable collection, comfortably spaced and properly lit. And, in between the walls, cases of drawings and pedestals holding Jermaine's original toy figures are accommodating, without being fancy or pretentious.
Much as an artist's career can grow with each new show, a gallery can grow with each new artist it displays. Over the past few years, Smokebrush has grown accordingly, adding different genres of visual art to its exhibition rsum through displays of traditional oil paintings, metal work and now, big-name poster art.
And this latest show might be the best on that rsum. Jermaine's posters don't offer much to wrestle with visually, yet they maintain a rich intellectual substance. This pairing allows his works to appeal to a huge body of viewers, of any age and background.
Any gallery would be proud to host a show like this.
The only problem now: Smokebrush has given itself some large shoes to fill in the future.
The Colorado Springs Independent presents: Jermaine Rogers
Smokebrush Gallery, 218 West Colorado Ave.
Through June 23; Hours: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Free; call 444-1012 or visit smokebrush.org for more information.