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Ghost Dance by Nathan Abels at Rule Gallery Marfa; opening reception Friday

March 9th, 2017 under Arts
Nathan Abels, Falling Rocket, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 in

Nathan Abels, Falling Rocket, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 in

MARFA – Rule Gallery is pleased to present Ghost Dance, a solo exhibition of paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Nathan Abels. The show will open with a public reception on Friday, March 10 from 6-9pm.

In Ghost Dance, Abels explores the constancy of sea, stone, and stars amid the cycles of civilization – contrasting collective faith in modern and ancient technologies with an inevitable arc towards disintegration. The title comes from the Native American Ghost Dance movements of the late 19th century, which expressed their adherents’ desire for the return of ancestors, bison herds, and cultural autonomy. The belief that these rituals could halt decline parallels viewpoints in our own era which trust that technology and other wishful thinking can sway the course of environmental degradation and return species now extinct. In any age, these comforting beliefs attempt to impose order and control on a frequently chaotic world.

In the works that make up Ghost Dance, Abels combines ancient and modern imagery -juxtaposing Native American dances intended to bring back the sun during an eclipse with space rockets crashing overhead, or creating pottery in styles reminiscent of ancient vessels but ornamented with contemporary motifs. Abels also paints star fields that mark the dates of predicted cataclysms such as the end of the Mayan Calendar, Y2K, or a presidential election. In doing so, he suggests that our tendency to prophesize and prepare for doom is cyclical as well.

Nathan Abels (b. 1980) Abels has been an active member in the Denver arts scene since 2007. He received his MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and his BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Saint Francis.. He was one of Westword’s 100 Colorado Creatives for 2014. The Denver Post named him one of the “Twelve Best Colorado Artists 35 and Under” in 2011 and “Emerging Artist of the Year” in 2009. His work can be found in the Telfair Art Museum and the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, the Fort Wayne Art Museum in Fort Wayne, IN, Martin Sanders Investments, New York NY, and First Western Trust Bank, Denver, CO among others.

RULE Gallery has exhibited contemporary, abstract and conceptual works, including paintings, sculpture, photography, and works on paper, by both established and emerging national artists, since 1991. The gallery has locations in Denver, Colorado, and Marfa, Texas. For more information, visit

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