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Best Gallery Show- Solo Denver 2014, Westword Magazine


Michael Paglia These new solos from two of Colorado's best abstract artists will make you think, Westword Magazine, May 16 2013.

All of these thoughts came to my mind as I contemplated a pair of remarkable solos by two of Colorado's best abstract artists, both of whom happen to be teachers at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design.

First up is Ania Gola-Kumor: Moving Paint, at the Sandra Phillips Gallery. Born in Poland and educated at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Art and at Moscow's College of Art and Industry, Gola-Kumor first came to Colorado in 1982 — right after leaving Poland — but didn't settle here permanently until the late '80s. I first encountered her work in the 1990s, at the long-shuttered Inkfish Gallery, and have since come to recognize it by the lusciousness of her pigments, the exquisite density of her surfaces, and her never-off though instinctually generated palettes.

In fact, Gola-Kumor's work seems to follow a coherent trajectory, so that a Gola-Kumor is unmistakably hers. This latest group of paintings bears that out, though Gola-Kumor says the pieces actually represent something of a new beginning. The reason is because she was forced to give up painting for a year after falling off of a ladder in 2011 while painting — her kitchen ceiling, not a canvas — and shattering her knee and foot. What followed was a series of surgeries. Then, on New Year's Eve 2011, she'd had enough and began working again. In a frenzy, she did sixty — count 'em, sixty — works on paper in watercolor, oil stick and oil bar. Though they are very obviously related to the subsequent paintings, these works on paper weren't preparatory studies for them. The show at Phillips includes a grid of twenty of these gorgeous little abstracts.

The works on paper reveal that for Gola-Kumor, painting was like riding a bike: She got back on and pedaled away. She then created twenty large paintings in the course of a single year, with some anchoring the Phillips show and others viewable in the back room. The first to be completed, "Untitled #11," has seven distinct layers, according to the artist, and as crowded with painterly gestures as it is, it's hard to doubt her. Although it looks like there's some not-quite-discernable subject matter underneath, Gola-Kumor says there isn't. Still, she says the work is abstract rather than being non-objective, with the shapes meant to evoke the idea of movement — something that had special resonance for her after her injury. The palette is wonderful, with lots of greens juxtaposed with purples, and earth tones that are unified by the webs of dark lines dividing up the colors. Gola-Kumor says that she rarely, if ever, used green before, but that it was associated with healing and thus reflected her actual experience at the time that she created it. But don't worry: There are several examples of work in her classic ivory-tan palette, as well as her signature red one.

Philip Steele Foundation blog future:


Cover of Arvada Center monthly magazine, featuring Women of influence show, 2012

Michael Paglia, Denver’s art districts are mostly growing concerns, Westword, November 2010

(…)That’s the same query I’d make about the artist whose solo, Abstraction 2010: Ania Gola-Kumor, is on view at the nearby Sandra Phillips Gallery. Gola-Kumor has been exhibiting in Denver for decades; her signature style is all-over abstractions formed from clearly defined shapes that fill the picture plane to the edges, like the pieces of an enigmatic puzzle. Her painterly technique is breathtaking, with lots of overpainting in broken passages across the picture that is emphasized by a sense for drawing, as though Gola-Kumor had scribbled across the canvases and then carefully filled in the resulting automatist forms with layer upon layer of pigment — which is precisely what she did. The automatism links her to abstract expressionism, while the meditative followup makes her approach distinctly different.   Gola-Kumor’s palettes are remarkable and unerring in their elegant balance. The paintings in this group are closely associated formally, but not in terms of their colors, which, though defined by a limited range within each piece, encompass the entire spectrum of color across the series. Some are filled with hot, toned-up reds and oranges, while others are in cool, recessive shades of creams and greens; all are untitled.

Michael Paglia, Now Showing, Capsule reviews of current exhibits, Westword, July 2009

Sidebeside. Standard art fare during the summer involves group shows made up of artists from a gallery’s stable. Ron Judish, director of Gallery T, has taken this old chestnut and put an interesting twist on it. For Sidebeside, he has asked each of the artists represented by T to select another who isn’t and then present the ad hoc pairs together. Some of the pairings, such as Jeff Wenzel’s selection of Ania Gola-Kumor, were inspired; the artists’ pieces look gorgeous together.

Kyle MacMillan, Galleries put focus on abstract artists, Denver Post, February 2009.

The Sandra Phillips Gallery is showcasing five participants in “Colorado Abstract,” including Ania Gola-Kumor, one of the standouts. She possesses an immediately recognizable style that mediates between abstraction and representation, line and form.

The Polish native’s paintings have an intriguing retro feel, and their style is no doubt influenced by her studies with members of the Polish Colorists. A consistent element in all of them is her emphatic sectionalizing of her compositions.

In most of the displayed works, which date from 1987 and 2006, Gola-Kumor suggests a scene that is abstracted just enough to make a firm identification of subject matter impossible. An exception is the red-dominated “Untitled” (2006), which comes the closest to pure abstraction.

Fresco Fine Art Publications, Ilc, Colorado Abstract, Painting and Sculpture, page 170 – 175, January 2009.

Mary Chandler, A quick course in abstraction, Rocky Mountain News, June 26, 2008.

To begin, Perisho has included work by Ania Gola-Kumor, a long-time, well- respected teacher at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Gola-Kumor showed widely in the 1980s, but then went under the radar when it came to exhibiting her work. The community should be glad she is back, represented here by two works in watercolor and oil pastel on paper and three extraordinary oils on canvas (plus, more recently, a small bin of other pieces). The smaller watercolors, toward the front of the gallery, are dense, compact and focused on containment within the frame. Her nearby paintings, however, are more expansive, deep and almost cellular in nature. Line and color hold sway in these large, untitled paintings, bracing and balanced works that are all-consuming and hard to pull away from.

Michael Paglia, Little Pleasures, Westword, June 5, 2008.

The first stop is Sandra Phillips Gallery, where a show with the generic title Abstraction opened a couple of weeks ago. The exhibit was organized by Sally Perisho, who used to be the director of Metropolitan State’s Center for Visual Art and now works with the MCA. The show begins with a group of abstracts by Ania Gola-Kumor. Though she had her first exhibit in town in 1982, Gola-Kumor isn’t well known around here, and I think of her as the best unknown artist in Denver. She’s originally from Poland and studied at Warsaw’s Academy of the Fine Arts, where she earned her MFA; she also attended the College of Art and Industry in Moscow. During the last 25 years, she’s shown her paintings in such far-flung places as Santa Fe, New York and London. I first became aware of her work in the 1990s, when I saw her dense and heavily painted abstracts at the now-long-closed Inkfish Gallery; later, I caught an exhibit of her equally compelling mixed-media collages mounted as a wall-sized installation at the Phillip Steele Gallery on the old campus of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. “I’ve been hiding,” Gola-Kumor said, “but this show has brought me back out.” Truthfully, she’s been hiding in plain sight, as she’s taught foundations and drawing at RMCAD for the past decade. In the Sandra Phillips show, she’s represented by three monumental paintings and two small collages, all of which are untitled, because Gola-Kumor doesn’t want to add anything to the visual experience and doesn’t want to suggest to viewers what they should see. All of these pieces are spectacular. The paintings, more than the collages, seem to be based on something seen in reality, like a room, but Gola-Kumor has abstracted them to such an extent that they are unrecognizable.

100 Creative Drawing Ideas, Anna Held Audette, Shambhala, Boston & London, 2005, p.144-145

Best salute to Colorado’s contemporary art scene, Michael Paglia, Westword,, September 27, 2001

Colorado Abstraction: 1975‑1999 Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, article in the catalog

Michael Paglia, Westword, September 27, 2001: Beyond Collective Cultures is Ania Gola‑Kumor: Mixed Media Big and Small.

Gola‑Kumor is also a respected art teacher, right here at RMCAD. I often think of Gola‑Kumor as one of the region’s best and most overlooked abstract painters, and this show is made up of a gorgeous group of her paintings. Gola‑Kumor puts on layer after layer of pigment, with the lower layers, which consist of bright colors, peeking through to the surface in places. The top layers are monochromatic, with dry and neutral tones such as cream and brown predominating. Another feature of Gola‑Kumor’s work is the use of clearly defined shapes that are expressive though still geometric, as in “Untitled” (seen above). There are a lot of marvelous paintings here, including the remarkable “Untitled #16,” in which fifty very small works on paper are hung together as a single work, making it big and small at the same time.

Michael Paglia, Time Flies by and Time Marches On.  Colorado’s abstract art tradition continues. Westword, September 23, 1999

Ania Gola-Kumor is another artist who has been exhibiting since the 1980s. Her work is the heir to abstract expressionism as well as other abstract styles, notably cubism, at least in the case of “Composition,” an oil on canvas from 1988. In this piece, she uses a creamy monochrome color scheme to create roughly geometric shapes that overlap one another. On the adjacent wall is the elegant “Untitled,” a group of eighteen mixed-media collages done in 1997 and 1998. The collages, which have been individually framed in aluminum and hung in a vertical grid, are dark and lush, characteristics that are offset by the gleam of the aluminum frames.

Jeff Bradley, Abstractions That Work, Denver Post, September 10,1999, page E-28.


Jane Fudge, Colorado Abstraction, catalog Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Sep. 1999.


Interview and additional materials posted on audio/video materials, September - November 1999, in Arvada Center.


Five drawings and collages were published in Nieve Roja Review, Colorado State University’s Online Literary Magazine. 1999.  

Stephanie Duke, Bolder Ways, Greeley Tribune, July 1998.

Events include sculpture dedication gallery opening, Valley Window Reporter-Herald, October 1997. 

Margaret Regan, Size Doesn’t Matter, Arts & Leisure review, Tucson, Arizona, January 1996.     

Lincoln Center Marquee, Fort Collins, Colorado, September- December 1993.

Kathy Erbacher, Appreciation for abstract, The Coloradoan, December 1993.

Creative Arts Symposium 1993, catalog jurors information CSU, April 1993.

Absorb, Loveland Museum/ Gallery Newsletter, June 1993, page 5.

Opening show, by Max Wykes-Joyce, Arts Review, London, England, May 1988.

ARTS NEWS magazine, January 1988, page 56.    

ARTS SPACE Southwestern Contemporary Art Quarterly, Winter 1987/1988, page 6. 

Power Line, The newsletter for PowerPlant Visual Art Center, April 1987, page 3. 

Artist’s Liaison   1987, catalog, Santa Monica, California 1987.

Nature, rich inspiration source for Ania Gola- Kumor paintings, Fort Collins Business World, December 1987.

Kathleen Halloran, From Poland to Purple, The Coloradoan, April 29, 1986.

Steve Porter, Polish Painter no teaches Art, Triangle Review, October 1985.

Phillis Walbye, Work of Polish artist Gola moves from dark to bright, Reporter- Herald, Loveland, April 1983.

Valerie Moses, Landscape influences Polish artist, The Coloradoan, June 1983.

Phillis Walbye,  Ania Gola- Kumor shown at Gallery East,  Reporter- Herald, Loveland Daily, October 1984. 

Another Great Love Affair, catalog, Denver Art Museum, 1984, page 8. 

NEWSLETTER, Alliance for Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum, March 1984.

Marathon for the Arts Exhibition, catalog, Fort Collins, Colorado, 1984.

Max Price, Environment is fascinating at Cohen Gallery, Denver Post, April 1984.

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