By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
Dots, Blobs and Angels. Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting an enormous solo that is dedicated to the late David Rigsby, an artist who played a big part in the local art scene in the '70s and '80s. The exhibit was organized by director Cydney Payton, who installed it more or less chronologically, allowing Rigsby's stylistic development to shine throughout. The oldest works in the show are two oils on book covers done when Rigsby was a little boy; the newest were done right before he died in a car accident in 1993 -- some of these were done on book covers, too. In between, Rigsby created scores of abstract and figural paintings, as well as a body of remarkable sculptures made of wood and recycled rubber. The outlandish title, Dots, Blobs and Angels, refers to some of the things Rigsby depicted -- though much of what he sculptured during his forty-year-plus career defies description. Clearly, it's one of the hottest shows of the summer. Through September 19 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554. Reviewed July 8.
Federico Castellon. Hugo Anderson, director of the Emil Nelson Gallery, has put together a riveting solo show devoted to the work of a prominent twentieth-century artist. Castellon was one of the few Americans who embraced European surrealism and worked in the style from the early 1930s -- when it was cutting-edge -- until 1971, the year he died, when it was an all-but-forgotten historical style. Castellon was born in Spain, but he moved to New York as a child and spent the rest of his life there. Though Castellon had no direct personal connection to surrealist masters such as Picasso, Miró or Dalí, who, incidentally, were also born in Spain, his work was influenced by them. This noteworthy show came together when Anderson acquired a cache of Castellons purchased directly from the collection of the artist's estate. The crowded exhibit includes examples of Castellon's paintings, watercolors, drawings and printmaking -- his greatest claim to art-history fame. Through September 25 at the Emil Nelson Gallery, 1307 Bannock Street, 303-534-0996.
Howard Bond. Classic landscape images by an internationally known American photographer is the topic of a self-titled solo, Howard Bond: Portfolio Sampler, at Camera Obscura Gallery. Bond, who lives in Michigan, has been a serious photographer since the 1940s, and he's known both for the masterful quality of his printing and for his use of large-format cameras. Gallery director Hal Gould has called Bond "a modern-day Ansel Adams," and it's obvious why when viewing these magnificent compositions in meticulously done prints. The show features the entire "Portfolio XXI: Alps," which is made up of ten separate images depicting the dramatic scenery of Europe's famous mountain range. It's amazing that a man in his seventies, which Bond is, could lug that huge camera up the mountainsides -- but the photos prove he did. Not only that, but he dragged the contraption around the world: The exhibit also features individual photos from other Bond suites, including "Sandstone Country," "Ten Cathedrals" and "The Bristlecone Pine." Through September 12 at Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock Street, 303-623-4059.
Manifestos Abstractos. Ibsen Espada, a Houston-based artist originally from Puerto Rico, and Denver's own Frank T. Martinez have been paired at the + Gallery for Manifestos Abstractos because gallery director Gilbert Barrera believes they both create what could be called Hispanic-flavored abstractions. The two artists have been inspired by their shared Hispanic heritage, language (Spanish) and religion (Roman Catholic), and they both embrace culturally specific factors, such as imagery and color. Espada studied art in his native Puerto Rico and in Cuba. Though earlier known for heavy black brushwork, his more recent pieces, such as those at +, are made with a squeegee. He uses the window-washer's tool to "draw" ovals and oblong shapes. Martinez is self-taught, and though he has been an artist since childhood, this exhibit marks his first formal outing in the art world. In his paintings, Martinez incorporates small shapes like circles and squares into his otherwise abstract and expressively painted compositions. The exhibit opened last week; the reception is set for 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 10. Through October 10 at the + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.
William T. Wiley. The fall opener at the Center for Visual Art in LoDo is William T. Wiley: 60 Works for 60 Years. The exhibit was organized by Wiley himself, who selected sixty prints from the collection of the Belger Arts Center in Kansas City to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. Obviously the show's been kicking around for a while, because Wiley's actually close to seventy (he turned sixty in 1997). Wiley came of artistic age in the early 1960s and was part of a generation of San Francisco-area artists who embraced what is today called "funk," an offshoot of pop art. He almost immediately found fame, and his pieces were acquired by many American museums over the years, including the Denver Art Museum, which owns, among other things, a major installation. Like the rest of that Bay Area crowd, many of whom also got famous, Wiley combined an array of seemingly contradictory influences, including expressionism, figural abstraction, pop and conceptualism. His work, which has greatly influenced younger artists, is almost always clever -- and sometimes even downright funny, as revealed by this very large show. Through October 16 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207.