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.
Group Show 2. Though the crew at Studio Aiello is not using the word "biennial" for this juried show, that's exactly what it is: Group Show 1 was presented exactly two years ago. Among the large panel of jurors for that first effort, which also marked the venue's grand opening, was Kathy Andrews, the well-known director of the Center for Visual Art. This time, Andrews was tapped to go it alone. Out of the hundreds who applied for Group Show 2, she selected thirty. The resulting display is massive, filling several of the enormous gallery's many spaces. Nearly all of the chosen hail from the greater Denver area. Interestingly, there are several artists who've been exhibiting around town for years but do not typically go in for juried shows. Among these established talents are Mark Brasuell, Jerry De La Cruz, Peter Illig, Wendi Harford, Tsehai Johnson and Irene Delka McCray. More expected in an exhibit such as this one are emerging artists like Morgan Barnes, Agnes Kunz Vigil and Justin Simoni. Finally, there's the work of nearly two dozen others who have varying degrees of art experience. Through October 15 at Studio Aiello, 3656 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166.
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. Both 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 his 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. Through October 10 at the + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.