Rex Ray: Recent Work. The gorgeous Rex Ray: Recent Work, currently at Rule Gallery, is clearly one of the best shows in memory. On the south wall of the space is an installation called "Wall of Sound," which is made up of nearly 500 different collages on small sheets of paper hung end to end. These paper collages are essentially sketches for the ones on board and canvas. Across from the installation are scores of collages on board that are displayed salon style on the north wall and on the short walls; Ray calls these large pieces on canvas "landscapes." In both types, Ray uses papers he decorated with paint and transfer printing. Most of these works have a mid-century-modernist feel, but rather than looking retro, they have a neo-modern character. Ray has an instinctual sense for composition, and his skill as a colorist is remarkable. Through November 20 at Rule Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473. Reviewed October 21.
Silence Nothingness. There's an elegant little show with the possibly insulting title of Silence Nothingness at the Sandra Phillips Gallery. The exhibit pairs Amy Lee Solomon's abstracted Western landscapes with emerging artist Susan Jean Hart's rough-hewn sculptures, which also pick up the landscape theme. In the '80s and early '90s, Solomon, then a neo-expressionist painter, was well known in town, having exhibited her work in several fondly remembered art hot spots. Though she's shown her paintings continuously since then, she's kept a much lower profile. The new Solomons are covered with scribbles of graphite and smears of paint in a fairly limited palette: cream, blue, black and gray, with little touches of green and orange. Hart's sculptures are very cool and are part of a tradition of wooden sculptures that have been done around here for decades. I especially like "Tree House," a totem made of steel and tree branches, but the others are good, too. The show has been extended to November 7 at the Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-5969. Reviewed October 21.