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Better Times, et al.Contemporary painter Evan Colbert has been successfully riffing on minimalism, pop art and conceptualism for the last several years -- and he's not about to stop now. Among his most interesting pieces are those in which he creates a color field based on paint chips and then labels it with an evocative word. For his recent body of paintings, displayed in Better Times at the + Gallery, Colbert uses colors and words to evoke political themes, such as the one referencing the Department of Homeland Security's color coding of terrorist-threat levels. It's great. Also at + Gallery is Nocturnal Suburbia, in which Patti Hallock takes shots of the suburbs at night. There's an implicit indictment in these views of cheap materials used mundanely, but this sociocultural narrative is offset by the poetics of the darkness that envelop the scenes. Finally, there's Cremasteric Reflex Corset, a signature piece by Ira Sherman, one of the region's most respected vanguard sculptors. The contraption is a high-tech torture device with the fine detailing of a piece of jewelry. Implicitly, it's intended to be worn by an unlucky man. Through January 7 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927.

The Eternal Gift. The Taylor Museum in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is showing off some of its treasure in The Eternal Gift: Selections From the Fine Arts Center's Permanent Collection. The Taylor's inventory has many strengths, including modern art from the early to mid-twentieth century, which is what's on display in this show. Michael De Marshe, the center's president, made the choices; after sampling the Taylor's marvelous American scene paintings collection, he decided to include spectacular period pieces by Walt Kuhn, John Sloan and Isabel Bishop, along with that signature Georgia O'Keeffe flower painting. There's some early vanguard stuff -- notably, Arthur Dove's "Fog Horns" and Chagall's "Inspiration" -- as well as great things by Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery and John Marin. The next generation is also on hand, with the Taylor's famous Diebenkorn taking center stage; the Motherwells are pretty neat, too. Regular visitors will be familiar with many of these pieces from past shows at the center, but the thing about masterpieces is that they never get old. Through February at the Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5583.

Filters of the Twentieth Century. Over the last couple of decades, there's increasingly been a problem with making neat and tidy distinctions between photojournalism and fine-art photography. Art is exactly what's in store for viewers of Filters of the Twentieth Century: Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans on display at Cherry Creek's Gallery M. True, Bourke-White and Mydans were photojournalists, but their works are examples of fine-art photography anyway. Bourke-White did Lifemagazine's first cover, "Fort Peck Dam," in 1936; an estate print of it is included at Gallery M. The exhibit also has photos Bourke-White took for Erskine Caldwell's 1939 book, You Have Seen Their Faces, which was her personal response to photos of the rural poor taken for the Farm Service Administration. Like Bourke-White, Mydans was one of the first generation of Lifephotographers, and before that he worked for the FSA. The show could be criticized for being way too crowded, but considering what it's crowded with -- stunning images by Bourke-White and Mydans -- who cares? Through January 31 at Gallery M, 2830 East Third Avenue, 303-331-8400. Reviewed October 14.

Graphics by 20th Century Masters. The Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs is hosting this impressive traveling show that includes a who's who of the world of modern art. Graphics by 20th Century Masters includes more than sixty prints in a wide range of techniques, all collected by Wes and Missy Cochran of Georgia. Wes began collecting pop art as a young man in the 1960s when he was working in the oil fields in the Middle East. Interestingly, the Cochrans are not wealthy -- Wes works as a stonemason and Missy as a public school teacher -- and that's surely why they choose to collect prints, which are more affordable than paintings or sculptures. As could be expected, there's depth in pop art, with examples by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Indiana and Claes Oldenburg, but there are also major works from early in the century by the likes of Picasso, Chagall and Dali. There are so many different artists doing so many different things, it's tempting to call the show comprehensive, though, of course, it isn't. Through January 28 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, 1-719-262-3567.

Jeff Starr: A Way of Life. For the past twenty years, Denver artist Jeff Starr has managed to be relevant to the contemporary art scene, which is no mean feat. Back in the '80s, he established himself as a top contemporary painter with his body of idiosyncratic, surrealist-style paintings. In fact, just last year he was one of the anointed in the Museum of Contemporary Art's biennial, where he was represented by his retro-abstract ceramics. How he went from being a painter to a sculptor is the topic of this exhibit at Rule Gallery, where Starr's efforts have been seen over the years. The show lays out his development over the last decade, with the oldest pieces in the show dating from the early '90s and the newest having been done within the last few months. The message is that Starr's sculptures come out of his paintings -- sort of. Starr's pieces in any medium are created in a range of styles, but there are always references in them to the art of the past. As an added bonus, conceptual artist David Brady's recent work is on display in the Viewing Room. Through January 8 at Rule Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473.

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