James Westwater. The current solo in the main space at the Rule Gallery is James Westwater; 10 Years, Geometric Narcissism, 1995-2005. This is not the first time Westwater has had his work exhibited in Denver, but this is the first major offering. The Rule show is a brief survey of the conceptual artist's work done during the time he's lived in Santa Fe, where he moved in 1994. For Westwater, who exhibits his pieces nationally, "geometric narcissism" explains what he's doing, specifically using simple shapes, most often ovals, Westwater marks the surface of his pieces as if he were putting a personal stamp on them. In the late'90s, Westwater put the shapes within neo-minimalist formats -- and they look a lot like Ellsworth Kelly's compositions -- but in the later pieces, he puts the shapes on top of appropriated images and found objects, including a reproduction of a seascape, a sheet of faux bois laminate and a suitcase. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 9 pm on Friday, January 21. Through March 5 at the Rule Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473.
Lines of Position and Rudiments. Technically speaking, Lines of Position and Rudiments, at Sandy Carson Gallery, are separate solos, but they've been outlandishly installed together as a duet. Lines of Position features wall-hung sculptures by Jeremy Jernegan, while Rudiments comprises recent abstract paintings by Floyd Tunson. Jernegan's work is precise and intimate, Tunson's expressive and bold. Their pieces shouldn't work well together, but for some reason they do. The whole thing looks stunning, even if viewers are constantly forced to shift their attention from one to the other. Jernegan teaches ceramics at Louisiana's Tulane University, but these recent pieces are something else, because they don't look like ceramics; they look like photos. Jernegan uses a photo silkscreen, pushing fine slip through the screen instead of ink and using a clay slab instead of paper. Manitou Springs-based Tunson has been a mainstay of Colorado's contemporary scene since the '70s. A neo-pop artist, he swings back and forth between representational and -- as in these pieces --abstraction. Through February 26 at Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585.
Upstarts and Matriarchs. Feminism transformed American society in the '70s, allowing female artists to turn the art world upside-down. Surveying this trend is the topic of Upstarts and Matriarchs: Jewish Women Artists and the Transformation of American Art: 1970-Now. The exhibit was curated by Simon Zalkind, the director of the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, who has presented a formidable roster of first-rate shows over the years. It's hard to say that he's out-done himself this time, but he has. The scholarly show is installed both in the main multi-part space and in the nearby atrium gallery. The extra room was needed because Zalkind has included pieces by more than a dozen artists, among them major historical figures such as Judy Chicago, Audrey Flack, Nancy Grossman, Joyce Kozloff, Martha Rosler, Miriam Shapiro, Joan Semmel, Nancy Spero, Joan Snyder and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Through March 27 at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia, 303-399-2660.