Now Showing

 Alden Mason, Kimberlee Sullivan and Lorey Hobbs. The changing of the seasons from spring to summer is what inspired William Biety, director of the Sandy Carson Gallery, to put together three solos, each comprising nature-based abstractions. Alden Mason marks the debut of the Washington artist, who is represented in this show by neo-expressionist watercolors that are densely populated by cartoonish depictions of people, animals and plants. Mason, who is in his late eighties, is a well-known artist in the Northwest, where his work appears in the collections of many museums. Kimberlee Sullivan features paintings inspired by microscopic views of natural things. The Denver artist's small abstracts are painted mostly green, a detail that heightens the naturalistic reference. Finally, there is Lorey Hobbs, a show made up of this Denver artist's recent neo-abstract-expressionist canvases. It's hard to believe, looking at these boldly colored and powerfully painted works, that Hobbs actually begins with sketches of the countryside. Through July 6 at the Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585. Reviewed June 9.

Amy Metier. Amy Metier is one of the top abstract painters in Colorado, and has been for a long time. And as she has done periodically over the last several decades, she's once again gone to the studio and come back with evidence that -- in her hands, at least -- a little abstract expressionism can go a long way. This gorgeous show demonstrates its continuing appeal. Among Metier's many strengths is her spot-on sense of color: Each painting in her current show features a lyrically compatible palette -- usually in sunny tones of yellow, orange, blue and pink, but in a couple of instances dark, moody shades that are equally fine. All of the paintings here have the suggestion of a recognizable subject underneath the active surfaces -- a still life, a landscape, something -- yet it's impossible to make out what it actually is. Through June 18 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360. Reviewed June 9.

Five Presses: Selected Works, et al. The enormous Lower Gallery at the Arvada Center have been given over to a massive print show, Five Presses. The show's title refers to the five presses from which curator Jerry Gilmore has selected the 75 prints he's included in this impressive exhibit. The presses include two famous ones located right here in Colorado -- Anderson Ranch and Shark's INK -- as well as New Mexico's Hand Graphics, Segura Publishing Company from Arizona and White Wings Press of Illinois. Among the artists who are represented are Terry Allen, Vernon Fisher, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Emilio Lobato, David Barbero, Robert Colescott, Emmi Whitehorse, Enrique Chagoya, James Turrell, Carrie Mae Weems and Betty Woodman. In the Upper Gallery is Donald Quade: Journal, a big solo filled with abstracts by this up-and-coming Denver painter. In the theater lobby is the more intimate Chuck McCoy: New Works on Paper, made up of abstracts on paper. Donald Quade and Chuck McCoy run through August 21; Five Presses through August 28 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200.

Jenny Morgan, Peter Illig and John McEnroe. There's a duet on display in the front space of + Gallery: Jenny Morgan: First Person on two of the walls, and Peter Illig: Future Tense on the other two. Morgan is a twenty-something Denver painter who's forging her own distinctive path with enigmatic self-portraits in a contemporary representational style. Illig's small solo comprises only four pieces. Illig has been around a while, but this is his first outing at +. His style is neo-pop, and while there's definitely a relationship between his work and James Rosenquist's, there's a gritty, noir-ish quality, too. In the back space at + is the impressive John McEnroe: Upshot, a conceptual show of color-field paintings done in latex paint with no canvas or board behind them. Also included is a group of sculptures made of tools that were cast in plastic and then distorted through melting. In overall impact, the show recalls the elegance of classic modernism. Then again, conceptualism is modern. Through June 25 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927. Reviewed June 16.

Lewis and Clark. There's quite a bit of art in it, but Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, is not an art show. In addition to the sculptures, paintings and decorative items, there are documents, weapons, maps, notebooks, clothing, medical paraphernalia and scientific equipment. All of it is interesting, some of it even beautiful. The Missouri Historical Society's Carolyn Gilman expertly curated the show, gathering up the 400-plus artifacts in it, more than a quarter of which may be directly traceable to the expedition itself. In her selections, Gilman attempted to include the perspective of both the Euro-Americans and the American Indians. The exhibit has basically been arranged in chronological order, following Lewis and Clark and their Shoshone guide, Sacagawea, along their route from the Midwest to the Pacific. They were looking for a river passage to the Northwest coast, but it wasn't there. The show's only flaw is the theatrical exhibition design, which is often distracting. Through August 21 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, 303-322-7009. Reviewed May 26.

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