Brief reviews of current shows

The Illusionist, et al. The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting four shows for its summer season. In the main space are two solos that function as a duet. On one side is The Illusionist, made up of figurative paintings by Lani Irwin that are enigmatic and have a tight and stilted quality; on the other side are the paintings in Inscrutable Intent, by Alan Feltus, which are also figurative. Irwin and Feltus live together in Italy, and their paintings have something of a scuola romana flavor. Town and Country is a Mary Ehrin installation on display in the back gallery. Ehrin conjures up a dreamy and luxurious boudoir using found furniture, paint and notions like fringe. Ehrin, best known for her conceptual feather paintings of a few years ago, has in the last couple of years turned to creating environments with a feminine feel. Upstairs, Denver photo artist David Zimmer is being treated to a ten-year retrospective of his quirky work in Ether. Zimmer is a master of combining antique-looking equipment with high-tech elements, like the glass domes over DVD screens. Through September 1 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street, Boulder, 303-443-2122.

Landscapes of Colorado. Ann Daley, a curator at the Denver Art Museum, has been at the forefront of the divide between old-fashioned and newfangled in terms of Western art. In spring of 2006, Daley was contacted by Fresco Fine Art Publications and asked to select artists for inclusion in a book about Colorado landscape art. The book led to a major two-part show, Landscapes of Colorado, that includes the same roster of artists but with different pieces than those that were published. The ball was then passed, and the resulting exhibit was jointly organized by the Center for Visual Art and Robischon Gallery. The sweeping show includes way more than a hundred pieces by Daniel Sprick, Chuck Forsman, Don Stinson, Tracy and Sushe Felix, David Sharpe, Eric Paddock and many others. In addition, there's Natural Order, featuring Karen Kitchel's recent paintings, and a special memorial section dedicated to Jim Colbert, both at Robischon. Through August 25 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207; through September 1 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788. Reviewed August 16.

Masters in Clay. Among the specialty niches that Sandra Phillips Gallery on Santa Fe Drive has found is Colorado ceramics. For several years now, the gallery has showcased contemporary pieces by some of the best clay artists around, but with this show, Carson has gone a step further. In addition to young talents, the gallery has added works by some acknowledged masters in the field. Paul Soldner, for example, is represented by pieces loaned by the American Ceramics Museum in California. Soldner was a protegé of Peter Voulkos and, like his mentor, a pioneer in abstract-expressionist ceramics. Soldner, now in his eighties, spent decades working in a studio in Basalt during the summers. Other key Colorado ceramicists featured here include the great Maynard Tischler and the remarkable Martha Daniels. Tischler does a variety of original forms, including sculptural vessels, while Daniels specializes in brightly colored abstracted figures. Filling out the roster are pieces by other noted Colorado artists including Carroll Hansen, Julie McNair, Amy Chavez, Bebe Alexander and Katie Caron. Though October 6 at Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive, 573-5969.

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