Now Showing

Capsule reviews of current exhibits.

The Nature of Things. For its first show of the new year, Havu Gallery is presenting a duet dedicated to recent creations by painting pair Sushe and Tracy Felix. The couple's works have almost always been presented together during their twenty-year-plus careers. Both artists look to the art history of the region — in particular, the transcendentalists working in New Mexico and the early modernists in Colorado. Both do landscape-based abstractions, but their styles are distinctive and individualistic. Sushe's abstracts are non-repetitive patterns that evoke the land via simple shapes and elements suggesting the trees, the sky and even birds. Tracy, on the other hand, directly references specific mountain views but conventionalizes the elements of the landscape so that they look like vintage cartoon images, à la Jellystone Park. As a bonus, Havu is featuring Erick Johnson, a display of abstract sculptures by this well-known Colorado artist. Through February 23 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360. Reviewed January 17.

Star Power. To celebrate the opening of the new Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver by architect David Adjaye, director Cydney Payton organized several solo shows collectively titled Star Power: Museum as Body Electric. The festivities begin on the lower level in The Whole Room with Candice Breitz's "Legend," a grid of video screens showing Jamaicans singing Bob Marley songs. On the first-floor Photography Gallery are collages by Collier Schorr that explore a cute teenage boy with poses modeled on female figures depicted in Andrew Wyeth's paintings. On the second-floor Paper Works Gallery is an exhibition of crude, expressionist watercolors of female nudes by Chris Ofili who, like Adjaye, is an African-born artist living in the United Kingdom. In the Promenade is an odd and vaguely amateurish installation by Wangechi Mutu that includes bottles of milk and strapping tape. Finally, in the Large Works Gallery is an untitled if eye-dazzling installation of mirrors and mirror-clad figures by David Altmejd. Through March 2 at the MCA/D, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554.

Story. The broad implications of this exhibit's title, Story, gave its organizers -- Center for Visual Art director Jennifer Garner and assistant director Cicely Cullen -- the freedom to build an odd if interesting show. In it, the only pattern connecting the artists is their shared interest in telling stories visually. The idea began when artist and Metropolitan State College of Denver drawing professor Sandy Lane asked for a slot to present pieces by Brent Green, a visiting artist from Pennsylvania. Realizing that Green's work was narrative, Garner and Cullen each chose a prominent Colorado artist to flesh out the concept. Garner tapped internationally famous sculptor James Surls, and Cullen picked Denver's own Jill Hadley Hooper. All three do distinctive pieces in different styles employing different mediums: Green does folksy animation, Surls does organic sculpture and Hooper does expressionist painting. Thank goodness the CVA is big enough to present each separately, because this group exhibit functions better as three tales than as a single coherent Story. Through February 23 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207. Reviewed January 31.

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