When the twins left Colorado, they wound up in Woodstock, New York, then an artist colony. Days after returning from a trip to Italy in 1952, Jenne died suddenly of an aneurism. Ethel continued with her art career, periodically returning to Colorado. In the '50s through the early '90s, she embraced modernism, as exemplified by several abstracts in the Kirkland show, including the gorgeous "Dark October."

In addition to pieces from the Kirkland's formidable permanent collection, Grant has borrowed Magafans from David Cook Fine Art, a premier venue for historic Colorado art. Another gallery that specializes in this field is the fairly new Z Art Department on Speer Boulevard, owned by Randy Roberts and directed by Paul Hughes. Z is currently presenting a major retrospective of the work of husband-and-wife artists Edward and Donna Marecak, key figures in the development of modern art in Colorado. Simply titled Marecak, the show is incredible.

Edward was an idiosyncratic painter and printmaker who studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center School in the 1940s, where he developed a highly original style that's simultaneously abstract and representational. Many of the paintings take on mythological topics; he was particularly interested in depicting witches, as seen in "Witches Flying Kites." Interestingly, his work seems more closely associated to post-war European modernism than it does to what was going on in this country, and he was never influenced by abstract expressionism, the great American modern style.

Ethel Magafan, "Dark October," oil on panel.
Ethel Magafan, "Dark October," oil on panel.
"Witches Flying Kites," by Edward Marecak, oil on board.
"Witches Flying Kites," by Edward Marecak, oil on board.

Details

Through August 29, Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-1111, www.denverlibrary.org.Through August 2, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576, www.kirklandmuseum.org.Extended to July 11, Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-298-8432, zartdepartment@yahoo.com.To see more of these exhibits, go to westword.com/slideshow.

In 1947 he married Donna, a potter who would often decorate her pots according to Edward's designs. The large and handsome collection of Donna's precisely thrown, gorgeous pots on display here have only rarely been exhibited as a group.

Although the pair's creative heyday was the 1950s and '60s, both were rediscovered by the local art world in the 1990s, right after Edward died and Donna had retired. Paul Hughes, who was then running his own gallery, the long-gone Inkfish, was largely responsible for the revival, and now he's helped to bring the Marecaks' work to Z Art.

Hardly anyone in Denver has personal memories of the artists featured in these three significant shows; I know I don't. But we can reclaim the memory of them by taking in these marvelous exhibits.

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