Livingston raises so many issues about the nature of art, about art as a commodity and about what collecting art is all about, that's it's positively head-spinning. In fact, if it weren't in a gallery, it might be hard to identify The Big Idea as art at all.

As I left Plus, I considered the tremendous amount of physical work Livingston must have done to pull it off, and I wasn't surprised to learn that it had taken him an entire year. I hope some museum or art center presents this show in the future, because it would be sad if it were just all put away at the end of its run.

Livingston was one of a group of young artists to emerge from RMCAD over the past ten or fifteen years. Another is the subject of a handsome outing called Jason Hoelscher: Attention Span Management at Rule Gallery. Unlike Livingston, Hoelscher, who lives in New York, was one of those young painters who built his career by doing direct critiques of the work of his mentor, Clark Richert. (Livingston's relationship to Richert is more remote, though the two do share a taste for hard-edged painting.)

Colin Livingston's "The Big Idea."
Colin Livingston's "The Big Idea."

Details

Jessica Stockholder and John McEnroe

Through December 31, Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com.

Colin Livingston

Through January 16, Plus Gallery, 2501 Larimer Street, 720-394-8484, www.plusgallery.com.

Jason Hoelscher

Extended through January 16, at Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway, 303-777-9473, www.rulegallery.com.

To see slide shows of these exhibits, go to westword.com/slideshow.

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The Hoelscher paintings are incredibly simple, with the artist using only one or two colors against the white grounds. Formally, they are also pretty bare-bones, with straight lines predominating, though there are a few curved ones. But the compositions aren't simply copies of minimalist or color-field compositions from the late twentieth century, because Hoelscher adds a very subtle detail that violates the rules for these types of paintings: depth. Employing his economical formula, Hoelscher somehow introduces perspective, and thus the impression of three dimensions. This makes them post-minimal, and thus conceptual abstractions. Rule is the place in Denver to see this kind of thing, and the Hoelscher solo fits right in with the gallery's aesthetic program.

I don't need to point out that the DAM, MCA Denver and the Kirkland Museum are also chock-full of worthwhile exhibits right now — and I've reviewed several of them in the last few months. But sometimes it slips our minds that the city's private commercial galleries are also veritable treasure troves this time of year.

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