The pure abstraction section carries on the momentum of the show, which makes sense when you consider the type of work Kirkland himself did, as in his "Nebula Near Jupiter," one of his hypothetical outer-space vistas. Also first-rate are the Jack Canepa, the Watson Bidwell, the Al Wynne, the Gene Matthews and the David Yust. Though most of these artists are associated with abstract expressionism, the Yust, "Circular Composition #44," exemplifies the hard-edged abstraction that found fertile ground in Colorado in the late '60s and early '70s.
The last group in the Lower Galleries includes pieces done since 1975, or what could be called contemporary art. In this section are some of the most prominent and established artists currently working in the area, including Clark Richert, Ana Gola-Kumor, Bill Hayes, Roland Bernier, Emilio Lobato and Amy Metier, as well as deceased artists such as Kirkland and Bev Rosen.
"Mines and Mountains," by Charles Bunnell, oil on board.
Through April 4, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200, www.arvadacenter.org.
This is also the only section in which the sculptures — a small Bob Mangold and major pieces by Charles Parson and David Mazza —relate directly to the paintings. In the rest of the show, the sculptures are more freely distributed and often not connected to the paintings they are shown with. Among the most impressive of those are Elizabeth Yanish Shwayder's "Wings of Gold #2" and Edgar Britton's "Commedia dell'Arte Troupe."
The exhibit concludes in the Upper Galleries with the works on paper; it's the perfect capper to the show, because printmaking is such an important tradition in Colorado. Among the mostly regionalist works, with a nice selection of Broadmoor Academy/Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center works, are newer prints by Dale Chisman and John Haeseler, both of whom died in recent years.
Grant has done an awe-inspiring job of laying out 100+ Years of Colorado Art, a display that is so large and impressive, there's no way I could even get to all the high points on this page. Sobczak told me that he'd like to partner with Grant again; given the volume of material at the Kirkland, a second major effort is easy to imagine.