Stark: Life in Black and White, at Foothills Art Center (809 15th Street, Golden, 303-279-3922, www.foothillscenter.org), is made up of the work of five Denver-area artists, each of whom has been given a mini-solo to showcase his or her black-and-white pieces. (There's also a supplementary piece, by Greg Cradick of Working With Artists: a flat-screen TV projecting images of people's faces from the show's opening reception.)
Organized by Foothills curator Michael Chavez, the exhibit begins with some remarkable, barely-there drawings by Nathan Abels. "City Park Morning" is so faint, it takes a moment or two to come into focus; it's almost as if Abels has simply exhaled graphite. An apparition-like video of his exudes a similar faintness.
Next up are some staggeringly accomplished hyper-realist paintings of older women in interior settings by Monique Crine. Some are literally mural-sized and are eye-popping. Paired with these are a series of neo-pop photos by Stephen Legg, who takes multiple glamour shots of mundane things and arranges them in patterns; an example is "Tire Remains" (detail pictured), which features tire-tread fragments.
Around the corner is a grid of 49 straight-on mug shots by Christopher Perez that are part of an enormous project in which he captures friends and strangers out on the street. The show ends up with a smart-looking wall installation by Mindy Bray that depicts a willow tree in black stenciled paint against the stained-glass windows at Foothills.
For reasons that have nothing to do with Bray's painting, which is very good, the show runs out of steam at the end. That's because there seems to be a missing element, with Chavez having left the entire room where the painting is otherwise empty. To pull this off successfully, either the Bray needed to come off the wall, or there should have been some sculptures added by someone else. Stark closes on July 3.