By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
Clyfford Still. For the opening of the Clyfford Still Museum, director Dean Sobel has installed a career survey of the great artist that starts with the artist's realist self-portrait and features his remarkable post-impressionist works from the 1920s. Next are Still's works from the '30s, with some odd takes on regionalism and some figurative surrealist paintings. Then there's his first great leap forward, as the representational surrealist works give way to abstract ones. Looking at the work dating from the '40s and '50s, it's easy to see why Still is regarded as one of the great masters of American art. Through December 31 at the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street, 720-354-4880, clyffordstillmuseum.org. Reviewed January 31.
El Anatsui. This traveling exhibition is El Anatsui's first-ever retrospective. It was organized by the Museum for African Art in New York by curator Lisa Binder, with the Denver Art Museum's Nancy Blomberg, head of the Native Arts Department, acting as host curator. A Ghanaian by birth, Anatsui spent most of his career in Nigeria, where he was a professor of art. It was during this time that he had his Eureka! moment — when he crossed indigenous African forms with international sensibilities in a series of wooden trays, common fixtures of the local markets. The altered trays are brilliant, anticipating everything that would come later. From this modest beginning, Anatsui worked in a wide range of mediums, eventually hitting on the thing that established his world wide fame: his woven-metal wall hangings. These undulating abstract tapestries are made of smashed metal bottle caps formed into rectilinear shapes, and the colors of the found caps are masterfully arranged so that they seem to shimmer. Through December 30 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org Reviewed September 20.
Judy Pfaff et al. The spectacular in-depth solo, Judy Pfaff, stretches into several of the exhibition rooms at the remarkably capacious Robischon Gallery. Pfaff is an acknowledged master of contemporary installation art, and her example has been a source of inspiration for generations of younger artists, including two former students, Ann Hamilton and Jessica Stockholder. As the show unfolds, viewers are confronted by all-over abstract wall-relief sculptures that literally glow due to the incorporation of fluorescent lights. The fluorescent tubes are essentially hidden behind accumulations of honeycomb cardboard, expanded foam and all manner of plastic, much of it stretched into organic shapes. Many also incorporate ready-made Chinese lanterns, which work very well with the overall expressionist compositions. The atmosphere these pieces create in the gallery is magical. The Pfaff solo is bracketed by two others — a small show, Ana Maria Hernando, and a larger one, Katy Stone. Though all three have distinct visions. their respective pieces flow together. Through October 27 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com. Reviewed October 18.
Lui Ferreyra, Albert Chong, O Zhang. The William Havu Gallery is presenting three intertwined solos — four, if you count the Rick Dula paintings on the mezzanine. First up is O Zhang: The World is Yours (But Also Ours), made up of photos with Chinese captions of very Western-looking Chinese people set against some very Western-looking cityscapes in China. The artist's topic is the way that contemporary Chinese people are absorbing Western influences and making them their own. Then there's a selection of abstracted figurative paintings in the exhibit Lui Ferreyra: Interregnum. Ferreyra, an up-and-coming Colorado artist who is new to the gallery, uses geometric shapes to carry out his depictions of people, the landscape and human skulls. Finally, there's Albert Chong: The Ethiopian Portraits, which comprises striking color photos of the Boulder artist's friend and others who live in Ethiopia. The sitters are seen isolated in the corner of an empty room in what looks like an abandoned building. The walls are a soft saffron color, and the models' faces are over-lighted. Though November 3 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com.
Robert Mangold. The dean of Colorado sculpture, who's been working for more than half a century, is the subject of this strong solo with the epic title Colorado Gold: The Many Facets of Robert Mangold at Z Art Department. The show represents something of a chaser to the major Mangold career retrospective that was presented early this year at the Arvada Center, and many of the works from that show are also in this one. Mangold has undertaken a number of series over the years, nearly all of them on the topic of movement, either actual or implied, and there are examples of his many different types of pieces at Z. Surely Mangold's best known series is the one given over to his "Anemotive Kinetics," those spherical multi-part whirligigs in which colorful cones catch the breeze and rotate along a central axis; there is a choice one, on a granite stand, included here. An example from his "I-beam" series, and several "PTTSAAS," which purport to follow the trajectory of an imaginary particle, are also on display, the latter ranging in size from tabletop to gigantic. Through October 28 at Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-298-8432, www.zartdept.com.