Update, January 12, 2018: The Dorothy Tanner Lumonics Mind Spa installation will not be completed on schedule, but the team anticipates it will be finished around January 16.
Exhibits opening this week run the gamut in subject matter, from works by tattoo artists to an installation of mind-blowing light sculptures by nonagenarian Dorothy Tanner. Famous women will be celebrated and the issues of modern times torn apart; teaching artists share their process, and artists of the new West find their place in history in a survey focusing on one of Denver’s finest galleries. Here’s how to keep busy with art, all weekend long.
Adrienne Norris: Women Behaving Badly
GLBT Community Center of Colorado, 1301 East Colfax Avenue
January 10 through March
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 10, 5 to 7 p.m.
Portrait painter Adrienne Norris’s ongoing Women Behaving Badly series regularly focuses on historically notable women role models with badass credentials, but a new gallery installation at the GLBT Community Center of Colorado narrows the lens even more to showcase heroic women in the queer community. Norris, who collages her original watercolor tributes together with photos and news clippings into a montage, says she loves playing historian and researching the women whose portraits she paints to create a finished piece.
Firehouse Art Center, 667 Fourth Avenue, Longmont
January 4 through February 4
Opening Reception: Friday, January 12, 6 to 9 p.m.
Tattoo art at its simplest is another form of drawing, rooted in illustration, albeit one rendered on a human canvas. So it follows that the best tattoo artists instinctively also know how to draw. Sure, it pays to be steady-handed, too, but every tattoo starts with the line composition of a talented draftsman. ThINK!, a new exhibit at the Firehouse Art Center of works selected by Firehouse curation assistant Grace Gutierrez, explores the decorative art form, on and off the skin, striving to show off the artistic soul that hides behind every tattoo. The show’s motto? “You don’t have to like tattoos, have tattoos, or have full sleeves to see the splendor in these artists’ work.” Dig it.
Tom Judd, Disruption
Jerry Kunkel, RECON TEXT
Terry Maker, Point Blank
Jim Sanborn, Meridian
Edie Winograde, Place and Time: Reenactment Pageant
Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street
January 11 through March 3
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 11, 6 to 8 p.m.
Robischon Gallery marches into 2018 with a whopping five solo shows focused on issues of the day and their historical infrastructure. The prescient all-star artists — Tom Judd, Jerry Kunkel, Terry Maker, Jim Sanborn and Edie Winograde — do so with much-needed humor in a mixture of paintings, sculpture and photography.
Mia Brownell: Plates to Platelets and Other Things That Travel and Bind
Art Gallery at the Fulginiti Pavilion, 13080 East 19th Avenue, Aurora
January 11 through March 8
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 11, 4 to 7 p.m.
Lost Pollinators: Mia Brownell, Alison Mary Kay, Kara Maria
Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street
January 12 through February 24
Opening Reception: Friday, January 12, 6 to 8 p.m.
Painter Mia Brownell, whose monochrome still-life imagery re-envisions the natural world at the molecular level, gets a two-fer in January, beginning with a solo, Plates to Platelets and Other Things That Travel and Bind, a wholly appropriate exhibit for a medical facility, which opens January 11 at the Fulginiti Center on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Beginning January 12, Brownell also shares space with Alison Mary Kay and Kara Maria at Goodwin Fine Art for Lost Pollinators; both shows take cues from science, biology and environmental concerns.
Fieldworks: Creative Research by DU Faculty
Vicki Myhren Gallery, 2121 East Asbury Avenue
January 11 through February 18
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 11, 5 to 9 p.m.
The University of Denver’s Myhren Gallery goes behind the scenes of the artistic process with an unusual kind of faculty show: Instead of exhibiting finished work in a familiar gallery setting, Fieldworks also delves into research projects and works-in-progress by eight DU faculty members from the studio art and emergent digital practices programs for a holistic look at the art of making work. Artists include Jennifer Ghormley, Sarah Gjertson, Scott Montgomery, Brandon Siscoe, Megan Ulrich, Kristin Stransky Mallinger, Kari Varner and Timothy Weaver; attend artist talks from 6 to 7 p.m. January 25 and February 8, or noon to 12:45 p.m. on February 14.
Zach Reini: A Leaden Stride to Nowhere
Gildar Gallery, 82 South Broadway
January 12 through February 18
Opening Reception: Friday, January 12, 6 to 9 p.m.
The stuff of culture, pop or otherwise, goes awry on the assembly line of public consumption in Zach Reini’s new solo at Gildar Gallery, which looks at the mechanization of human existence in modern times. Cheer up — it’s the 21st century, already.
Lumonics Mind Spa: Stretching the Body, Mind and Spirit
Opening date undetermined through May 27
New Regionalisms: Contemporary Art in the Western States and Master Printmakers and Print Educators of Colorado
January 13 through April 8
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue
Three sweet shows open January 1 at the McNichols Building, where, for starters, 94-year-old light artist Dorothy Tanner will be feted with another bright and beautiful show. Her Lumonics Mind Spa, a new installation on the first floor, is described as a mind-expanding meditative environment featuring light sculptures by Dorothy and the late Mel Tanner, and music and video by Dorothy Tanner and Marc Billard. On the second floor, New Regionalisms: Contemporary Art in the Western States, a stunning show curated by Westword art critic Michael Paglia and focusing on artists from the William Havu Gallery stable, will hold forth on a contemporary Western art theme, and on the third, the biennial Month of Printmaking (Mo’Print) in March gets a head start with Master Printmakers and Print Educators of Colorado, a veritable love letter to Colorado’s printmaking community, curated by one of the masters, Mark Lunning of Open Press. A formal reception will take place on February 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information about all three exhibits, visit the McNichols website.
Utopia of the Neutral
Cabal Gallery, 1875 South Broadway
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 13, 6 to 10 p.m.
Cabal Gallery’s Mar Williams — perturbed by Pope Francis’s criticism of the “utopia of the ‘neutral’” in a 2017 speech in which he denounced advanced biomedical technologies that make gender reassignment easier — was inspired to put out a call to Denver transgender and non-binary artists for a show that affirms their right to a place in the general culture. The result is a free-form exhibit by a diverse group of artists in a variety of media that’s neither a challenge nor an invitation to those who haven’t made up their mind. Take it or leave it: It’s all about the way things are, not the way some folks think things should be. Learn more online.
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Pink Tea Social, Pink Fibers Collecting and Pink Crochet Hats
Processus, 955 24th Street
Saturday, January 13, 10 a.m. to noon
When Denver artist Viviane Le Courtois starts a project, the public is always a part of the process: She invites people to drop by, often in a social situation over tea and cookies, to donate specific materials that she’ll use in an installation. This time, she’s collecting pink fibers and fabrics (old socks, castaway clothing, yarn, felt, fur and so on) to create two soft sculptures for Pink Progression, a series of group exhibits in Denver and Boulder that will commemorate the international 2017 Women’s March and look forward to further strides in women’s rights. And for good measure, Le Courtois also invites knitters to bring their crochet hooks and yarn to make a pink hat for this year's march. If you can’t make the social, you can still drop off materials or mail them to Processus any time before January 13.
See Westword’s calendar listings for more art events and openings.