This is your last chance to see the exhibit dedicated to architect Charles Deaton, which closes at the Museum of Outdoor Arts on September 22; the Calder sculptures will also be leaving the Denver Botanic Gardens at the end of the weekend. Keep reading for capsule reviews of those shows, as well as four others around town, in the order that they're ending.
Charles Deaton. Englewood’s Museum of Outdoor Arts is hosting an intimate solo dedicated to a visionary Denver architect, the late Charles Deaton, who erected a handful of remarkably original structures during the mid-twentieth century. His most famous work is the “Sculptured House” in Genesee, which became world-famous when it was given a supporting role in Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper. The Sleeper house, as it became known, makes an appearance in the show, but the star of The Sculptured Buildings of Charles Deaton is an equally radical design: the spectacular Community Banks of Colorado building at 3501 South Broadway, just a few blocks from the MOA. The concrete-over-steel structure has an extremely complex form, in which the egg shape on the south side morphs into a spiral curve on the north. The centerpiece of the show is the original plaster model for the bank that’s extremely close to what was actually built, which is not typically the case. Another interesting inclusion is an extended interview conducted by Hugh Downs of Deaton himself in which the architect describes his process and practice. Through September 22 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood, 303-806-0444, moaonline.org.
Wes Magyar, Ricki Klages and Shelby Shadwell. The depiction of the figure plays an important role in two of the three solos now at William Havu and makes an appearance in the third. The festivities begin with Wes Magyar, a show made up of contemporary realist paintings by this well-known Colorado artist. Some of the paintings are informal portraits that carry the suggestion of some unknown and enigmatic narrative, a signature technique from Magyar, whose renderings tilt more toward the painterly end of the scale and away from the photographic. But photo-realist techniques are on view in the breathtaking and meticulously done paintings in Ricki Klages; Klages creates hyper-realist depictions of non-realistic scenes. The last of the three solos is Shelby Shadwell, a show in which the artist is represented by remarkably precise photo-realist charcoal-on-paper drawings. The incredible series of still-life depictions of tied up black trash bags have a magisterial monumentality despite their humble subjects. Through September 23 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, williamhavugallery.com. Read the full review of all three shows.
Calder Monumental. The Denver Botanic Gardens has popped up on the art world’s radar with ambitious exhibits, presented outdoors on the 23 acres of grounds as well as indoors in the Boettcher Memorial Center. This summer, Alexander Calder's work is surveyed in Calder Monumental, which was curated by Alfred Pacquement, a Paris-based Calder expert. Calder, who single-handedly invented the mobile, is a giant in the history of kinetic sculpture. His career stretched from the 1920s, when he studied in Paris, to 1976, when he died suddenly at age 78. From the start, Calder created both kinetic and stable works, which he called mobiles and stabiles, respectively. The show is mostly made up of his stabiles, and in fact includes just one signature mobile, “Snow Flurry, May 14,” from 1959, which is hanging inside the Boettcher. In addition to this mobile, there are two kinetic pieces that are hybrids of mobiles and stabiles, “6 Dots Over a Mountain,” from 1956, and 1964’s “Five Rudders.” Unlike the kinetic pieces, some of the stabiles don’t even look like Calders, especially those that include references to the figure. Through September 24 at the Denver Botanic Gardens,1007 York Street, 720-865-3501, botanicgardens.org. Read the review of Calder Monumental.
Allison Stewart and Heidi Jung. Taking over the entire set of front spaces at Michael Warren Contemporary is Skyfaring: New Works by Allison Stewart, an ambitious solo providing an in-depth look at recent paintings by Allison Stewart, a New Orleans-based artist who also maintains a studio in Snowmass Village. For most of these paintings, Stewart began with an impression in her mind’s eye of an aerial view of the landscape. She then translated that vision into layered abstractions in which linear elements are juxtaposed with organically derived shapes. Abstraction plays a much more limited role in a solo on view in the back gallery, Travels: New Works by Heidi Jung. These latest pieces by Denver-area artist Heidi Jung, who has long been interested in creating drawings of natural subjects, are renderings of plants that, despite impressionistic handling, are still clearly representational. That impressionist part is achieved by Jung through the use of sumi ink and charcoal on Mylar, as well as through directed erasures that she uses to selectively remove parts of the otherwise realistic imagery. Through October 21 at Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-636-6255, michaelwarrencontemporary.com. Read the full review of the shows at Michael Warren.
Water Line and Propagate. The big fall show at Metro State’s Center for Visual Art is the ambitious Water Line: A Creative Exchange, which takes up the topic of water as a threatened resource. It was curated by Cecily Cullen, the CVA’s managing director, who selected conceptual artists who address environmental topics. The sensibilities of the participants are so varied that Waterline functions like a sequence of wholly separate presentations as much as it does a thematically organized group show. Native American artist Cannupa Hanska Luger explores the dangers of the Dakota Access Pipeline, while Aurora Robson uses discarded plastics to make her lyrical sculptures. Melting ice is on the minds of Natascha Seideneck, represented by photos and videos, and Anna McKee, who explicates the disappearing ice sheet with a spectacular installation. The chaser for the show is Propagate: A Backyard Revolution, in the student-run 965 Gallery, where curator Amber Micciche brought together installations by Meredith Feniak and Eileen Roscina Richardson. Through October 21 at the MSUD Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive, 303-294-5207, msudenver.edu/cva. Read the full review of Water Line and Propagate.
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Mi Tierra. This ambitious exhibition was curated by Rebecca Hart, who has given the show the entire fourth level of the Hamilton Building, with each artist assigned a defined section for his or her site-specific installation. The selected artists are all Mexican-American, and all are emerging artists who are working conceptually. Among the most powerful installations are those that take on politics directly, such as Daisy Quezada’s “Desplazamiento/Contención (Displacement/Containment),” a starkly elegant installation with an audio component about undocumented immigrants. Another piece that’s politically charged is Jaime Carrejo’s “One-Way Mirror,” one of the standouts both visually and conceptually, with the topic being the borderlands. Some of the artists championed Mexican culture — most notably, Justin Favela, whose “Fridalandia” is an entire room done up as a piñata. Everything in Mi Tierra has something to do with the European colonization of the New World, but none addresses it as directly as "Destinies Manifest," a projected digital animation by John Jota Leaños. Through October 22 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, denverartmuseum.org. Read the full review of Mi Tierra.
See more art gallery listings in the Westword calendar.