Take a break from holiday shopping — or avoiding holiday shopping — by seeing what's on display at local galleries and museums, including Charles Parson + Collin Parson: Counterpoints; the indoor portion at the Museum of Outdoor Arts ends today, December 15. Keep reading for a capsule review of that show, as well as exhibits at five more venues around town, in the order that they're closing.
Charles Parson + Collin Parson. Father-and-son artists Charles and Collin Parson are the subject of an impressive duet, Charles Parson + Collin Parson: Counterpoints, at the Museum of Outdoor Arts. Although the two do not work collaboratively, there is a shared affinity, as both are sculptors interested in conceptual abstraction. Charles is more into creating freestanding works and installations, while Collin tips toward bas-reliefs. The show is presented both at the MOA’s indoor galleries and outdoors in Westlands Park (where the art will be up until August 2018). The indoor exhibit is done in such a way that every piece by Charles is paired with one by Collin, with both still working in their respective approaches. Charles operates between the two poles of his work, industrial and natural, which he resolves into cohesive statements. The industrial predominates, with ready-made materials joined with connecting hardware. Accessing computer programs and contract fabricators to realize his plastic and light-filled pieces, Collin conjures up sculptures and wall panels in which the touch of the hand has been completely removed. Through December 15 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood, 303-806-0444, moaonline.org. Read the review of Counterpoints.
Linda Herritt. At Rule Gallery, the solo Linda Herritt: Good Girl comprises works that employ abstracted text done with paper, fabrics, fringe and watercolor stains. The works on paper include screens of letters that seem to float over scraps of fabric — often simply photocopies of bits of cloth or crochet. The shared palette is quiet, with sepias and touches of green done in watercolor washes. At first the soft geometry of the letters appears to form a non-objective pattern, because Herritt has jammed the letters together in such a way that they are all but impossible to read. However, she indicates the phrases she’s conveying through their titles, all dog commands: “Good Girl,” “Come, Stay.” The wall installations carry on the theme; in “Roll Over,” though, the letters have been left blank, filled in by ripped fabrics. Herritt introduces a dynamic juxtaposition here: the contrast between the suggestion of control in the commands themselves and the lack of control represented by the flowing watercolors, or the imprecision of the torn fabrics in the wall installations. Through December 23 at Rule Gallery, 530 Santa Fe Drive, 303-800-6776, rulegallery.com. Read the review of Linda Herritt: Good Girl.
Martha Russo and Kimberlee Sullivan. The contemplative mood at Goodwin Fine Art, where Martha Russo: circumvolo is on view, is a relief from the endless construction in the area. The show is filled out with the Boulder-area artist’s latest exercises in creating sculptural installations out of aggregations of small elements done in clay, porcelain, paper and other materials. Russo’s classic pieces evoke the idea of undersea life such as corals and other inhabitants of the ocean floor, not only in the way that she has clustered the various parts, but also because the individual components are often based on the shape of shells or even tentacles. The overall character of her sculptures is abstract, despite the literal references, and this abstract quality is present even when she uses recognizable found materials. The Russo show flawlessly transitions into Kimberlee Sullivan: Limnology. The show’s title refers to inland waterways, continuing the watery theme established by Russo. For her part, Sullivan captures fleeting moments seen on the surface of water in highly abstracted paintings and works on paper. Through December 30 at Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street, 303-573-1255, goodwinfineart.com. Read the review of the Russo and Sullivan shows.
Transmutations. The Havu gallery brings together three abstractionists — a sculptor, a painter and an artist who uses smoke on paper to create drawings — in separate solos masquerading as a group show. Occupying the floor space are sculptures by prominent Denver artist Michael Clapper, a highly experimental artist; stylistically, these works are all over the place. The installation “Hope for the Aw-A,” with its suspended element, is particularly unexpected. The standout is the totemic “Taba (Village),” a compressed oval of limestone mounted onto a roughly wedge-shaped chunk of granite; the piece has a monumentality that goes way beyond its actual size. Surrounding the Clappers are paintings by New York artist Ryan Magyar, who puts a fresh twist on abstract expressionism. The compositions are crowded with complex shapes tamed by Magyar’s meticulous surfaces, which are mirror-flat. The last of the trio is artist Dennis Lee Mitchell, a former Chicagoan now living in Virginia, who works with torches to stain paper with the resulting smoke. Through January 6 at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, williamhavugallery.com. Read the full review of Transmutations.
Las (H)adas. Las (H)adas, curated by Maruca Salazar at the Museo de las Americas, explores the work of five women artists. The parenthetical “H” in the title gives the exhibit two meanings: Without the “H,” it’s a Spanish suffix used to make a word feminine; with it, the word means “fairies.” For Salazar, these five women are the fairy godmothers of Latina art in Colorado. However, in addition to their efforts, Las (H)adas also has two freestanding components. One of those, “Kaleidoscope Project,” includes thousands of butterflies created by women in domestic-violence programs. The five artists in the main part of the show are Judy Miranda, Meggan DeAnza, Arlette Lucero, Ana María Hernando and the late Jessica Luna. Each was assigned her own large space separate from the work of the others. Miranda, DeAnza and Lucero create classic Chicano-style work, crammed with symbolism. Hernando works conceptually, conflating South American themes in a feminist context. Luna is represented by a collection of artfully designed figural dolls that are poignantly beautiful. Through January 13 at the Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-4401, museo.org. Read the full review of Las (H)adas.
Her Paris. Women artists have finally been given their due over the past few years, with dozens of exhibits celebrating their heretofore ignored contributions. The current blockbuster at the Denver Art Museum, Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, is a spectacular example of this trend. Though a few women artists had emerged earlier, it was during the second half of the nineteenth century that, for the first time in Europe’s history, great numbers of women took up painting. Male artists of the day were having none of it, and it wasn’t until 1897 that women were even allowed to enroll at the Ècole des Beaux-Arts, the Parisian art school. Don’t be misled by the second part of the exhibit’s title: Although some of the included artists are impressionists, others are not — most notably, Rosa Bonheur, a giant of nineteenth-century realism. And while the show, curated by Laurence Madeline, includes such well-known artists as Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot and Marie Bracquemond, others are downright obscure, including Marie Bashkirtseff, Anna Ancher and Marie Louise Breslau. Through January 14 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, denverartmuseum.org.
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Then, Now, Next. The Denver Art Museum’s North Building — known as the Ponti in honor of its designer, Gio Ponti — will be closed for three years during an extensive rehabilitation, with a goal of completing the work in time for the building’s fiftieth anniversary, in 2021. To explain what the Ponti is and how it’s going to change, the DAM has mounted Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon, on view in the Hamilton Building. The show is more informational than inspirational, laying out a simple narrative about the past, present and future of the Ponti. An important inclusion is the original model from 1966 by Gio Ponti and his Denver-based collaborator, James Sudler. Nearby is the new model by Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti, the two firms overseeing the rehabilitation. The Fentress/Silvetti model reveals the many changes that are planned. The most radical is the aggressive way that the front of the building is to be dealt with. It’s dangerous to mess with a structure’s principal vista, but despite the inherent dangers, the plans for the Ponti appear amazingly sensitive. Through February 25 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, denverartmuseum.org. Read the full review of Then, Now, Next.
See more art gallery listings in the Westword calendar.