Art Review

Reviewed: Shows You Can See Now (or Read About)

Untitled Heidi Jung work on paper at Michael Warren Contemporary.
Untitled Heidi Jung work on paper at Michael Warren Contemporary. Robert Delaney
While every museum in town is closed, a few galleries are staying open for now, although some only by appointment. And many arts institutions are offering virtual tours. Keep reading for an update on what's on walls around town...and whether you'll be able to see it.

Matthew Larson's "White and Red" (left) and "Red and White." - COURTESY OF RULE GALLERY
Matthew Larson's "White and Red" (left) and "Red and White."
Courtesy of Rule Gallery
Red @ Rule. The idea of presenting a show based on "red" dates back nearly twenty years ago, to the days when Rule Gallery was on Broadway and the late Robin Rule was the gallery director. At the time, paintings or prints with red in them were considered unsellable, and Rule was intent on proving that maxim wrong. Times have changed: Valerie Santerli and Rachel Bietz are now at the helm of Rule Gallery, there's no stigma attached to the color red. If anything, it’s red-hot. The show starts with a great pair of works by Matthew Larson that are not just red, but Valentine-heart red. They're flowing op patterns, à la Bridget Riley, one in red on white, the other in white on red. Goran Vejvoda communicates the theme by using the word “red” in a triptych of found and altered images of women. Jim Johnson's work also features words, but that's not surprising, since he’s one of the best-known text-based artists in the region. For “I Love You More,” Johnson has run charcoal and pastel across words written in cursive that resist the chalks, revealing the paper behind. Phil Bender’s signature is the use of found objects, here a red tartan boot bag and a pair of art books that combine in a wall relief. Through March 28 at Rule Gallery, 808 Santa Fe Drive, 303-800-6776, Read the full review of Red @ Rule. Check gallery for hours.

click to enlarge "In the Headlights," by Kevin Frances. - COURTESY LEON GALLERY
"In the Headlights," by Kevin Frances.
Courtesy Leon Gallery
Kevin Frances. March is the Month of Printmaking, and among the attractions is Kevin Frances: Man in the Moon, on view at Leon Gallery. This is a very unusual show, anchored by Japanese-style woodblock prints but also including an installation of miniatures, along with photos, all of which are intimately interconnected. The New York-based Frances begins by making dollhouse-scale pieces of furniture and ordinary objects, as well as small architectural elements, like doors and sections of wall, all incredibly realistic. He then sets up little vignettes that he photographs, and the resulting photos are employed as preparatory studies for the woodblock prints. The show lays out all three types of work, and by looking at them together, viewers can follow his process. The little installation elements are really neat and the photos are great, especially in the way Frances catches the artificial yet natural-looking light, but it’s the prints that are the greatest achievement. Done with multiple woodblocks, inked in different colors, they click into an almost-photographic realism at first glance, their textural and expressive qualities only visible when more closely examined. Through March 28 at Leon Gallery, 1112 17th Avenue, 303-832-1599, Read the full review of Kevin Frances: Man in the Moon. Check gallery for hours.

click to enlarge Installation view of Prints From Shark's Ink. - MICHAEL WARREN CONTEMPORARY
Installation view of Prints From Shark's Ink.
Michael Warren Contemporary
Prints From Shark’s Ink. For the last 44 years, Shark’s Ink has been producing fine-art prints by both internationally famous artists and many of the finest artists to have worked in Colorado. As its contribution to Mo’ Print/Month of Printmaking, Michael Warren Contemporary is saluting the press. The prints here represent a wide range of techniques done at Shark’s, including lithography and monotypes incorporating metal leaf, chine-collé and embossing, all showing the highest level of production values. Among the pieces by Colorado masters is “Summer Home,” a color lithograph by the late Betty Woodman. An interesting resonance occurs between this Woodman print and the print hanging next to it by Robert Kushner, done in monotype with collage; the relationship is more than coincidental, since Kushner includes fluid renderings of a Woodman ceramic bowl and pitcher. Teresa Booth Brown’s prints are other standouts: She flattens found imagery from magazines, turning them into variegated color fields, then assembles these blocks of forms and colors into constructivist patterns. Through March 28 at Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-635-6255, Read the full review of Prints From Shark's Ink. Check gallery for hours.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia