Reviewed: Eleven Art Shows to Catch This Weekend

Sandra Fettingis's "Higher Ground," part of Downshifting at RedLine, which closes this weekend.
Sandra Fettingis's "Higher Ground," part of Downshifting at RedLine, which closes this weekend.
Coburn Huff

This weekend is your last chance to catch Downshifting at RedLine, as well as Adam Milner: Desirable Objects at David B. Smith Gallery. And there are many more shows worth your while around town right now, including Calder Monumental at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Mi Tierra at the Denver Art Museum, and The Kids Were Alright, Ryan McGinley's show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Keep reading for capsule reviews of those exhibits, as well as more in the area, in the order that they're closing.

Adam Milner, “Weak Container,” ready-made and altered materials.
Adam Milner, “Weak Container,” ready-made and altered materials.
Wes Magyar

Adam Milner. At first blush, Adam Milner: Desirable Objects at David B. Smith has an elegant minimalism about it; it's a spare installation with lots of rectilinearity. But rather than being about formalism, it concerns Milner’s autobiography. It’s about his own body, as well as the body of his partner, Fred, and those of others. How Milner conveys this content is at times stomach-churning, even if the pieces themselves are not graphic. For instance, there’s “Weak Container,” an installation comprising two retail display fixtures, with a pink men’s suit on each. Perceptions of the piece change when we learn that the pink tint comes from the suits having been soaked in water tinged with the blood of Milner and Fred; the sweet if sophisticated gesture, conveying a relationship via two suits hanging together, becomes something else when blood is introduced. In addition to Desirable Objects, Milner has also curated Cabinet, a small show in the project room that apes an archive, right down to its limited hours and number of visitors allowed at one time. Extended through July 22 at David B. Smith Gallery, 1543 A Wazee Street, 303-893-4234, davidbsmithgallery.com. Read the review of Adam Milner: Desirable Objects.

"Heliocentric Distance (Cerca)," Ramon Bonilla, acrylic latex.
"Heliocentric Distance (Cerca)," Ramon Bonilla, acrylic latex.
Coburn Huff

Downshifting. Downshifting is an unbelievably ambitious group show with an unbelievably short run, staying up only through the weekend in the main galleries at RedLine. The exhibit is lousy with site-specific wall paintings but includes a range of smaller works as well. It was curated by RedLine resident Ramón Bonilla, who is also one of the thirteen participating artists (the rest are a mix of local and international artists). Bonilla was interested in highlighting the international trend of reductive art, in which some kind of less-is-more approach is employed (thus the exhibit’s title). The show comprises the expected post-minimalism and geometric patterns, as well as works with more organic sources of inspiration. The wall murals, many of which wrap around corners, are what set this show apart; among them are pieces by Xavier Eltono from France and Michael Mørk from Denmark. Denver artists Sandra Fettingis, Frank T. Martinez and Bonilla also contributed striking wall paintings. Through July 23 at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, 303-296-4448, redlineart.org. Read the full review of Downshifting.

"Severance," by Brian Napier, acrylic paint on wood.
"Severance," by Brian Napier, acrylic paint on wood.
Coburn Huff

Crooked Timber. The impressive solo Crooked Timber: Brian Napier, on view in RedLine’s community gallery, is dominated by reductive art, though it also includes some realistic paintings that are very good. Brian Napier is a Colorado artist; this show was organized by arts-advocacy group Odessa, which is described as a “nomadic collective.” The tour de force in Crooked Timber in the less-is-more category is a wall of 100 cast gypsum elements in the shape of evenly spaced, conventionalized Y-shaped twigs. These twig-inspired elements are colored in a spectrum of shades that gradually goes from hot tints on the left to cool ones on the right. The perfect counterpoint to this elegant wall is a grouping of three found-timber beams leaning against an adjacent wall that are scorched black at the top and painted fire-engine red on the bottom. Napier has taken an interesting route to his stripped-down aesthetic, having begun with forms derived from nature instead of embracing a more expected mathematical approach. Through July 28 at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, 303-296-4448, redlineart.org. Read the full review of Crooked Timber.

Audacious includes Carroll Dunham's "Shootist."
Audacious includes Carroll Dunham's "Shootist."
Denver Art Museum

Audacious. Last summer, Rebecca Hart took the rudder of the Denver Art Museum’s Modern and Contemporary department, and Audacious: Contemporary Artists Speak Out, in the main galleries on the third level of the DAM’s Hamilton Building, is her debut effort. Although Audacious is meant to showcase objects from the DAM’s permanent collection, this particular assortment has been heavily salted with pieces from the private holdings of Kent and Vicki Logan. The largesse of other important donors is included, too, but to a lesser extent. Among the standouts are several works by American artists such as Philip Guston, Robert Colescott, David Hammons, Barbara Kruger, Brian Alfred and Ben Jackel. There’s also a big European presence, especially among the YBA (Young British Artists), who are now, alas, not so young. Chinese art likewise plays a large role in Audacious, and there are even some Colorado artists included, among them Tony Ortega, Jack Balas and Viviane Le Courtois. Extended through August 6 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, denverartmuseum.org.

Stan Meyer, "Gesture" and "Sinuous."
Stan Meyer, "Gesture" and "Sinuous."
Wes Magyar

Stan Meyer. Despite Stan Meyer’s long career, which dates back to the 1970s, this solo, Stan Meyer: Poetic Presence, is not a retrospective. Rather, nearly every piece in the show was made in the past year or so — and that's downright amazing, given that they are mostly large works and there are a baker’s dozen of them. Meyer’s work is created out of roofing felt that he tints and paints, then cuts into strips, ultimately weaving the strips into monumental wall hangings with simple, symmetrical compositions that have totemic, heraldic or ceremonial character. Meyer himself points out that the inspiration for his pieces springs from Celtic art, the art of the Maori, and architectural screens and details. However, in addition to those primitive sources, the work may also be associated with the pattern movement of the ’60s through the ’80s, which was particularly vibrant around here. In fact, it could be argued that although his pieces are woven and not painted, they are part of that tradition. Meyer’s wotk is invariably magisterial, not just because of the iconic shapes he weaves, but also because of their iridescent glow. Though August 6 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org. Read the review of Stan Meyer: Poetic Presence .

Ray Tomasso, “Monsoon Warning,” cast paper and acrylic paint.
Ray Tomasso, “Monsoon Warning,” cast paper and acrylic paint.
Wes Magyar

Paper.Works. Collin Parson, curator and gallery director at the Arvada Center, took an expansive view of what constitutes art made from paper for the exhibit Paper.Works. This open-endedness could have prevented the exhibit from coming together, as nearly every drawing, print or photograph on earth would have qualified, but Parson apparently pulled himself back from that particular brink. Key to his garnering a sense of unity from such sprawling diversity was the decision to ask certain artists to create site-specific works. Among these are Lauri Lynnxe Murphy’s automatist works created by snails, Peter Yumi’s triptych of found imagery, and, of particular interest, the multi-panel bas-relief by the dean of paper artists in Colorado, Ray Tomasso. The Tomasso is a hybrid of an abstract sculpture and an abstract painting, and it’s a classic example of his signature approach. Other standouts among the paper pieces are those by Robert Brinker, Mike McClung, Jenene Nagy, Matthew Shlian, Sophia Dixon Dillo and Mike Neff. Though August 20 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org. Read the full review of Paper.Works.

Keep reading for more shows around town.



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