It seems like every place in the city's art world has gotten into Month of Photography this year. And Metropolitan State University of Denver's Center for Visual Art has gone beyond, mounting two exhibits — plus a chaser — on the theme.
The first show, Semblance, was organized by Metro assistant professor Tomiko Jones with CVA creative director Cecily Cullen. The pair chose works about ceremony, process and the imagination; the connection among the artists involved is a shared interest in creating non-whimsical versions of fantasy.
In the front are works by the famous twosome of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, who take on the big issues of life and death in large color prints. Another standout, this one in the back, is the set of large prints depicting tiny landscapes that have a convincingly real atmospheric character. Both the photos and the miniature scenes in them were done by artist Kim Keever. Opposite the Keevers is an installation titled "Memory's Theater," by Laura Shill (detail pictured). In it, a black Roman shade, hanging lamps and a quartet of suspended framed ambrotypes depicting performances are brought together. This orchestration of elements results in a strikingly elegant experience, and though there were a number of interesting pieces in Semblance, this was my clear favorite. Rounding out the artists featured in the show are Janaina Tschäpe, Neil Chowdhury and Sama Alshaibi.
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The second exhibit, Guised, is dedicated exclusively to video and was put together by Semblance participant Alshaibi, who selected pieces by various artists interested in enigmatic narratives conveyed on wall-mounted monitors. Hala Ali, Coriana Close, Jovan Erfan, Ninar Esper, Larissa Sansour, Gary Setzer and Lantia Xie are all represented by pieces that are making their American debuts in this show.
Finally, there's a good-looking Metro student show, with pieces by Chancey Bush, Blair Douglas, Evan Lee Miller, Holly Mills, Carolyn Nicholson and Kelsey Sailsbery. I'm going to stick my neck out here and point out that the students – whose works are crowded into a back corridor – have done every bit as well with their art as the pros up front.
Semblance, Guised and the student show at the CVA (965 Santa Fe Drive, 303-294-5207, metrostatecva.org) all run through April 13.