cadence. Here's a delicious irony: Many artists who explore the "cutting edge" are in their fifties, sixties and even seventies, while many of the twenty-somethings are into traditional art. Go figure. This youthful interest in traditional art is demonstrated in cadence, at the Space Gallery. The important show begins with Wes Magyar's idiosyncratic paintings of the figure, which have a lot of narrative content. One depicts two nude men sitting on a bed while one sews himself to the other. Opposite is a group of remarkable paintings by Lui Ferreyra that picture sleeping people. His style recalls paint-by-number paintings, but that wasn't Ferreyra's intention; he simply wanted to reduce the figures into abstract shapes. Finally, there's Lucong, a rising star in town who put this show together. Looking at his expertly done pieces, it's hard to believe that the artist is self-taught -- and even harder to fathom that he's only been painting for the past couple of years! Through July 13 at the Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088. Reviewed on June 24.
Dale Chisman: New Paintings. With Dale Chisman: New Paintings at the Rule Gallery, Denver abstractionist Dale Chisman has done it again: He's come up with a fresh batch of sophisticated works of art, as he always does. Chisman is, of course, the dean of the city's modernist painters. His artistic career stretches back to the 1960s, when he was in college. It's been two years since he's shown his work in town, but given the strength of this eponymous solo, it was definitely worth the wait. In this group of recent paintings, Chisman has clearly changed his style. But as radical as they appear, they still bear a relationship to his classic work of the '80s and '90s. Like those, these latest paintings feature compositions of shapes that are roughly geometric and have been laid over colored grounds. And though he's long used automatist lines applied instinctually to fill out his pictures, in these current pieces, the lines have become dense webs of paint that all but obscure the arrangement of forms underneath. With these thoroughly original paintings that look completely new, good old Chisman has been rejuvenated. Extended through July 3 at Rule Gallery, 111 Broadway, 303-777-9473. Reviewed June 3
Dots, Blobs and Angels. Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting an enormous solo that is dedicated to the late David Rigsby, an artist who played a big part in the local art scene in the '70s and '80s. The exhibit was organized by director Cydney Payton, who installed it more or less chronologically, allowing Rigsby's stylistic development to shine throughout. The oldest works in the show are two oils on book covers done when Rigsby was a little boy; the newest were done right before he died in a car accident in 1993 -- some of these were done on book covers, too. In between, Rigsby created scores of abstract and figural paintings, as well as a body of remarkable sculptures made of wood and recycled rubber. The outlandish title, Dots, Blobs and Angels, refers to some of the things Rigsby depicted -- though much of what he sculptured during his forty-year-plus career defies description. Clearly, it's one of the hottest shows of the summer. Through September 19 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554.
Painting a New World. There are no famous artists in the Denver Art Museum's current blockbuster, but even without that kind of draw, it really shouldn't be missed. Donna Pierce, the museum's curator of Spanish Colonial art, organized it in-house, which means that it's a rare bird -- a traveling show that's actually departing from Denver instead of arriving here. The local origin is reason enough to check it out, but there are fifty other reasons, too: the magnificent paintings. Pierce started working on the project in 1999, when she was hired. Many of the pieces are from the collection of Jan and Fred Mayer, longtime museum donors, but Pierce not only hunted for things here in town, she also searched for them in the museums and private collections of Mexico and Europe. Many of the works on display are the kind we'd expect -- Spanish baroque religious paintings -- but others are completely unexpected, such as two unforgettable paintings carried out in feathers, an art form associated with the Aztecs. Through July 25 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. Reviewed April 29.
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Repeat Offenders. The summer extravaganza at the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture is Repeat Offenders: Serial Works by Colorado Artists. This large, over-the-top exhibit was put together by Simon Zalkind, Singer's highly regarded director and curator. The idea for the show -- work that has repeated or related imagery -- is fairly open ended since nearly all artists work in series. That means that nearly anyone could have been eligible -- which is probably why he crammed in pieces by more than two dozen artists. For the show, Zalkind selected paintings, prints and photographs by some of the best-known talents in the area, including, among a host of others, Stephen Batura, Roland Bernier, Clare Cornell, Sushe Felix, Susan Goldstein, Karen Kitchel, Bethany Kriegsman, Jerry Kunkel, Andrea Modica, Jeff Star and Eric Zimmer. In addition, Zalkind put in work by a smattering of youngsters just out of the gate. The kids hold up surprisingly well in the heady company, especially emerging photographer Jason Patz. Through August 22 at the Singer Gallery, Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-399-2660. Reviewed June 24.
scene Colorado/sin Colorado. The Denver Art Museum's local extravaganza, scene Colorado/sin Colorado, has quickly become one of the most talked-about shows this year. And that's no surprise considering that it includes more than three dozen Colorado artists represented by more than seventy works of art. Dianne Vanderlip, curator of modern and contemporary art, organized the exhibit, pulling work from the impressive holdings of the DAM's permanent collection. A couple of the artists included no longer live here -- notably Gary Sweeney, whose piece inspired the show's title, and "genius grant" recipient Robert Adams -- but their works in this show were created when they did. Vanderlip decided to exclude deceased Colorado artists -- and that's too bad. However, even with this limitation, she's undeniably assembled a worthy cavalcade of talent. The pieces date back over the past quarter century, which is the period during which Vanderlip has held the modern and contemporary reins at the DAM. Though far from encyclopedic, the show does cover a lot of ground. Through August 22 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. Reviewed June 17.
State of the Union and The Sociable Anchorite. Earlier this season, Cordell Taylor Gallery and Ron Judish Fine Art merged into the new +Zeile/Judish Gallery, which meant that some of the artists represented by each gallery would have to go. They put the artists into three categories: represented, exhibiting, and those who were unceremoniously shown the door. The first category --artists represented by the gallery -- is the subject of the great group show State of the Union. Most of the artists chosen are thoroughly established figures, including realist John Hull, abstract expressionist Al Wynne, minimalist Paul Sarkisian and post-minimalist Bruce Price. But there are also a handful of emerging artists, such as Colin Livingston and Karen McClanahan. The result is wild, requiring aesthetic gear changes every few feet. In addition to State of the Union, +Zeile/Judish is presenting a small solo, The Sociable Anchorite, for which Oregon artist Gabriel Liston created a wall of tiny paintings of storybook figures. They're done in blue on white, which makes them look like Delft tiles. Through July 3 at +Zeile/Judish, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927. Reviewed June 17.
20th Anniversary Show -- Tony Ortega and Michael Brangoccio. In 1984, William Havu began art-business relationships with two painters, Tony Ortega and Michael Brangoccio, and all these years later, he still handles their work. To celebrate, he's put together the 20th Anniversary Show -- Tony Ortega and Michael Brangoccio at his eponymous gallery. The Ortegas, some of which are monumental, are signature examples of his style, but there are also some new elements. Using figural abstraction, Ortega conjures up the Latino community, both here and throughout the Americas, and in some, he incorporates found imagery. Brangoccio is a surrealist, assembling highly realistic renderings of animals -- especially birds that are caught in unlikely or even impossible situations. In addition to the Ortega/Brangoccio duet on the main floor, there's a solo, Michael Burrows. This artist's specialty is hyperrealism, and he creates photographically accurate landscapes using only graphite and paper. He also does equally detailed paintings in psychedelic colors. Through July 17 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360.