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.
Emerson Woelffer, et al. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has a rich assortment of attractions this summer. An Exhibition by Dale Chihuly showcases the artist's '70s-era glass work, which was inspired by American Indian art. One of his chandeliers has been installed in the lobby, and the solo also features the "Navajo Blanket Cylinder" series, which is cleverly paired with a show devoted to actual Navajo weavings. The CSFAC is also sampling its permanent collection with two gorgeous exhibits: Realism and Illusion and Art for Art's Sake. The former is filled with representational art, the later with abstraction. Don't miss the newly acquired Paul Cadmus or the many old favorites that have long languished in storage, especially that Richard Diebenkorn. If all this weren't enough, there's also the spectacular retrospective Emerson Woelffer: Life in the Abstract. Woelffer was a Los Angeles artist who was a key player in the Colorado modernist scene in the 1950s, when he was director of the now-defunct-though-then-famous art school at the FAC. All shows through August 15 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.
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.
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.
Telling Fantasies and Manor House Races. Interest in figural painter Irene Delka McCray's work has been on the upswing lately, making her new Pirate solo, Telling Fantasies, a hot prospect. There's no denying McCray's technical skill, which is one reason why she has work in the Denver Art Museum collection. Her older pieces -- like the one at the DAM -- are lyrical, but in recent years she's moved more toward a goth aesthetic. These new works address sex and death, and the resulting paintings are not pretty -- but they are pretty interesting. Also at Pirate is Manor House Races, featuring work by Julie Puma, who creates mixed-media pieces that combine photo imagery, printmaking, words and lots of scribbles. Her style owes a debt to pop art, which is all the rage right now. In addition, there are other attractions at the Pirate co-op and at HazMat, which is the new name for ILK @ Pirate. All of the shows open on Friday, June 25, with a reception set for 7 to 10 p.m. Through July 11 at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis, 3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058.
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.
25th Anniversary Show. The Spark Gallery -- named for painter Margaret Neumann's pet dog, Sparky -- is the city's oldest co-op, pre-dating Pirate by a few months in 1979. Over the years, there have been some up times and some down ones, but Spark could always be counted on for experimental art. The 25th Anniversary Show is an all-members cavalcade, with plenty of crazy stuff being shown. And there's the unveiling of the gallery's new showroom in the old Fresh Art space, which Spark shares with Core, another of the old-time co-ops. Many of Spark's members are established artists, several of whom have built their reputations chiefly through their solos at the gallery. Among those participating in the show are the usual suspects, including Catherine Carilli, Susanna Cavalletti, Madeleine Dodge, Angela Larson, John Matlack, Jennifer Parisi, Jean Schiff, Annalee Schorr, Barbara Shark, Sue Simon, Barbara Carpenter, Elaine Ricklin, Patricia Aaron and Judith Cohn. Last but not least is brand-new celebrity member Roland Bernier. A reception is slated for Friday, July 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. Through July 31 at the Spark Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive, 303-455-4435.
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