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. Reviewed July 8.
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. Reviewed July 15.
Poetry and Stone. Cab Childress, architect emeritus at the University of Denver, has been contributing to Colorado's and neighboring states' built environments for the past fifty years. Poetry and Stone: Cab Childress Architect at DU's Victoria H. Myhren Gallery surveys his impressive career with drawings, photos, models and other artifacts that illustrate his unique vision. In the late 1950s, when Childress was right out of architecture school, he was a modernist. Gradually, as early as the '70s, he came to embrace post-modernism. His best-known works are those on the DU campus, making it the perfect setting for this handsome retrospective. Childress designed many of the buildings constructed at the school during the last ten years or so, either alone or in concert with other firms. These include the controversial Daniel L. Ritchie Sports and Wellness Center, as well as Olin Hall, Daniels College of Business and the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. Together, they have completely remade the look of the campus. Through August 27 at the Victoria H. Myhren Gallery, Swayed Art Building, 2121 East Asbury Avenue, 303-871-2846.
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.
Truth, Tales and Other Lies. The current duet at the Edge Gallery, Truth, Tales and Other Lies, pairs up work by Tim Flynn and Gayla Lemke. Both Flynn and Lemke are established artists who have exhibited around the area for years. Flynn is well known for his delicate, constructed sculptures, and Lemke for her ceramics ones. Flynn incorporates bent metal wire into his pieces, which recall abstract surrealism from the 1930s. The completely abstract arte povera-style Flynn constructions are very elegant despite the lowly wire and found materials from which they're made. The pieces are completely abstract and don't seem to have any narrative content, except in their titles, such as the one called "Mightier Than the Sword." Lemke is more pointed in her narrative, marking her ceramics with words that clearly convey her sentiments. In "Hope Stones," Lemke covered small, ceramic shapes with quotes questioning the value of war. The forms are evocative of natural stones, but the words are crisp and mechanical, having been made with typeset letters pushed into the clay when it was wet. Both through August 8 at the Edge Gallery, 3658 Navajo Street, 303-838-8571.
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, and there's plenty of crazy stuff being shown -- in particular, 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.
Woven in Wondrous Ways. The show at the Sandy Carson Gallery is ostensibly a holdover from the Handweavers Guild of America conference that was in town a few weeks ago. Despite the tie-in with HGA, however, Woven in Wondrous Ways is not a textile show. Instead, it features art glass, installation and works on paper. The glass, which is furnace-worked though not blown, is by Polish-born artist Anna Skibska, who divides her time between Europe and the United States. Skibska creates her pieces out of skeins of pulled molten glass that are stretched so thin it's unnerving. The marvelous installations were done by Albuquerque artist John Garrett and are made of various materials, including bedsprings and electrical cords. Finally, there are the cubistic compositions made from cut-up digitized photos by Texas artist Rusty Scruby. The combination of the three widely different art forms makes for a clever response to textiles and the concept of weaving, especially since none of the artists use cloth, thread or any other fiber. Through July 31 at the Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585.
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