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. 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. And 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.
Federico Castellon. Hugo Anderson, director of the Emil Nelson Gallery, has put together a riveting solo show devoted to the work of a prominent twentieth-century artist. Castellon was one of the few Americans who embraced European surrealism and worked in the style from the early 1930s -- when it was cutting-edge -- until 1971, the year he died, when it was an all but forgotten historical style. Castellon was born in Spain, but he moved to New York as a child and spent the rest of his life there. Though Castellon had no direct personal connection to surrealist masters such as Picasso, Miró or Dalí, who, incidentally, were also born in Spain, his work was influenced by them. This noteworthy show came together when Anderson acquired a cache of Castellons purchased directly from the collection of the artist's estate. The crowded exhibit includes examples of Castellon's paintings, watercolors, drawings and printmaking -- his greatest claim to art-history fame. A reception at the gallery is planned for 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 6. Through September 25 at the Emil Nelson Gallery, 1307 Bannock Street, 303-534-0996.
FIBERish. Dozens of fiber shows were coordinated this summer to coincide with the Handweavers Guild of America meeting that was held here in July. Surely one of the most ambitious of these is the over-the-top FIBERish: Summer Fiber Arts Invitational, which is ensconced in the spacious Studio Aiello. The impressive exhibit explores the intersection of textiles and sculpture, meaning the works on display are hybrids of the two forms. The show, which leans heavily on what could be called a neo-funk aesthetic, was organized by gallery co-directors Tyler Aiello, who is himself a fiber artist, and his wife Monica Petty Aiello, a painter. The Aiellos invited more than a dozen artists to participate. Most of those chosen live in Colorado, and the roster of local talent includes Rokko Aoyama, Viviane Le Courtois, Kim Ferrer, Tracy Krumm, Mary Pat La Mair, Abraham LaMark, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, Dismas Rotta and Laurie Smith, most of whom are not known for their fibers. Others are from across the country, like New Yorker Liz Whitney Quisgard, Californian Edie Tsong and Cero Atl of Kansas. A reception is set for Friday, August 6, from 6 to 10 p.m. Through August 13 at Studio Aiello, 3563 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166.
LIFE ON EARTH and children's games. Pirate has been on quite a run lately, with more good shows presented there in just the last few months than there have been during entire years previously. Add LIFE ON EARTH to the list of these top-drawer attractions at Pirate. This impressive solo by co-op member Peter Illig is on display in the main space. The highlight is the unveiling of the artist's monumental "Deep Reality" drawing which, by the way, is 64-feet long! Illig is known for his noir-ish representational imagery, and "Deep Reality" doesn't disappoint in this regard; it features a large complement of enigmatic figures and objects arranged in free association. In the Associates' Space in the back is another great show, children's games, which is made up of Taos-based artist Warren Kelly's latest neo-transcendental abstract paintings. Clearly an outgrowth of his "Loop" series, exhibited last winter at Cordell Taylor, but these new paintings are obviously different, too. They are more baroquely composed and more wildly colored than are the earlier pieces. Through August 1 at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis, 3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058.
Ordinary Adornments and Mr. Sparkle. The +Zeile Judish Gallery is highlighting the recent work of a pair of young artists. In the front is Ordinary Adornments, which is made up of New York artist William Crow's wall-mounted constructions that look like surrealist still-life scenes, among other things. The shapes are organic, but the surfaces are a riot of created and appropriated visual flourishes carried out via various materials, including paint and wallpaper. Crow's compositions have a retro feel, and the forms he uses recall those favored by Jean Arp and Joan Miró. The show in the back, Mr Sparkle, takes it's name from a Simpsons cartoon, and also reflects back on earlier modernism -- but in this case it's Andy Warhol and Kenneth Noland. Denver-area painter Colin Livingston creates smart and good-looking paintings that aesthetically are at the intersection of pop and minimalism. Livingston adds text to essentially hard-edged abstractions of the neo-minimalist sort. A pattern painting in green, black and white has the motto "The Original (Party Painting)" filling most of the bottom half. They are clever and conventionally beautiful at the same time. Through August 21 at +Zeile Judish, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927. Reviewed July 29.
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. 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. 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, 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. 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 sculptures. Flynn incorporates bent metal wire into his pieces, which recall abstract surrealism from the 1930s. Lemke is more pointed in her narrative because she marks 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.
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