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.
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. Through September 25 at the Emil Nelson Gallery, 1307 Bannock Street, 303-534-0996.
Howard Bond. Classic landscape images by an internationally known American photographer is the topic of a self-titled solo, Howard Bond: Portfolio Sampler, at Camera Obscura Gallery. Bond, who lives in Michigan, has been a serious photographer since the 1940s, and he's known both for the masterful quality of his printing and for his use of large-format cameras. Gallery director Hal Gould has called Bond "a modern-day Ansel Adams," and it's obvious why when viewing these magnificent compositions in meticulously done prints. The show features the entire "Portfolio XXI: Alps," which is made up of ten separate images depicting the dramatic scenery of Europe's famous mountain range. It's amazing that a man in his seventies, which Bond is, could lug that huge camera up the mountainsides -- but the photos prove he did. Not only that, but he dragged the contraption around the world: The exhibit also features individual photos from other Bond suites, including "Sandstone Country," "Ten Cathedrals" and "The Bristlecone Pine." Through September 12 at Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock Street, 303-623-4059.
Open Press LTD. Nineteen eighty-eight was a bad year for the economy in Denver, but no one told the artists, so lots of things were happening in the art world. It was the year that one of the city's cultural treasures, Open Press, was founded. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the fine-print facility, which has specialized in working with local artists, the Gallery of Contemporary Art on the campus of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is putting on Open Press LTD. A 15-Year Retrospective. GCA director Gerry Riggs selected the pieces, but he got considerable input from Mark Lunning, founder and master printer of Open Press. Riggs and Lunning included thirty artists; surprisingly, each is sampled in depth rather than having only a piece or two in the show. The roster reads like a who's who of Denver art of the recent past: Lynn Heitler, Doris Laughton, Homare Ikeda, Reed Weimer, Joe Higgins, Dave Yust, Joellyn Duesberry, Dale Chisman, Tony Ortega, Dismas Rotta and Viviane Le Courtois. It's an interesting and diverse lineup. Through October 1 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway on the UCCS campus, Colorado Springs, 1-719-262-3567.
SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES. The Colorado Photographic Arts Center is hosting a memorial show, SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES: photographs by Ronald W. Wohlauer, that was curated by John Grant, whose day job is with the Mayor's Office of Art, Culture and Film. Wohlauer, who died earlier this year, was a giant among local photographers, as well as being a highly regarded photographic educator. His work was in the tradition of the West Coast masters such as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who have their work professionally processed, Wohlauer did it the old-fashioned way -- all by himself in the darkroom, of which he was an acknowledged master. The CPAC exhibit focuses on work from the 1990s that appeared in a book titled SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES, which was published only days after his untimely death. The photos concern four of Wohlauer's favorite subjects: the British Isles, the Mountain West, the West Coast and his Denver studio. An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, September 2, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Through October 9 at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1513 Boulder Street, 303-455-8999.
William T. Wiley. The fall opener at the Center for Visual Art in LoDo is William T. Wiley: 60 Works for 60 Years. The exhibit was organized by Wiley himself, who selected sixty prints from the collection of the Belger Arts Center in Kansas City to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. Obviously the show's been kicking around for a while, because Wiley's actually close to seventy (he turned sixty in 1997). Wiley came of artistic age in the early 1960s and was part of a generation of San Francisco-area artists who embraced what is today called "funk," an offshoot of pop art. He almost immediately found fame, and his pieces were acquired by many American museums over the years, including the Denver Art Museum, which owns, among other things, a major installation. Like the rest of that Bay Area crowd, many of whom also got famous, Wiley combined an array of seemingly contradictory influences, including expressionism, figural abstraction, pop and conceptualism. His work, which has greatly influenced younger artists, is almost always clever -- and sometimes even downright funny, as revealed by this very large show. Through October 16 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207.
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