Ansel Adams Edwin Land and Persistence of Myth and Tragedy. At the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, two legendary figures from the history of photography have been brought together in Ansel Adams Edwin Land: Art, Science, and Invention: Photographs From the Polaroid Collection. In the '60s, Adams was invited by Land, the inventor of instant-film cameras -- the Polaroid -- to try out the company's ever-changing technologies. This show highlights those pieces. Also now at the center is The Persistence of Myth and Tragedy in Twentieth Century Mexican Art, featuring pieces from the collection of Robert B. Ekelund Jr. The exhibit, done in collaboration with the Jule Collins Smith Museum at Auburn University, includes all the big names, such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and over a dozen more. In addition, Pre-Columbian art and Mexican folk art are used to complement this modernist collection. Art, Science, and Invention is open through October 24, and Myth and Tragedy stays up through November 21, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.
Far Afield, et al. The Robischon Gallery is one of many area venues participating in the so-called Month of Photography, which is being held in conjunction with the Southwestern Regional Conference of the Society for Photographic Education, in town October 15 through 17. For its part of the festivities, Robischon is hosting a trio of intriguing exhibits -- FAR AFIELD, AWAY OUT OVER EVERYTHING and CONFIGURATION. The interrelated shows all concern the idea of place. FAR AFIELD is a large group effort and features the work of Edward Burtynsky, Guido Guidi, Ray Metzker, Richard Pare, Laura McPhee, Virginia Beahan, Kahn & Selesnick, Gary Emrich, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen and George Woodman. Thorne-Thomsen and Woodman are both former Colorado art professors who were a great influence on their students. AWAY OUT OVER EVERYTHING is a solo dedicated to photos of the Northwest by Mary Peck, while CONFIGURATION includes additional pieces by Woodman and others by Eric Schwartz, Owen O'Meara and Janieta Eyre. All through October 30 at the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788.
Group Show 2. Though the crew at Studio Aiello is not using the word "biennial" for this juried show, that's exactly what it is: Group Show 1 was presented exactly two years ago. Among the large panel of jurors for that first effort, which also marked the venue's grand opening, was Kathy Andrews, the well-known director of the Center for Visual Art. This time Andrews was tapped to go it alone. Out of the hundreds who applied for Group Show 2, she selected thirty. The resulting display is massive, filling several of the enormous gallery's many spaces. Nearly all of the chosen hail from the greater Denver area. Interestingly, there are several artists who've been exhibiting around town for years but do not typically go in for juried shows. Among these established talents are Mark Brasuell, Jerry De La Cruz, Peter Illig, Wendi Harford, Tsehai Johnson and Irene Delka McCray. More expected in an exhibit such as this one are emerging artists like Morgan Barnes, Agnes Kunz Vigil and Justin Simoni. Finally, there's the work of nearly two dozen others who have varying degrees of art experience. Through October 15 at Studio Aiello, 3656 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166. Reviewed September 23.
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Manifesto Abstractos. Ibsen Espada, a Houston-based artist originally from Puerto Rico, and Denver's own Frank T. Martinez have been paired at the + Gallery for Manifesto Abstractos because gallery director Gilbert Barrera believes they both create what could be called Hispanic-flavored abstractions. Both artists have been inspired by their shared Hispanic heritage, language (Spanish) and religion (Roman Catholic), and they both embrace culturally specific factors, such as imagery and color. Espada studied art in his native Puerto Rico and in Cuba. Though earlier known for his heavy, black brushwork, his more recent pieces, such as those at +, are made with a squeegee. He uses the window-washer's tool to "draw" ovals and oblong shapes. Martinez is self-taught, and though he has been an artist since childhood, this exhibit marks his first formal outing in the art world. In his paintings, Martinez incorporates small shapes such as circles and squares into his otherwise abstract and expressively painted compositions. Through October 10 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927. Reviewed September 23.
MUSCOVITES. Simon Zalkind, director of the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, has a longstanding interest in photography and in Russia, which makes the fall opener, MUSCOVITES: Ilya Ilf and Mark Markov-Grinberg: Photographs 1930-1940, a natural for him. The exhibit pairs photos by Ilya Ilf, a Soviet journalist, with those by Mark Markov-Grinberg, a Soviet photojournalist. The notable artists worked during the Stalin era, when many Jews embraced communism. It was prescient, considering what was to happen. Both men, though part of the official press, felt the need to change their names so they would sound less Jewish. The exhibit juxtaposes everyday views of life by Ilf with Markov-Grinberg's shots, which record historic events of the time. The exhibit is a collaborative effort of the Mizel and the University of Denver's Center for Judaic Studies, with center director David Shneer having played a major role in facilitating the show. Noted collectors Paul and Teresa Harbaugh were also involved. Through November 4 at the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-316-6360.
Photography exhibition and Painting exhibition. The William Havu Gallery rarely displays photos, but it has gotten into the "Month of Photography" with the prosaically titled Photography exhibition: Randy Brown, Lawrence Argent. Although the show's a duet, Brown is given the lion's share of the space with his "Spirit of the Trees" series of signature self-portraits and his more recent "Entrance/En-trance" series, which are also self-portraits. The Argent photos, in heavy plastic frames that lend the works a sculptural feeling, are closeups of pacifier nipples in green and amber. The other show, Painting exhibition: Julia Rymer and Kate Thompson, features the work of two young artists who have been associated with the gallery as employees. Rymer uses pastel colors to establish a brushy color-field background, on top of which she scribbles organic shapes. Thompson uses acrylics applied with construction knives to put one color over another, creating hard-edged smears that are arranged in loosely organized patterns. Through October 16 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360. Reviewed September 30.