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.
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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Photography exhibition and Painting exhibition. The William Havu Gallery only rarely displays photos, but it has gotten into the "Month of Photography" with the prosaically titled Photography exhibition: Randy Brown, Lawrence Argent. Although a duet, Brown is given the lion's share of the space with his "Spirit of the Trees" series, which are 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 close-ups 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 acrylic 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.
PHOTO-OP. Leave it to William Biety, director of the Sandy Carson Gallery, to pull off a cogent group photography show. Of course, he's done it by giving each artist a discrete space. PHOTO-OP includes a collection of Carol Golemboski's "Psychometry" series photos in toned silver gelatin prints, which are somewhat creepy and resemble nineteenth-century photos. And the line between fantasy and whimsy is traversed by Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin's collaborative pieces. In these signature C-prints, Gerlovina is used as both a model and a prop in surrealistic scenes. The psychological work of famous Manitou Springs photographer Andrea Modica is also featured, with several untitled pieces from her "Fountain" series, which depicts the members of a rural family in Southern Colorado. Finally, there are several color digital prints by Stephen Roach, in the form of horizontal montages of a young female model, as well as nature-based images by Frank Hunter and oddball landscapes by Jeff Hersch. It's a dynamite show. Through October 16 at the Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585. Reviewed on September 30.
Vapor. Vapor, at Walker Fine Art, never really gets off the ground as a group show, combining as it does the work of two disparate Colorado photographers, L. L. Griffin and jsun Van Tatenhove, and Montana sculptor Brian Scott. Griffin lives in Denver, and her pieces have been published nationally. She's done a wide variety of work, with her latest efforts focusing on clouds, a seemingly inexhaustible source of artistic inspiration. Using various non-photographic materials in her printing, Griffin does otherworldly pieces on canvas, watercolor paper and, best of all, unstretched silk panels that hang from the ceiling. Van Tatenhove's pieces are hardly ethereal, and his jarring juxtaposition of ordinary images in loud colors is very confrontational. The paired images are somewhat narrative, but it's very hard to figure out exactly what Van Tatenhove is saying. Scott's flat stele sculptures are made of fabricated and cast aluminum with panels of heavy slag glass. The works of Griffin, Van Tatenhove and Scott are interesting individually, but not as a group. Through November 6 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, 303-355-8955. Reviewed on September 30.
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.