Balance. Rarely has Walker Fine Art come up with an exhibit as successful as Balance, which pairs recent abstract paintings by Denver artist Don Quade with abstract sculptures by Colorado Springs-based Bill Burgess. Quade was formerly at Fresh Art Gallery, but Walker picked him up when Fresh Art closed last year. His work in mixed media combines expressionism and geometric abstraction, contrasting approaches that make for pronounced juxtapositions of scribbles and hard-edged shapes. These recent paintings feature light-colored grounds with darker marks laid on top -- something of a change for Quade, who was previously known for his all-dark canvases. Burgess is among the deans of contemporary sculpture in the state, with more than forty years of making art under his belt. These most recent sculptures are based on simple, pre-historic shapes such as arcs, circles and spirals and are made of rusted or stainless steel, or both. A monumental version of one will be completed this spring in Confluence Park. Jointly designed by Burgess and architect David Barber, the sculpture will be a giant fifty-foot helix rising out of a pool. Through May 7 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, 303-355-8955.
Leaving Aztln. The Center for Visual Art in LoDo is presenting a provocative show, Leaving Aztlán: Rethinking Contemporary Latino and Chicano Art. Kaytie Johnson from the Peeler Art Center at DePauw University put it together with input from, among others, CVA director Kathy Andrews. The show examines new trends being embraced by Latino and Chicano artists -- and by Latinas and Chicanas -- and in the process explores the convoluted relationships between art and ethnicity. Ten years ago this would have been an overtly political show, but now, though politics are still in the mix, there are also many pieces that express cutting-edge aesthetic theories. Artists from across the country were selected -- including Jesse Amado, Connie Arismendi, Javier Carmona, Alex Donis, Diana Guerrero-Mácia, John Hernandez, Benito Huerta, Chuck Ramirez, Juan Ramos and Rubén Ortiz Torres -- but Johnson also chose two local talents, Carlos Frésquez and Maria Michelle Gonzalez. Through April 23 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207.
Mel Strawn. Salida-based artist Mel Strawn has a long exhibition track record in Colorado, but in recent years he's kept a low profile. That makes Mel Strawn: Retrospective: 1957-2004 a rare chance to catch up on what he's done over his long career. Strawn was educated in California in the 1950s and taught at a variety of colleges before becoming the director of what was then called the School of Art at the University of Denver in 1969; he remained at DU until 1985. Although the Sandra Phillips Gallery is hardly large enough for a real retrospective -- so it might be a stretch to call this one -- there's room enough to briefly sketch out Strawn's development over nearly a half a century. In a variety of paintings, works on paper and digital images, Strawn reveals his interest in bold compositions with emphatic divisions between the forms and colors. The players in the art world change so often that it's hard to keep up, but someone like Strawn is too interesting to be forgotten, and this show is a good way to remember his contributions to the scene. Extended through April 9 at the Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-5969.
Red, White and Black. The young artist with the epic name of Jared David Paul Anderson is a one-man art movement. Not only is he a serious painter, as he demonstrates in the Assembly gallery's Red, White and Black, but he's quite the organizer. In addition to running the Assembly, Anderson founded an artist collective whose members work in the studios above the gallery; he also manages the Annex, just around the corner, at Eighth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, where those artists show their stuff. His most recent project has been cleaning up the alley behind the two galleries and installing a "Ghetto Garden." The garden area is walled off from the alley by a massive sculpture Anderson made of doors; the installation briefly became a zoning cause célèbre when city officials determined that it is illegal to build a fence out of doors and sought to have it removed. The piece is safe now, since it was officially declared a work of art. Anderson -- who is going by the name Jared David Paul for this show -- does neo-abstract expressionist paintings on paper and board using only red on red, white on white or black on black. He has written that these paintings grew out of his interest and study of aboriginal art from Australia and traditional Chinese art, but they look like they have a lot of New York School in them, too. The show opens with a reception scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 1. Through April 30 at the Assembly, 766 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-5501.
Siqueiros. The exhibition Sigueiros: Spirit of a Revolutionary at the Museo de las Américas is evidence that the beleaguered institution -- which all but collapsed last year -- is still alive and kicking. The gorgeous exhibit, put together by Alfonso Miranda Marquez of the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, includes more than a score of works by one of the greatest Mexican artists of all time: David Alfaro Siqueiros. Using paintings, drawings and watercolors, Marquez economically surveys the artist's career from the 1910s to the 1970s. Sigueiros was one of "Los Tres Grandes" of the Mexican mural movement, and like the other two -- Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco -- he created work with one eye on vanguard styles developing in Europe, and the other on left-wing political action at home in Mexico. An interesting aspect of Siqueiros's style is that it had an influence on artists in the United States, and not just the social realists, but the abstract expressionists, as well. Through April 23 at the Museo de las Américas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-4401.
Untold Riches. Time flies, as the saying goes, but it's still hard to believe that Space Gallery is already celebrating five years in business. Its fifth-anniversary show, >Untold Riches, is currently on display; organized by Space owner Michael Burnett, the exhibit brings together Hanne Linde, Mary Cay and Ryan Anderson, each of whom work in distinctive styles. Linde is an established painter in her native Denmark and a veteran of scores of exhibits, but this outing is her Denver premiere. Her richly hued organic abstracts look right at home here and make the point that all kinds of contemporary currents are international. Cay, who lives in Denver, does conceptual ceramics, such as the gold-luster porcelain zeroes and commas on the wall. The true star of the show is Ryan Anderson, who is all but unknown, though that's likely to change, considering these pieces at Space. Anderson uses metallic automotive finishes to create utterly luxurious post-minimal paintings that are downright spectacular. Through April 9 at Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088.
Will Boys Be Boys? In her recent programming at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art, director Cydney Payton has really tried to push some buttons. Last fall the topic at hand was drug use; now, for the second half of the current season, it's the life of teenage boys, in Will Boys Be Boys? Questioning Adolescent Masculinity in Contemporary Art. Looking at art about teenage boys could make viewers uncomfortable, especially in the case of those pieces in which kids are acting like grownups by drinking, doing drugs and becoming sexual. That last part is particularly edgy, since it brings in the dark specter of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The provocative exhibit, which fills both the main floor and the mezzanine at the MCA, is a traveling show put together by Shamim Momin, an associate curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Momin selected pieces in an array of mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation and video, by such artists as Larry Clark, Collier Schorr, Chloe Piene and many others. Through April 17 at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, 1275 19th Street, 303-298-7554.
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