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.
Chihuly. Michael De Marsche, president of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, has orchestrated the extravaganza Chihuly, a sprawling survey of the career of glass master Dale Chihuly. Working near Seattle, Chihuly is among the best-known glass artists of all time, right up there with Louis Comfort Tiffany and Paolo Venini. De Marsche, following the formula he's established in other exhibits over the past couple of years, set Chihuly within the context of the CSFAC's spectacular Southwestern and American Indian collections. And then there's the incomparable setting of the iconic John Gaw Meem-designed building itself. Chihuly's illustrious career is surveyed beginning with the oldest pieces, from his very first generation of vases done in the 1970s to some brand-new, hot-from-the-furnaces chandeliers and towers. During those thirty years, his work became increasingly expressionistic, a product of his awareness of the Venetian aesthetic. The show is installed throughout the center, and there are even examples displayed outdoors in the courtyard. Through August 14 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.
Contemporary Realism and Americana. It's amazing that in the current art world, where it seems like everyone is searching for the next outrageous irony, good old-fashioned representational painters are still going strong. Come to think of it, that's an irony in itself, though no surprise; this kind of thing is so very viewer-friendly. The exhibit, Contemporary Realism, installed on the William Havu Gallery's first floor, is a trio featuring new landscapes by Rick Dula, Aaron Brown and Jeff Aeling. Dula is interested in what he calls "de-industrialization," and he conjures up romantic views of closed and dilapidated factories. Brown creates enigmatic narrative paintings that may or may not be based on actual places. Aeling's paintings of clouds and fields, on the other hand, are clearly based on actual locales on the Great Plains. In addition to the main attraction, Havu is presenting a group show on the theme of the cultural landscape. The show on the mezzanine, aptly titled Americana, includes depictions of roadside attractions by artists from the gallery's stable. Through May 7 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360.
John Edward Thompson. In 1919, post-impressionist painter John Edward Thompson introduced Denver to modern art in a controversial solo that inspired some to label the show a "monstrosity." Thompson moved to Denver only a few years before he set the town on its ear. How times have changed. Today, most would describe Thompson's creamy landscapes and portraits as being downright pretty, as is revealed by the exhibit John Edward Thompson: Colorado's First Modernist installed in the small Western History/Genealogy Gallery on the fifth floor of the Denver Public Library. The exhibit includes several paintings from the original 1919 show as well as many never-before-exhibited works by Thompson. The Thompsons have been supplemented with pieces by his contemporaries and students, such as Vance Kirkland, Jozef Bakos and Frank Vavra. The show was organized by guest curator Deborah Wadsworth, a longtime collector of Thompson's work and a member of the recently created Art Advisory Committee, which supports exhibitions on Colorado art history at the DPL. Through May 20 at the Denver Public Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-1821. Reviewed April 14.
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. Through April 30 at the Assembly, 766 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-5501.
Siqueiros. The exhibition Siqueiros: 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. Siqueiros 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. Extended through May 28 at the Museo de las Américas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-4401. Reviewed March 10.
Spring Exhibition Cycle 2005. Let it never be said that the new pair running the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art -- artistic director Brandi Mathis and co-executive director Joan Markowitz -- have gotten carried away with exhibition titles. Take, for example, the quartet of shows there now, which is spartanly called Spring Exhibition Cycle 2005. The large West Gallery is split between installation artist Kim Turos and digital sculptor Jen Lewin. Turos uses found debris, such as chunks of paving, along with sculpted objects to express a dialogue between nature and urbanization. Lewin, using computers and LEDs, creates pieces activated by the viewers' movement through the gallery. In the more intimate East Gallery, well-known artist John Buck is the subject of a show that combines his abstract sculptures based on human torsos with related prints that were pulled from Shark's Inc. in Lyons. Finally, upstairs in the Union Works Gallery are Kristin Imig's candid street photographs that were taken in various spots around the world and combine portraiture with documentation. Through June 11 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street, Boulder, 303-443-2122.
Stefan Kleinschuster and Ann Hamilton. Surely Stefan Kleinschuster is one of the most gifted young representational painters active in Colorado. Kleinschuster's style is fairly unique, being related to both abstract expressionism and its polar opposite, contemporary realism. As unlikely as the combination is, it's thoroughly successful. The blending of the approaches means that from a distance, there's a sense of photographic accuracy in Kleinschuster's depictions of figures, while up close they're extremely abstract, a riot of marks, smears and slashes. Robischon Gallery has paired a Kleinschuster solo with photos from internationally famous conceptual artist Ann Hamilton's "Face" series of portraits. For these photos, Hamilton used her own open mouth as an aperture for pinhole exposures -- no, really. That's pretty zany, but the pieces are even stranger, because Hamilton believes that the act of confronting her subjects with her mouth open is a significant aspect of this work. A reception is planned for Friday, April 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. Through June 4 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7799.
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