Alden Mason, Kimberlee Sullivan and Lorey Hobbs. The changing of the seasons from spring to summer is what inspired William Biety, director of the Sandy Carson Gallery, to put together three solos, each comprising nature-based abstractions. Alden Mason marks the debut of the Washington artist, who is represented in this show by neo-expressionist watercolors that are densely populated by cartoonish depictions of people, animals and plants. Mason, who is in his late eighties, is a well-known artist in the Northwest, where his work appears in the collections of many museums. Kimberlee Sullivan features paintings inspired by microscopic views of natural things. The Denver artist's small abstracts are painted mostly green, a detail that heightens the naturalistic reference. Finally, there is Lorey Hobbs, a show made up of this Denver artist's recent neo-abstract-expressionist canvases. It's hard to believe, looking at these boldly colored and powerfully painted works, that Hobbs actually begins with sketches of the countryside. Through July 6 at the Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585. Reviewed June 9.
Blueprint. For the past several years, sculptor Bryan Andrews has been attempting to reconcile the folk-art aesthetic he came to love during his childhood in the Ozarks with his interest in contemporary art, a sensibility he's nurtured since moving to Denver as a young man in the 1990s. Toward this end, over the past several years Andrews has created several series of mostly vertically oriented pieces that seem simultaneously primitive and modern -- sort of like the artist himself. He calls these sculptures "Fetems," a homemade contraction of "Fetish" and "Totem." The latest "Fetems" can be found in Blueprint, his current solo show at Artyard, where it all began for Andrews and where he's only recently returned after several years displaying elsewhere. These new "Fetems" are a continuation of his earlier concerns but with an added twist, such as the use of figural and representational imagery in otherwise abstract compositions. One thing that's remained the same is Andrews's taste for a distinctive shade of blue, which symbolizes his deceased grandfather's eyes and, by extension, his own. Though July 9 at Artyard Contemporary Sculpture, 1251 South Pearl Street, 303-777-3219.
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 has 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. Reviewed June 23.
Five Presses: Selected Works, et al. The enormous Lower Gallery at the Arvada Center have been given over to a massive print show, Five Presses. The show's title refers to the five presses from which curator Jerry Gilmore has selected the 75 prints he's included in this impressive exhibit. The presses include two famous ones located right here in Colorado -- Anderson Ranch and Shark's INK -- as well as New Mexico's Hand Graphics, Segura Publishing Company from Arizona and White Wings Press of Illinois. Among the artists who are represented are Terry Allen, Vernon Fisher, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Emilio Lobato, David Barbero, Robert Colescott, Emmi Whitehorse, Enrique Chagoya, James Turrell, Carrie Mae Weems and Betty Woodman. In the Upper Gallery is Donald Quade: Journal, a big solo filled with abstracts by this up-and-coming Denver painter. In the theater lobby is the more intimate Chuck McCoy: New Works on Paper, made up of abstracts on paper. Donald Quade and Chuck McCoy run through August 21; Five Presses through August 28 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200.
Japanese Design Today 100. This exhibit, which features an examination of contemporary Japanese design, is likely to be the last of the big shows at Metro State's Center for Visual Art. That's because the budget's been drastically cut and director Kathy Andrews is leaving as a result. Poignantly, the show opens June 30, Andrews's last day. But she intends to be at the reception being held from 7 to 9 p.m., keeping a stiff upper lip while bidding a farewell to her supporters and to the institution. Although Andrews installed the design exhibit, the Japan Foundation organized it with selections made by a panel of Japanese curators and designers. A lot of their choices are high-tech gadgets, including digital cameras, game stations and even a robotic dog, but there are also low-tech articles, such as vases and toys. One of the exhibit's most interesting features is the lack of a discernible Japanese aesthetic, which is so obvious in older material. Instead, almost everything seems as though it could just as easily have been made in the U.S. as in Japan. Through August 27 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207.
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Lewis and Clark. There's quite a bit of art in it, but Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, is not an art show. In addition to the sculptures, paintings and decorative items, there are documents, weapons, maps, notebooks, clothing, medical paraphernalia and scientific equipment. All of it is interesting, some of it even beautiful. The Missouri Historical Society's Carolyn Gilman expertly curated the show, gathering up the 400-plus artifacts in it, more than a quarter of which may be directly traceable to the expedition itself. In her selections, Gilman attempted to include the perspective of both the Euro-Americans and the American Indians. The exhibit has basically been arranged in chronological order, following Lewis and Clark and their Shoshone guide, Sacagawea, along their route from the Midwest to the Pacific. They were looking for a river passage to the Northwest coast, but it wasn't there. The show's only flaw is the theatrical exhibition design, which is often distracting. Through August 21 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, 303-322-7009. Reviewed May 26.
Luminosity. The Museum of Outdoor Arts, ensconced in the newish Englewood CityCentre, is best known for the sculpture displays it has scattered around the metro area, including the main cache in front of Englewood's municipal building. But there's also an indoor space where MOA mounts art shows, which is currently outfitted with a multi-media show on the topic of "the quality of radiant light." Regionally famous artist Daniel Sprick is the only painter in the show, with everyone else doing photography or photo-based techniques. In the photography category are David Sharpe's shots of Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty," a pioneering earthworks piece that had been flooded by the Great Salt Lake but has recently reemerged as the water receded. Another photographer, Anne Arden McDonald, specializes in figure studies set in abandoned buildings. The two artists doing photo-based pieces are Randy Brown, who does hybrids of painting and photography, and Jason Musgrave, who created an impressive large-scale installation made of various materials, including glass, chrome and photography. Through September 1 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, 1000 Englewood Parkway, #2-230, 303-806-0440.
no boundaries: fiber + art. Most of the modern and contemporary pieces at the Denver Art Museum are in storage, awaiting their places in the new building. But there is a small exhibit, no boundaries: art + fiber, on view in the sixth-floor Neusteter Textile Gallery that's composed of material that's either modern or contemporary. The DAM's textile curator, Alice Zrebiec, conceived the exhibit, and she only had to go to the museum's permanent collection to find all of the great pieces. There are many striking things in no boundaries, but foremost among these is a French-tapestry version of a cubist painting by Albert Gleizes. Another piece with roots in modernist abstraction is a Navajo weaving by Sadie Curtis, based on a sketch by Kenneth Noland, which is also in the show. (The Noland is part of a larger group of DAM-owned weavings based on famous artists' work; Zrebiec would like to do a future show of those.) Okada Tadashi, Chuck Close, Lucas Samaras and Magdalena Abakanowicz are among the other artists represented. Through July 10 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000.