Colorado & the West. This is the tenth summer in a row that David Cook Fine Art, the state's premier purveyor of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century material, has presented a group show dedicated to historic Western art. This year's version is anchored by more than two dozen oil paintings and watercolors by Charles Partridge Adams. Active at the turn of the nineteenth century, Adams was the state's most important impressionist; his specialty was light-filled landscapes. The exhibit also includes artists associated with the Broadmoor Academy in Colorado Springs. There is a group of watercolors by Vance Kirkland, whose work is rarely offered for sale, and by Allen Tupper True, whose works are even rarer. These impressive Colorado selections have been supplemented by a nice array of pieces by New Mexico artists. Needless to say, the don't-miss show is a glorious salute to the region's rich artistic heritage. Through June 30 at David Cook Fine Art, 1637 Wazee Street, 303-623-8181, www.davidcookfineart.com.
La Malagua. Maruca Salazar, director of the Museo de las Américas, was born in Mexico but has been a part of the Colorado art scene for decades. For her first show at the institution, Salazar has sampled the work of a group of artists from Puerto Vallarta called El Colectivo Malagua — the Jellyfish Collective — who have made works riffing off the iconography of the Lotería game. Lotería, played throughout Mexico, is similar to bingo, but cards are used instead of numbered balls. The 54 cards are drawn and their names called out. Players then mark the corresponding spots on their boards with a rock or bean. The Malagua artists have created their own versions of the cards and added one: a jellyfish. Salazar has supplemented the effort with the work of two Colorado artists, Carlos Frésquez and Belen Escalante, who also created their own works in response to the Lotería. Through June 6 at the Museo de las Américas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-4401, www.museo.org. Reviewed May 13.
Looking for the Face.... The half-dozen shows at MCA Denver are collectively titled Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made. Michaël Borremans is a solo dominated by contemporary realist paintings with a decidedly Old Master-ish character. Less compelling is Samuel Beckett, a spoken monologue on DVD from the author's "Not I" taken from "Beckett on Film," by Neil Jordan. Lorraine O'Grady: Miscegenated Family Album comprises sixteen diptychs of found images in which O'Grady put together shots from her family album with images of an ancient Egyptian artifact. William Stockman is dedicated to recent monumental drawings by the local artist. The oddest show here, A. G. Rizzoli, is made up of meticulous drawings depicting hypothetical buildings, and the last of the group is Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 10,483,200 Minutes, which records a series of pseudo-collaborations. Through May 23 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, www.mcadenver.org. Reviewed March 18.
Pard Morrison. One of the top artists who champion the less-is-more approach is being featured right now in Pard Morrison: At the Edge of the World, at Rule Gallery. Director Robin Rule has a special interest in minimalism and its progeny and cousins, so Rule is the place to see this kind of material. Morrison is a graduate of Colorado State University and lives in Colorado Springs, where he grew up. He's exhibited his work, which he dubs "human minimalism," for the past five or six years. Morrison's pieces are hybrids of paintings and sculptures. He first creates forms in aluminum and then has them powder-coated in a variety of colors. The forms and colors both have hard-edged margins and are typically rectilinear in shape. Morrison has retouched the colors so that they have a softness and muted character not typically associated with his high-tech patinating process. His signature works are wall-hung bas-reliefs that function as two-dimensional objects when seen straight-on, but when seen at an angle, they shift into three dimensions. Through May 22 at Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway, Unit 101, 303-777-9473, www.rulegallery.com. Reviewed May 6.
Ray Tomasso. The Byers-Evans House Gallery — in the carriage house — is hosting New Works in Paper: Ray Tomasso, a solo comprised of recent work by this well-known Colorado artist. The space is not ideal for exhibiting art, but Tomasso and his wife, Diane, have done a good job of making the most of it. As indicated in the title, Tomasso's medium of choice is paper, but these aren't works on paper; rather, the pieces are made out of paper. Following an elaborate process that begins with cotton rags reduced to pulp, Tomasso casts layers of wet sheets that result in abstract bas-relief panels that look like hybrids of paintings and sculptures. His technique in paper-making was self-taught, though he was trained in the related fields of ceramics and printmaking. Unlike many artists who work with paper, Tomasso does not start with colored pulp; instead, he uses un-dyed pulp that he then paints and seals. The results are very engaging because of the topography of the various forms and the handling of the colors. Most of the works are purely abstract, while others contain hints of the Western landscape. Through May 29 at the Byers-Evans House Gallery, 1310 Bannock Street, 303-620-4933, www.coloradohistory.org. Reviewed April 29.
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