Exposure. Eric Paddock is the Denver Art Museum's first full-fledged photo curator to head up his own new department. To unveil the permanent gallery for photography in the Ponti tower, he's put together Exposure: Photos From the Vault, highlighting a range of gems from the DAM's collection. Collected in fits and starts, the museum's photo holdings are very uneven, but as Paddock proves, there are a lot of masterworks in it anyway. As could be expected, considering the impressive Wolf Collection of early Western landscapes, there are quite a few pieces by the pioneers of that field, notably Carleton Watkins. And there are a number of well-known photos by famous modern photographers like Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams and Garry Winogrand. Another important feature is the inclusion of many Colorado photographers, including Kevin O'Connell and Wes Kennedy. This aspect is not unexpected coming from a curator who spent most of his career at the Colorado Historical Society. Through October 31, at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed May 20.
Linda Fleming and Katy Stone. The current shows at Robischon delve into the field of conceptual abstraction with two artists who create three-dimensional objects, not all of which could be called sculptures. Up front is Linda Fleming: Lingering, made up of some recent works by this part-time Colorado artist. In the center spaces is Katy Stone: New Work, highlighting ephemeral pleasures from the noted Seattle artist. Fleming is part of the history of contemporary art, having built her studio in the Libre artist collective back in 1968. The pieces in Lingering, though mostly made of steel, are almost insubstantial owing to all the piercing Fleming has done to them. This allows negative space to play as important a role as the positive space of the materials themselves. As unusual as the Flemings are, Robischon has found the perfect companion for them in Stone's conceptually related work. The artist is technically making sculptures, but she organizes her material in such a way that they look like paintings. Extened through August 7 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com. Reviewed June 3.
Moore in the Gardens. Henry Moore, who died in 1986, was Great Britain's most important modern sculptor. Born in 1898, he began to create artwork shortly after World War I, becoming internationally famous by the 1930s. This traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation, has been installed on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, with two pieces at the DBG annex at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). The main part begins in the Boettcher Memorial Center, where a collection of the artist's tools and maquettes are crowded into showcases, and where a single work has been installed in a fountain. Most of the other pieces have been displayed around the gardens; get a map so you'll be sure to find them all. The monumental works look absolutely perfect in the landscaped settings, and that makes sense, since Moore himself was a serious gardener. Through January 31 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, www.botanicgardens.org. Reviewed June 17.
Robert St. John et al. The Edge co-op is currently hosting a trio of interesting (if odd) shows that sport a quartet of local artists. In the front space is Robert St. John, an exhibit of unusual works on paper depicting figures, which are in the center of the piece and are surrounded by enigmatic elements that may or may not refer to the main subject. The works are apparently inspired by contemporary Asian art. In the second space is a two-artist presentation, Private Property, made up of works on paper by Sinae Lee and paintings by Susanne Mitchell. The Lees are constructivist renditions of figures done in ink, some with details in gold leaf, while the Mitchells, in encaustic, oil, gouache and pencil, are enigmatic conceptual realist compositions. Especially compelling is "Exposed," a vertically stacked triptych of a nude woman — Mitchell herself — that has an old master-ish quality and at the same time is very contemporary. Finally, in the space in the back is But the Sap Ran Dry, comprising some really weird sculptures of freakishly grotesque figures in cold-finished ceramics and mixed materials by Casey Stuber Ross. Through July 11 at Edge Gallery, 3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173, www.edgeart.com.
Stark. Michael Chavez, curator at Foothills Art Center, has organized a show in which all the pieces are black and white. It's a quintet of solos, with each of five Denver-area artists being the subject of a mini concentration. Stark begins with some remarkable drawings by Nathan Abels, who's also represented by an apparition-like video. Next up are some staggeringly accomplished hyper-realist paintings of older women in interior settings by Monique Crine, along with a series of smart-looking neo-pop photos by Stephen Legg, who takes multiple glamour shots of mundane things. Around the corner is a grid of 49 straight-on mug shots by Christopher Perez, part of an enormous project in which the artist captures friends and strangers out on the street. The show ends with a smart-looking painted wall installation by Mindy Bray, depicting, in black stenciled paint, a willow tree that wraps around the center's stained-glass windows. There's also an addendum to the show: portraits by Greg Cradick from Working With Artists. Through July 3 at Foothills Art Center, 809 15th Street, Golden, 303-2793922, www.foothillscenter.org. Reviewed June 1.
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