20th Century Modernists. For her first show, Thérèse O'Gorman — who moved from Santa Fe to become the exhibition director at David Cook Fine Art in LoDo — has put together 20th Century Modernists, which highlights abstraction done in the West. The show proper, in the street-level space, is dedicated to New Mexico artists, but O'Gorman has also done a chaser to it, on the lower level, which includes historic abstractionists active in Colorado. As usual for David Cook, there is no shortage of first-rate material by the most significant artists from the period. Among the standouts on the main floor are the Kandinsky-esque compositions of Emil Bisttram; the non-objective pieces by Raymond Jonson, the master of using hard margins to differentiate forms; and the lyrical automatist work by Beatrice Mandelman. Downstairs, O'Gorman has mixed in the work of Colorado modernists as an extension of the show upstairs, including some choice abstract landscapes by Ethel Magafan. The revelation, however, is Charles Bunnell's constructivism, exemplified by three paintings of the type. Through February 28 at David Cook Fine Art, 1637 Wazee Street, 303-623-8181, davidcookfineart.com. Reviewed January 24.
AIDS Adagio. Among the cultural amenities at the Fulginiti Pavilion on the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado Denver is a handsome gallery. The current exhibit, AIDS Adagio, put together by curator Simon Zalkind, pairs photos by the late Wes Kennedy with images by Albert Winn. During his very brief Denver career — from 1986 to 1993, the year he died from AIDS — Kennedy revealed himself to be nothing short of a genius. The work in this show, much of it homoerotic, not only holds up, but looks better than ever. His photos always eloquently express precisely where Kennedy actually was at the time he created them: at the intersection of sex and death. The absolutely gripping "Desolation" conveys the idea of Kennedy's spirit, in the form of a bird, flying away; it poetically records the artist's deteriorating health through his sad and ravaged face. Winn's snapshot-style photos reflect a different world, one in which AIDS is no longer a death sentence. These self-portraits show Winn getting more fit as the disease progresses, so the fact that he has AIDS is invisible. Through February 14 at the Fulginiti Pavilion (13080 East 19th Avenue at Uvalda Street, 303-724-3994, www.ucdenver.edu). Reviewed February 7.
Colorado Art Survey VIII. Every year, Kirkland Museum director Hugh Grant organizes a show in which new acquisitions are combined with pieces already in the collection to illustrate the art history of the state. Grant lays out the somewhat sequential stylistic categories in roughly chronological order. The date range for this year's version is 1875 (a landscape by Hamilton Hamilton) to 2011 (a combine-painting by Emilio Lobato and a ceramic piece by Jeff Wenzel). In between are some remarkable things, notably a newly acquired 1920s Robert Reid painting of the Broadmoor Hotel as seen from the mountains. Reid, a nationally known impressionist, taught at the Broadmoor Academy at the time. Also notable is a '30s view of the Garden of the Gods by Ward Lockwood, another Broadmoor Academy teacher. This being the Kirkland, a good deal of the show is dedicated to modernism, including surrealism and various types of abstraction, with examples by Al Wynne, Ken Goehring, Mary Chenoweth, Charles Bunnell and others. Through April 21 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576, www.kirklandmuseum.org.
Dave Yust. An intimate solo, Dave Yust: Evidence(s) of Gravity and Heart-Shaped Monotypes, looks at some of the latest works by this well-established talent. In some sense, this show at Plus Gallery is a continuation of Yust's print retrospective now at the Loveland Museum. In both, there is a large selection of Yust's "Heart-Inclusion" prints — heart-shaped pieces from 2011 and 2012. Yust's idea of a print is a little more inclusive than the term ordinarily implies, and he has pieced in elements of separate prints, and has drawn or painted over parts of them, making them essentially mixed-media paintings on paper. To get the iconic heart shape of the paper, Yust tears it with the aid of a heart-shaped sheet of Masonite. The tearing creates a deckled edge. The heart-shaped pieces are juxtaposed to paintings from his "Chromaxiologic Inclusion" series, which are large tondos covered with abstractions in bold colors that are cut up with lines that follow the contours of catenary curves. These lines are copied from those created by the pull of gravity on a chain suspended from two points. Through February 23, At Plus Gallery, 2501 Larimer Street, 720-394-8484, www.plusgallery.com. Reviewed January 31.
Sam Scott & Jim Waid; Homare Ikeda. The spacious main floor at the William Havu Gallery has been given over to a strong duet, 100 Years of Painting: Sam Scott & Jim Waid. The reason that the century mark is referenced in the title is because Scott and Waid each have a fifty-year-art-career under their individual belts. Scott, who has long lived in New Mexico, creates paintings that at first glance appear to exemplify abstract expressionism. Closer examination, however, reveals various cues indicating that underneath the daubs and smears lies a landscape -- which in turn explains why the series on view is called "Earth, Water and Sky." Waid hails from Tucson, and he also refers to nature in his abstracted scenes, but he's more obvious, using a number of recognizable elements like birds and cactus, though there's also a lot of pure abstraction mixed in. His style is something like a cross between black velvet paintings and Jean-Michel Basquiat compositions. Upstairs on the mezzanine is a show devoted to Homare Ikeda's quirky abstracts, which luxuriously stack painterly gestures and oddball forms. Through March 2 at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com.
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