Art of the State. This juried effort at the Arvada Center has been attracting crowds, to say the least. The two-person jury comprised Collin Parson, Arvada's exhibition manager and curator, and Dean Sobel, who, as director of the Clyfford Still Museum, is an art-world celebrity. Because of the curators' stature, the call for entries resulted in a huge volume of responses, and Parson and Sobel looked at more than 1,600 images by nearly 600 entrants. The final tally was 191 works by 160 artists. Since Sobel is an internationally renowned expert in abstract expressionism, many submissions fall into some abstract category like neo-modern (which dominates) and conceptual abstraction. Paintings rule, but there are nice sculptures, too. In addition to abstractions, there are representational variations, especially in the realm of conceptual art. Though it's not installed this way, there's essentially a photo show hidden within Art of the State, and also one dedicated to ceramics. Focusing on Colorado art has clearly been a winning strategy for the Arvada Center. Through March 31 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200, www.arvadacenter.org. Reviewed February 28.
Charles Partridge Adams. Rocky Mountain Majesty: The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams highlights the career of a prominent turn-of-the-nineteenth-century impressionist who lived and worked in Colorado for decades. Adams first came to Colorado in 1876, when he was only eighteen years old. He was self-taught, but worked informally in Denver with Helen Henderson Chain, who in turn had studied with George Inness. By the 1890s, like many other landscape painters of the time, Adams embraced impressionism, with his signature style becoming increasingly more expressive into the 1910s. Adams was part of a generation of landscape painters who were grounded in Hudson River School aesthetics. But like other American impressionists, he blended this classic sensibility with the painterly devices being revealed at the time in France. In 1917, Partridge retired to California. Thomas Smith, the DAM's Curator of Western American Art, has chosen three dozen examples of the artist's best work. Through September 8 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org.
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.
Georgia O'Keeffe. Georgia O'Keeffe has been done to death — on greeting cards, calendars and posters. That's why it's easy to forget that in the first half of the twentieth century, she was one of America's most significant early modernists. And with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, she crusaded for the then-new aesthetic. She visited New Mexico annually and finally settled there permanently in the 1940s, becoming one of our own, a Western artist. As is widely known, New Mexico sported a lively art scene at that time, and like so many of her fellow artists, O'Keeffe became enraptured with the American Indian and Hispanic cultures that flourished there. This exhibit, Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land, reflects the artist's love affair with the Land of Enchantment. The show comes from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, but for Denver it's been tweaked by Thomas Smith, the DAM's curator of Western American art, and by Native Arts associate curator John Lukavic. The two paired Native American artifacts with O'Keeffe's renditions of them. Through April 28 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org.
William Stoehr; Jason Lee Gimbel et al. In the front room at Space is an impressive solo, William Stoehr: Icons, made up of a series of large, in-your-face portraits done in a wild expressionist style. Stoehr, from Boulder, takes an action-painting approach, using smears of paint that have been rapidly laid down to carry out the features of a woman's face. In most, the sitter stares unblinkingly out at the viewer, making the experience all but confrontational. In the room behind, gallery director Michael Burnett has curated a small show of other types of figuration, especially the paintings and works on paper of emerging artist Jason Lee Gimbel. Though this selection is somewhat uneven, the best of the paintings — and all of the drawings — are very good. Across from the Gimbels are a group of posthumous prints based on paintings by the late Mark Travis. The last player in this section is Rafa Jenn, who is represented by beautifully done colored-pencil drawings of retro pinup girls. (Jenn is a pseudonym for a well-known local artist who has chosen to remain anonymous.) Through March 15 at Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, www.spacegallery.org.
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