Catalyst. The beautiful grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens are the ideal place to mount an outdoor sculpture show, and over the past few years, there has been one such presentation after another. This year, the theme is contemporary sculptors in Colorado. The pieces are picturesquely sited throughout in clearings or along the walkways, but since the place is a labyrinth of trails, make sure to get a map to guide you through. Lisa Eldred, DBG director of exhibitions, ably selected some of the top names in the field, but as she's pointed out, the show is hardly encyclopedic; still, she did attempt to include some of the most famous practitioners in the medium, notably James Surls, Linda Fleming and Robert Mangold. Other Colorado sculpture stars in the show are Emmett Culligan, Kim Dickey, Nancy Lovendahl, Terry Maker, Andy Miller, Patrick Marold, Pard Morrison, Carl Reed and Yoshitomo Saito. The work of Saito, based on twigs cast in bronze, seems perfect in this sylvan setting, and the DBG ought to acquire one for its permanent collection. Through January 12 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3200, botanicgardens.org.
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.
Patrick Marold. For Strata, Denver artist Patrick Marold has created a stark installation of his sculptures, several of which were created specifically for the elegant showroom at Goodwin Fine Art. Though there are some small works, such as the metal loop "Annulus" and the little angled joint "Key," the monumental pieces dominate the show. First is the mountain of stacked rusted-steel rods that make up "Serrated Crest." The three-sided curved pyramidal shape is off-kilter and unexpectedly narrow as you walk around it. Beyond is "Prominence," an aptly titled tour de force comprising a gathered set of mirror-polished stainless-steel tubes in a tent-like shape that's round at the bottom and straight at the top. Marold is a conceptual artist whose chief concerns are the repetition of simple forms like rods — or, as in one case here, ropes — and the shadows cast by their curvilinear shapes. And by using these essentially geometric forms and lining or piling them up next to others of their type, the resulting pieces exemplify conceptual abstraction and have no implicit narratives. Through July 20 at Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street, 303-573-1255, goodwinfineart.com. Reviewed July 11.
Pattern Play. Pattern Play: The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag, at the Denver Art Museum, is one of many shows that make up Spun, a museum-wide event that's anchored by fabrics and other materials. The pieces on view were selected by Darrin Alfred, curator of the architecture, design and graphics department, and were mostly taken from the vast collection of modernist textiles assembled by Jill Wiltse and Kirk Brown. Born in Czechoslovakia, Groag went to Vienna to study with Josef Hoffman, then to Paris, where she designed fabrics for Chanel, among others. With her husband, Jacques Groag, she moved to England on the eve of World War II. It was in post-war Britain that she emerged as a major player in pattern design. This show includes many examples of her fabrics — in the form of beautifully preserved swatches — as well as drawings and sketches that were done in preparation for the finished products. There are also designs for other materials like laminate tabletops. Through September 8 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org.
Sloan, Sloan and Swab. The William Havu Gallery is currently host to three solos, each highlighting a painter doing some variation of hyper-realism. In the entry space and the space immediately to the right is Jeanette Pasin Sloan, featuring the Santa Fe artist's still-life scenes in various mediums including oil, gouache and watercolor. Sloan likes to render objects with reflective surfaces that pick up the patterns of the cloths on which they've been placed. There's an interesting series of prints that lay out her methods. In the window space and under the mezzanine is Kevin Sloan, made up of enigmatic narrative paintings that recall the art of the nineteenth century — in particular, that of John James Audubon — except for the surrealist touches, like the orange extension cords wrapped around some of the birds, or the pocket watches held by some of the animals. Upstairs on the mezzanine is Laurel Swab, which comprises a selection of diminutive still-life scenes with dark grounds and subjects that display photographic accuracy in their every detail. Through August 10 at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, williamhavugallery.com.
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