Al Karim, Zimmer, Al Karim, Friberg. Robischon Gallery is so large that it can easily handle four (or, in a pinch, five) substantial solos. Typically, there's some unifying element that links them all together, and that's true this time, as all of the artists involved use photo-based methods ranging from old-timey collodion prints to digital video projections. First up is the work of Halim Al Karim, who produced the collodions (using an enormous custom-made bellows camera), along with dreamy and colorful lambda prints; everything is printed on sheets of aluminum. In the next space is David Zimmer, with a selection of that artist's acid-green photographic panels, and a couple of LED video constructions. Beyond are the stunning C-prints on aluminum in Sami Al Karim, depicting blurry landscapes. (There's a second section devoted to Al Karim's photomontages based on architecture.) The Al Karims — Halim and Sami — are brothers, and obviously bounce ideas off one another. Finally, there are two videos of men remaining in place despite the rushing water around them that make up Maria Friberg. Through November 2 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, robischongallery.com.
Al Wynne. As many know, the Black Forest home and studio shared for more than sixty years by the late Al Wynne and his widow, Lou Wynne, was utterly destroyed by fire this summer. The conflagration took some 400 works by Al in the form of watercolors and drawings, constituting nearly three-quarters of his output, as well as nearly all of Lou's work as a ceramics artist. Luckily, Al's Denver gallery, Z Art Department, had a number of paintings kept safe from harm's way. It is a selection of these surviving works that makes up Al Wynne, a beautiful if somber tribute to one of the state's greatest abstract artists. There are a handful of his classic abstract-expressionist pieces, along with a group of his hard edged abstractions featuring concentric ovals and straight lines. There are even a couple of sculptures. All the paintings, regardless of style, reveal Al's skill as a colorist, as well as his debt to calligraphy, a serious interest for him and, for much of his life, one of his professions. Though there are only fifteen works included, it's enough material to span his career, and thus to convey his greatness. Through November 2 at Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-298-8432, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 of his pieces for its permanent collection. Through January 12 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3200, botanicgardens.org. Reviewed September 19.
Cross Pollinate et al. In the front set of spaces at Walker Fine Art, the paintings of Chloe Hedden have been paired with sculptures by Vanessa Clark for the duet Cross Pollinate. The show's title seems appropriate for Hedden's paintings of blown-up flowers, which have been rendered in a hyperrealist style and in toned-up colors. It's not as appropriate, though, for Clark's abstract, mixed-material sculptures, in which the artist joins different kinds of stone to make simple forms. As she always does, gallery director Bobbi Walker has supplemented the main attraction with a trio of small solos in the back spaces. First are the staggeringly accomplished composite wax drawings by Robin Cole Smith, which depict natural objects such as twigs and a bird's nest. On the adjacent wall are five small post-minimal paintings by Udo Noger that juxtapose white with white. Finally is a selection of Bonny Lhotka's digital images that look like old still-life paintings. This is because of the antique quality of the photos' subjects — a tea set, for example — but also because of the surfaces, which look scratchy but are in fact smooth. Through November 2 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, 303-355-8955, walkerfinart.com.
Truth and Consequences. Sandra Phillips has come up with an inspired pairing for the duet Truth and Consequences at her namesake gallery in the Golden Triangle. She has joined Carley Warren's sculptures with drawings by Anna Kaye. Though each works in her own distinctive style and medium — Warren is a longtime conceptual sculptor and installation artist, while Kaye does photo-realist drawings in pencil on paper — there is a connection: trees. For Warren, who has long used wood as a chief material in her pieces, they're in the form of chunks of cut wood or boards. She uses the wood essentially in its natural state, as in the elegant "Kindling 3," in which clusters of wood scraps are mounted horizontally on vertical rods. For Kaye, trees are burned-up twigs, logs and even still-standing burned trees, all of which she has rendered meticulously. Fire has been on every Coloradan's mind in recent years, and Kaye has even done a piece dedicated to Lou Wynne and her late husband, Al Wynne, whose Black Forest home and studio were lost to fire this past summer. Through November 2 at Sandra Phillips Gallery, 420 West 12th Avenue, 303-573-5969, thesandraphillipsgallery.com.
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