Barbara Carpenter and Janice McDonald. In the east gallery at Spark, Barbara Carpenter has assembled a large group of small photos hung in clusters, salon-style, for Walking Miss Daisy: Photographs by Barbara Carpenter. The Miss Daisy of the title is Carpenter's dog, and all of the photos have been taken on her walks with Daisy. (This idea of taking photos while walking dogs is definitely something that's in the air, since Chuck Forsman is carrying out the same idea in his show at the Denver Art Museum.) Although they've been done digitally and have a high-tech aluminum-and-acrylic presentation, some of these landscape photos have an antique look — and not just the black-and-white ones. Paired with the Carpenters are small collages in the west gallery that comprise Janice McDonald: Overlooked Artifacts. For three months last spring, McDonald created daily compositions using that day's junk mail. Though the whole thing is impressive as installed in a double stack of images wrapping around the room at eye level, the individual works are worth examining, too. Through November 17 at Spark Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive, 720-889-2200, sparkgallery.com.
Haze Diedrich and Lewis McInnis. In what is set to be the last show in Space's current location (with the gallery's striking new building, at Fourth and Santa Fe, to be unveiled around the first of the year), director Michael Burnett has mounted a pair of solos under the umbrella title of Structural Leanings. The artists whose work makes up the exhibit — Haze Diedrich and Lewis McInnis — are two of the state's most interesting abstractionists. Both build their compositions out of smaller shapes — non-repeating organic ones for Diedrich, and good old rectangles for McInnis. Burnett has split the gallery space down the middle, giving Diedrich the north half, McInnis the south. Though each is represented by his respective style, both are also doing something new. For Diedrich, it's taking nature and breaking it up into small clusters of elements that convey a mood rather than a particular scene. For McInnis, the dense yet regulated structures of his earlier geometric patterns have been opened up and, in some cases, dispensed with completely, replaced by big color fields that collide with one another. Through November 30 at Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, spacegallery.org.
Laura Krudener. There's definitely a retro '60s color-field aesthetic afoot in the oversized, toned-up and elegant abstracts that make up Suspended Chaos: Laura Krudener at Plus. The exhibit represents the artist's debut offering at the gallery, as Krudener has only been in Denver for the past few years. Using raw canvas on set-back stretcher bars, Krudener pours on paint while manipulating the canvas to control the flow. Nearly all of the works included are monumental in size, with the largest, "Awakened Dreamers," being essentially a mural. Since Krudener combines acrylics with enamels, which don't mix, she's able to orchestrate some interesting curdling where the two types intersect; it's a neat effect. She adds lines and shading using charcoal and markers. The compositions are fairly simple: splashes of paint with more raw canvas than pigment seen at the surface. One thing that really makes her work look fresh — and not mid-century modern — is her taste for bold colors and the way she puts the different shades together. Especially effective is the spare use, in some places, of metallic tones. Through November 30 at Plus Gallery, 2501 Larimer Street, 303-296-0927, plusgallery.com.
Tracy Weil. The fall show at Ironton, Los Esqueletos: New Work by Tracy Weil, is filled with depictions of skeletons and skulls. But given Weil's interest in creating work that's fun to look at, the mood of the show is anything but gloomy; it was inspired by a Latin American children's song in which skeletons are used to teach kids how to count and tell time. Though technically each painting illustrates a particular line of the song with the correspondingly correct number of skeletons in it, Weil's exuberance leads him to use many more instead. For example, in "When the clock strikes two, two skeletons eat rice," the two eating from a bowl refer to the title while many others are used as a motif. Weil has been working as an artist since the '80s, and the sensibility of these paintings — with their wild brushwork, jarring colors and crude renderings — is definitely an outgrowth of that era, so it's not surprising to learn that the artist admires Jean-Michel Basquiat, the late neo-expressionist genius, and considers Denver's own Susan Wick to be his most important mentor. Through November 30 at the Ironton Studios and Gallery, 3636 Chestnut Place, 303-297-8626, irontonstudios.com.
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