Clark Richert. In the few years it's been in business, Gildar Gallery has mostly showcased young and up-and-coming artists, but with Dimension and Symmetry: Clark Richert, the intimate space on Broadway has moved to Denver's big time, as Richert is among the best-known artists in the state. The show comes complete with an essay by Cydney Payton, former director of MCA Denver, and was co-curated by Robin Rule, the artist's longtime representative. It features ten major paintings, some digital prints and a projection. Though all the paintings reveal Richert's interest in mathematical formulas — formulas he uses to determine his patterns — and in straight lines, the pieces actually vary quite a bit. There are the expected all-over patterns — his signature approach — some carried out in vaporous shades, others in toned-up colors. And there are paintings depicting actual landscapes, including one of the world-famous art community Drop City, which Richert and others founded in the 1960s. The painting, which takes an archly geometric approach to perspective, depicts a scene populated by domed structures made from wrecked cars. Through February 1 at Gildar Gallery, 82 South Broadway, 303-993-4474, gildargallery.com. Reviewed December 12.
Gayle Crites and Andrew Beckham. As she usually does, Tina Goodwin has paired a couple of solos at her namesake gallery, with one in the larger front space and the other in the smaller corridor in back. At first glance, Gayle Crites: The Cloth That Binds appears to be an exhibit of works on paper, and broadly speaking, it is, except that the "paper" turns out to be hammered bark that the artist has gathered from around the world. Crites creates abstract or abstracted compositions that refer to mostly natural forms and often feature lots of delicate lines in ink that are accented with dyes. The whole thing is very elegant, a quality reinforced by the second show at Goodwin, Andrew Beckham: Firmament, which is made up of a suite of digital photo montages. These pieces, shown previously at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, began with Beckham's fascination with nineteenth-century star charts, which became a touchstone for him in this work. But he combines the maps with images from his everyday life and from his travels. It would be an understatement to call the resulting pieces complex. Through February 22 at Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street, 303-573-1255, goodwinfineart.com.
Kelton Osborn and Julia Fernandez-Pol. In the front space and stretching into the small connecting corridor at the Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery is Kelton Osborn's fragments revealed: a continuous process, which is dominated by mixed-media works on paper but also includes watercolors on board and 3-D pieces, all of them abstracts. The show not only marks Osborn's debut at Wiedenhoeft, but also the first solo anywhere for the artist, who was trained as an architect and practiced for eighteen years before cutting back on design and deciding to focus on art instead. In Wiedenhoeft's enormous back space is Julia Fernandez-Pol's Some Day, One Day, Far Away. The display offers a marvelous assortment of the artist's juicy abstractions, which are based on landscapes and microscopic life. Fernandez-Pol typically starts with a color field, then tops it with paint applied directly from tubes or with syringes, in some cases creating stripes. The colors and tactile characteristics of her paints suggest brightly colored bubble gum or luscious cake icing. Through March 1 at Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, 3542 Walnut Street, 303-351-1251, carmenw.com.
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Nature as Muse. This homegrown blockbuster — part of the Passport to Paris series — was curated by Denver Art Museum director Christoph Heinrich, who's proven over and over that he's a curator at heart. To organize it, Heinrich mined the rich vein of impressionism in the museum's permanent collection and combined works from it with selections from the collection of Frederic C. Hamilton, for whom the wing is named. These Hamilton paintings have for the most part not been exhibited in public in anyone's memory. The show starts with the foundational work of the realists and quickly shifts to the pioneering work of the impressionists; then there's a section devoted to American followers of the French-based movement, and finally, a salute to Monet, the star of Nature as Muse, many of whose paintings are included, notably the DAM's "Waterloo Bridge." In fact, right now there are eleven Monets on view at the DAM — an unprecedented number for Denver — with eight of them being paintings, and all but two of those are in this show. Through February 9 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, denverartmuseum.org; tickets are required. Reviewed November 28.