Chris Richter. Back in March, gallery director Bobbi Walker realized that her planned June slot had come apart and that she needed to come up with somebody fast. At the time, she was checking out the scene in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and came across the work of painter Chris Richter. She instantly offered him a show. The result is Chris Richter: Revealed, which is made up of post-minimal field paintings that are extremely beautiful. Richter, who claims to be referring to nature in these oil-on-panel abstractions, begins by building up layers of different colored paints, and then, after they've dried, sanding the surfaces until he gets the vaporous pictorial elements he's aiming for. The paintings have a contemplative mood, though conceptually they mark a collision of the minimalist monochrome aesthetic and the expressionist forms that emerge after sanding. The Richter selections are joined by scorched wooden wall sculptures by Munson Hunt, small photo-based installations by Sabin Aell, and Zelda Zinn's photo-based images that look like drawings. Through July 19 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Ave., #A, 303-355-8955, walkerfineart.com. Reviewed June 26.
Jeff Wenzel. One of Colorado's great abstract artists, Jeff Wenzel has a solid body of work that's been done over the past few decades. Currently, he's the subject of the drop-dead-gorgeous Jeff Wenzel: Duende at Goodwin Fine Art. Though Wenzel's roots are in ceramics — he was a protégé of Peter Voulkos — he has only rarely exhibited his clay works in Denver, and even more rarely has he exhibited them together with his much more familiar paintings. Seeing the two presented together kicks up the visual charge of the show, which, by the way, has been perfectly installed by gallery director Tina Goodwin. The works on view have all been created in the last few months with Wenzel's signature move in both clay and paint being automatism. He thus invariably employs abstract-expressionism as his taking-off point. However, there's more to it than that, since the work unexpectedly combines the sense of freedom that characterizes automatism with its opposite motive, obsessiveness, as Wenzel addresses the same areas over and over again until he gets precisely what he wants. Through July 19 at Goodwin Fine Art, 1255 Delaware Street, 303-573-1255, goodwinfineart.com. Reviewed June 12.
Unbound: Five Installations. In this strong outing, each of five local artists takes over one of the lower-level galleries at the Arvada Center with an installation. In the first gallery, Sophia Dixon Dillo uses transparent filament stretched from wall to wall to make the magical "Forming Light." Next is Rian Kerrane's "Knitting Wallpaper," in which scores of objects are suspended from the ceiling to create a jungle-like atmosphere. A soundtrack of Kerrane knitting and motion-activated electric mixers add a cacophony of sounds and movements to the dense tangle of objects. In the center space, Laleh Mehran's "Entropic Order" features a robotic device at the ceiling that guides a weighted stylus hanging almost to the floor. The stylus pushes through a bed of black sand, leaving behind elaborate geometric patterns. In one of the back galleries is Katie Caron's "Drosscapes," in which garishly colored tendrils hang over a reflecting "pool." Finally, there are remarkable inflated works made of stitched vinyl forming "Enrapture: My Microscopic Life-cycle," by Nicole Banowetz, which was put together right in the gallery. Through August 31 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org.
Unbound: Sculpture in the Field. Since the Arvada Center sits on a very large site, exhibitions manager Collin Parson and assistant curator Kristen Bueb decided recently to use a small part of it — a seventeen-acre field just to the south of the complex — as a xeric sculpture garden. Parson and Bueb invited Cynthia Madden Leitner of the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood to partner with the center in the effort. MOA has made a specialty of placing large pieces of sculpture in various spots around metro Denver, and this technical expertise was very desirable. The group then put together a list of sculptors they wanted to include, and the final roster of fifteen artists was established, with most being represented by two pieces. The participating artists, all of whom live in Colorado and work in abstraction or conceptual abstraction, are Vanessa Clarke, Emmett Culligan, John Ferguson, Erick Johnson, Andy Libertone, Nancy Lovendahl, Robert Mangold, Patrick Marold, David Mazza, Andy Miller, Charles Parson, Carl Reed, Joe Riché, Kevin Robb and Bill Vielehr. Through September 30, 2015, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org. Reviewed July 10.
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