Art Openings Bring May Flowers to Denver | Westword

Art Attack: Galleries Cultivate Mother's Day Florals and More

Feel some flower power!
Mark Dennis, "Medicine Wheel."
Mark Dennis, "Medicine Wheel." Mark Dennis, courtesy of K Contemporary
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New May exhibitions offer nods to spring flowers and Mother’s Day, as well as cultural identities, preservation of the natural world, personal visions, new pathways and the approaching Pride Month.

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The Ortega/Montero artist clan sticks together at Art Gym.
Tony Ortega, Sylvia Montero and Cipriano Ortega
Tony Ortega, Sylvia Montero and Cipriano Ortega: Three Indigenous Chicanos
Art Gym Denver, 1460 Leyden Street
Thursday, May 11, through June 18
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 11, 6 to 9 p.m.
For Tony Ortega and Sylvia Montero and their son, Cipriano Ortega, art life is a family affair. Their joint exhibition, Tony Ortega, Sylvia Montero and Cipriano Ortega: Three Indigenous Chicanos, is opening at Art Gym, where patriarch Tony is a member. All three have distinctive styles, fed by their mutual Chicano heritage while telling different stories. Concurrently, Maxwell Roath’s Anything but a Still Life opens in the Leyden Jar space.

Motus + Victor Escobedo: A Dim Light
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA), 1750 13th Street, Boulder
Thursday, May 11, through May 25
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 11, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Victor Escobedo’s mixed-media arsenal of clay masks and marionettes, paintings and performances based on ancient Indigenous culture and art gets a two-week showcase in BMoCA’s Present Box space. At the opening, Escobedo’s newest work will provide the visual backdrop for the story of Mexican immigrant Cristian Solano-Córdova, as presented by Motus Playback Theater’s UndocuAmerica series. The monologue is a response to the defacing of a mural series celebrating Motus monologists.
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Erika Osborne, “Subterranean Stitchery,” 2021, oil on canvas.
Erika Osborne
Trine Bumiller and Erika Osborne, Eternal Return
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue
Through June 13
Public Reception: Thursday, May 11, 4 p.m.; free, RSVP at Eventbrite
Painters Trine Bumiller and Erika Osborne reprise their exhibition Eternal Return, a study in artworks of how forests regenerate over time after a catastrophic wildfire event. It’s a hopeful rather than mournful view of ecological rebirth after an old forest is cleared by fire to make way for new, healthier growth. Though it’s a slow process, the artists show that smoking tree trunks and scorched earth do not signal a bitter end.
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Lisa Calzavara, “Renaissance,” oil on canvas
Lisa Calzavara
Suzanne Frazier and Lisa Calzavara, Optical Opulence
Carrie MaKenna, Defining Moments 1973-2023: A Half-Century Retrospective, in the East Gallery
D’art Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, May 11, through June 4
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 6 to 9 p.m.

Abstract painters Suzanne Frazier and Lisa Calzavara explore the narrative-free dynamic of visuals dependent only on color, line, brushstrokes, composition and mark-making. Calzavara’s work channels appreciation for the small sensual pleasures in life, such as sublime sunsets or a fine glass of wine, bleeding contrasting colors together in tumultuous organic shapes, while Frazier takes a softer approach, expressing a more meditative, inward point of view in merging pastel colors. This is Frazier’s last show at D’art, at least for now; let’s wish her well.

In D’art’s East Gallery, Carrie MaKenna takes a look back over an incredible half-century of making art, from its beginnings in her school years to her present output of super-impastoed acrylic paintings. Graphic design, healing arts and love of nature are just a few of the themes running through MaKenna’s hand-picked retrospective.

Public Offering Brewing, 1736 South Broadway
Thursday, May 11, through June 7
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 11, 6 to 9 p.m.
A show of work by more than thirty floral artists will blossom on the walls at Public Offering Brewing Company for an appropriate welcome to spring weather, even as rain showers keep it cool. The community-driven exhibition will be more than pretty; it’s also a fundraiser for the local nonprofit Hope House Denver, an organization providing education and self-sufficiency programs for teen moms and children in need. A portion of all art and beer sales will benefit the cause.
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Hyunmee Lee, “Entice,” acrylic on canvas.
Hyunmee Lee, courtesy of William Havu Gallery
Hyunmee Lee, Changing Shapes
Michael Clapper, New Works
Heidi Jung, Portraits of My Children

William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street
Friday, May 12, through June 23
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 5 to 8 p.m.

William Havu Gallery hosts a new trio of solos topped by Changing Shapes, an introduction to Korean abstract painter Hyunmee Lee, a newcomer to the Havu stable. Minimal and meditational in nature, Lee’s large canvases are gestural improvisations inspired by the movements used in Asian calligraphy and fed by opposing forces. Also on view is sculptor Michael Clapper, who works in wood, stone and steel to create dynamic shapes reaching for the sky; the mezzanine displays work by botanical painter Heidi Jung, best known for her huge panels of imagery made using a unique technique of incorporating Sumi ink and charcoal on a Mylar surface for a translucent sheen.

TAD @ T-Shop #2
Terrorium Annex, 3611 West 49th Avenue
Friday, May 12, 6 to 9 p.m.
Artist/curator duo Donald Fodness and Tobias Fike were so pleased with their inaugural one-night experimental group exhibition in a taxidermy shop, TAD @ T-Shop (TAD is an acronym for Temporary Alternative Duty), that they’ve put together a second show, this one peopled by a fine list of local artists. There is no common theme for the show, but the people involved — Drew Austin, Ian Fisher, Dalton Frizzell, Alvin Gregorio, Ali Lemon, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, Gretchen Marie Schaefer, Sarah Scott and Joshua Ware — have imagination to spare.
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A woven-paper fiber work by Talia Johns for Prismatic at Dairy Arts.
Talia Johns
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street
Friday, May 12, through July 6
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 5 to 8 p.m.
As Pride Month draws near, Dairy Arts Center curator Drew Austin is ready with Prismatic, a showcase for a diverse cross-section of artists in Colorado’s LGBTQIA+ communities. The requirements? They could do whatever they liked, as long as it fit into one of two color categories: black-and-white or color spectrum. Some thirty artists answered that easy challenge for a big show full of personality. As a tie-in, the center’s Boedecker Theater will host a premiere screening of Just Us: The longing and hope of LGBTQ people, a film not coincidentally directed by artist Carey Candrian, whose work is in the art show, at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Get tickets, $7, here.
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Jared David Paul, "The Dubious Line," community mural collaboration.
Jared David Paul, courtesy of the Storeroom
Jared David Paul, The Dubious Line
The Storeroom, 1700 Vine Street
Friday, May 12, through June 30
Spring Art Party: Friday, May 12, 7 to 10 p.m.

Jared David Paul, the latest local artist to take over the Storeroom window gallery on East 17th Avenue, invited community members to help create The Dubious Line, a mural designed as a mirror-image reflection of the neighborhood beyond the window...with a twist. The bright, crayon-colored view has been made psychedelic, with brushes attached to sticks being pushed by a whole band of hands, big and small. Come on down on Friday for a Spring Art Party and disco dance on the sidewalk.
Jade LaVarta, "Totem."
Jade LaVarta, Native Fauna art
Jade LaVarta, Totem
Balefire Goods, 7513 Grandview, Arvada
Friday, May 12, through May 31
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 5 to 7 p.m.
Wildlife artist Jade LaVarta of Native Fauna Art is an earthy Colorado native and lover of nature, devoted to the movement to keep her state wild. True to her interests, LaVarta doesn’t simply use ordinary colored pencils and graphite to draft her handsome wildlife images; her charcoal is sourced directly from Colorado burn scars, scavenged by hand and put to regenerative work making art. Visit Balefire throughout the rest of May to see the results.
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Barbara Veatch, "Lily," at Core Art Space.
Barbara Veatch
Flower Power Art Show
Core Art Space, 40 West Art Hub, 6501 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Friday, May 12, through May 29
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 5 to 10 p.m.
Core invited artists to submit works that break down the myriad of things that flowers mean to humans for this juried show coinciding with Mother’s Day, and was showered with entries. How beautiful is that? Michael Paglia served as juror.
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Gwen Hill-Pollara
Gwen Hill-Pollara, Growth
Demeri Flowers, Love Letters

Next Gallery, 40 West Art Hub, 6501 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Friday, May 12, through May 28
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 5 to 10 p.m.
Mini Clay Workshop and Party: Saturday, May 20, 6 p.m.; $25 suggested donation; RSVP
@[email protected] or text 304-807-1854
Ceramic artist and Next Gallery member Gwen Hill-Pollara celebrates spring by musing on the nature of growth, modeling wild faces and overgrown wall pots ready to plant and hang. On May 20, Hill-Pollara invites guests to join her at the gallery for an optional mini workshop where you can make your own planter-pod for a $25 suggested donation. Demeri Flowers’s Love Letters delivers yet another show of botanical delights offering mutual love and shelter.
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Katie Hoffman, “Brief Candle,” 2023, oil on canvas.
Katie Hoffman
Katie Hoffman, Susan Hazaleus and Judy Horowitz: People, Pets and Places
Edge Gallery, 40 West Art Hub, 6501 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Friday, May 12, through May 28
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 6 to 9 p.m.

Katie Hoffman, Susan Hazaleus and Judy Horowitz paint different views of our relationships with creatures, people and shared comforts. But Hoffman will tip the scale of all that sweetness with some surreal fun.
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Kevin Sloan, “Spring Raised Up From the Icy Depths of Winter,” 2023, acrylic on canvas.
Kevin Sloan, courtesy of K Contemporary
Fucking Flowers, group show
K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee Street
Saturday, May 13, through June 10
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 13, 3 to 6 p.m.

Fucking Flowers. What else do you show in May on the day before Mother’s Day? K Contemporary offers an all-star show by gallery artists whose work might not fit the grandma’s-house vision we get when imagining an all-floral show. Instead, you’ll glimpse one of Daisy Patton’s giant, color-embellished found photographs, dripping with pastel vines and blossoms, or Kevin Sloan’s bouquet held aloft from the ocean’s surface by an octopus — and even more wild canvas-covering bouquets by Shawn Huckins, Marc Dennis and Melissa Furness.
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Saul Acevedo Gomez, 'Stuck With the Same Same Story."
Saul Acevedo Gomez, courtesy of Friend of a Friend Gallery
Sofie Birkin, Saul Acevedo Gomez and NonPorous Ceramics, Three Visits
Friend of a Friend Gallery, 1115 Acoma Street, Suite 321
Saturday, May 13, through June 17
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 13, 7 to 10 p.m.
Friend of a Friend offers a trio of artists — British illustrator Sofie Birkin, Mexican artist Saul Acevedo Gomez and the modern clay artist behind NonPorous Ceramics — who were challenged to go beyond their limits. Birkin’s color-saturated panels of queer feminine bodies, Acevedo Gomez’s idea of the unimaginable “hyperobject,” and the smooth, bumpy, non-symmetrical objects of NonPorous Ceramics all stretch in this important show.
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Vinni Alfonso considers the shape of memories.
Vinni Alfonso
Vinni Alfonso, Thought Memories
Bardo Coffee House, 238 South Broadway
Saturday, May 13, through June 30
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 13, noon to 2 p.m.

Richard Alden Peterson and Dave Seiler, the anti-curators behind Heads of Hydra, bring Thought Memories, a solo show by Denver artist Vinni Alfonso, who endows thoughts with a physical form —something shapeless like an amoeba — that twists and turns its way through our minds, maintaining changing spaces. Alfonso captures the organism on canvas as best he can, perhaps to preserve the moments they contain. Alfonso and Peterson will be hanging at Bardo for the opening; drop by and learn more.
Merikokeb Berhanu (Ethiopian), "Untitled LXX," 2021, acrylic paint on canvas. Denver Art Museum: Native Arts acquisition funds.
© Merikokeb Berhanu, courtesy Lucy Emms Photography and Addis Fine Art
Reimagined Hamilton Building Collection Galleries
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway

Sunday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Moments like this happen for a reason. In this case, it’s Mother’s Day and a free day at the Denver Art Museum, where the last major stage in its reinstallation of permanent collections will debut on Sunday, May 14. If you have an artsy mom, your day is already planned for perfection. The Arts of Africa, Modern and Contemporary Art and Arts of Oceania Galleries are the hot destination of the day, complete with updated and recent art selections sharing space and thematic rearrangements. Thinking about lunch? Make your reservation at the Ponti here ASAP. Reserve your free museum tickets here.

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