Art Attack: Spring Forward With a Fantastic First Friday in Denver

Alexandrea Pangburn, “Nevada” and “Valentino,” both acrylic on wood panel. Valkarie Gallery.
Alexandrea Pangburn, “Nevada” and “Valentino,” both acrylic on wood panel. Valkarie Gallery. Alexandrea Pangburn
It’s a fine and full First Friday in April, with lots of variety and spring vibes with a human-versus-animal theme. Xi Zhang, a former Denverite with unending buzz, brings a sensitive solo exhibition to the Ent Center in Colorado Springs, schools trot out year-end student showcases, and the Art District on Santa Fe is very, very busy.

Bring your grown-up eyes and look for the best in art from Denver’s young talent, other newbies and electric phenoms.
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Abby Gregg, "Home Feeder," oil on canvas.
Abby Gregg
Abby Gregg, Beneath the Biophony
Meow Wolf Denver, 1338 1st Street
Through June 30
Abby Gregg’s installation Beneath the Biome should be right at home in the immersive wilds of Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. Gregg’s site-specific work comprises a combination of paintings and sculpture with an enhancing soundscape, all drawing viewers into a microscopic, musical, underwater world.
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Xi Zhang, “The Ghost Town,” 2020, acrylic on canvas.
Courtesy of Xi Zhang
Xi Zhang, Exit: Childtown
Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery, Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs
Thursday, April 6, through Saturday, July 1
Visiting Artists Lecture: Thursday, April 6, 6 p.m., Chapman Foundations Recital Hall, Ent Center
In 2004, the extraordinary painter Xi Zhang landed in Denver from Kaifeng, China, to continue his art studies at the Rocky Mountain School of Art & Design. It wasn’t long before Zhang, drawn to Colorado by its romantic association with the Beat poets, became a force on the Front Range as an artist to watch. After he earned an MFA at the University of Colorado Boulder, Ivar Zeile of Plus Gallery swept him up under his wing, and the rest is history. Although Zhang no longer lives in Colorado, he’s still a guy who’s whispered about in these parts. See why when he returns with a big solo exhibition at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs of work from his ongoing painting series Metallic Leaf Garden. The show, Exit: Childtown, curated by Zeile, displays a deep pathos for the loneliness of being human, using broad color, metaphor and oblique storytelling to comment on contemporary life.

Zhang will give a Visiting Artists and Critics Series lecture during the opening reception on April 6 (space is limited and an RSVP is required here for the free event). Zeile, who knows Zhang’s work better than anyone, will also give a free gallery talk on the show on Saturday, June 17, from 4 to 5 p.m.

Brandon Vargas, Predators Pray
Nam Nghiem, DSPRS
Art Gym, 1460 Leyden Street
Thursday, April 6, through May 7
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
RSVP at Eventbrite
Two solo shows debut at Art Gym, beginning in the main gallery with Predators Pray from Brandon Vargas, whose paintings of animals communing reveal the contrast of how human connections are held in check by an overarching conscience. In Art Gym’s Leyden Jar space, member Nam Nghiem hosts DSPRS, comprising new abstract works of found images altered by inkjet printing and digital processes, removing all function from the remaining forms. The final product, mass-produced silkscreen prints of the abstract imagery, point to the larger proliferation of information in society. Both exhibitions run through May 7.
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Mark Bueno, "First Blush," 2019.
Mark Bueno
Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition
Bueno! Mark Bueno
Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard,

Friday, April 7, through May 7
Spotlight Jeffco Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
The Arvada Center fetes Jeffco Schools high school artists and graduates with a triple whammy of shows, including Jeffco students and graduates Mark Bueno and Wendy Kowynia, both now professional artists in the community.
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Jason Garcia, “Inga & Julia,” 2023, pigment print on silk.
Jason Garcia
Jason Garcia: Atlas
RiNo ArtPark, Alto Gallery, 1900 35th Street, Suite B
Friday, April 7, through April 29
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 6 to 10 p.m.
Denver muralist Jason Garcia borrows ideas from his super-sized murals for smaller paintings using the Indigenous symbol of a woven ojo de Dios (God’s eye); he uses patterns that reference yet alter the symbol’s shape and meaning for individual viewers. What you see can be as singular as a snowflake.
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Colleen Tully, "When Day Is Done,” oil on wood.
Colleen Tully
Colleen Tully, Werifesteria
Guest Artist Alexandrea Pangburn

Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Lakewood
Through April 30
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Valkarie member Coleen Tully and guest artist Alexandrea Pangburn debut exhibitions on First Friday, when gallery-goers will see a combination of Tully’s romantic gothic figures, who dissolve into dark landscapes and monotone florals, and Pangburn’s lifelike paeans to the wild nature of animals.
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Flor y Cantos opens its petals at CHAC Gallery on First Friday.
Courtesy of CHAC Gallery
Flor y Canto
CHAC Gallery, 1560 Teller Street, Lakewood
Through May 19
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 5 to 9 p.m.
CHAC pays homage to the mesoamerican festival of Flor y Canto, meaning flower and song. The festival is about communing with nature, inspiration, sacred poetry, music and dance. It’s a perfect welcome to spring, so expect bright, colorful imagery from ancient lore and contemporary life, along with special performances by storytellers, musicians and poets to honor CHAC artist Rita Flores-Wallace, who is a traditional folk artist, dancer and choreographer.

Felipe Dominguez, Julio Mendoza and Mark Romero: Tres Muralistas Art Show
BuCu West Development Center, 4200 Morrison Road, Unit 3
Friday, April 7, 5 to 8 p.m.
BuCu West honors Westwood muralists Felipe Dominguez, Julio Mendoza and Mark Romero, who’ve brightened Morrison Road with murals and decorated electrical boxes while also teaching art to neighborhood children. The trio will be showing original paintings, prints and other art forms.
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Angel Estrada, “San Isabel #3, 2022, reduction linocut.
Angel Estrada
Angel Estrada: Landscape Prints
Through June 2
Oz Gallery, Thornton Arts & Culture Center, 9209 Dorothy Boulevard, Thornton
Opening Reception: April 7, 6 to 8 p.m.
Monoprinting Workshop: Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. to noon, $5, register here.
Denver artist, printmaker and art educator Angel Estrada hangs a print show of Colorado-specific landscapes that simplify our state’s natural beauty into a celebration of color and shapes or black-and-white textures, using uncomplicated monotype and linocut processes, as well as watercolor and ink. Estrada will also teach a monotype workshop on Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to noon; it’s open to adults and children ages ten and up with a caregiver.
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Bradley Klem, “Bag to Table Set.”
Bradley Klem, Art Students' League of Denver
delecTABLE: The Fine Art of Dining
Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant Street
Saturday, April 8, through May 21
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; $15, RSVP here.
Artist Reception/2023 Award Announcements: Friday, April 28, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The Art Students League of Denver’s biennial fundraiser and show delecTABLE is back, with its emphasis on handmade functional ceramic works for the table and kitchen. This year’s exhibition begins with a ticketed reception and first opportunity to see and buy the clay treasures, then runs through May 21. Check out the array of 89 pieces by nearly seventy artists online in advance.

Bulb Fiction: Ceramic Lamps and Luminaries
Urban Mud, 530 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, April 7, through May 20
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The artists of Urban Mud saw the light, and Bulb Fiction, an exhibition of functional ceramic lamps, was born. The membership-based ceramic studio serves more than forty clay artists working in a variety of genres, and that will show in the assortment of lamps available, which might be pinched, coiled, wheel-thrown or slab-built.

MSU Denver BFA Thesis Exhibition
Center for Visual Art MSUD, 965 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, April 7, through May 5
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 6 to 8 p.m.

A BFA Thesis show is a telling moment for a young artist-in-training. It’s a real-world moment — often the students’ first chance to exhibit the full fruits of learning in a cohesive body that hints at the future. And it’s First Friday! If you’re in the Art District on Santa Fe, drop in and see how they’re doing. Ten years from now, remember their names.
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Resident artist Maki Teshima worked together to create artwork with students at Access Gallery.
Courtesy of Access Gallery
KoiNobori: Swimming Upstream and Stitched Access
Access Gallery, 909 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, April 7, through May 5
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 6 to 9 p.m.; RSVP at Eventbrite
Access’s artist-in-residence program is making waves in furthering the gallery’s mission of offering arts-based educational and vocational training to young people with disabilities. Two such residencies are showcased this weekend with the opening of a pair of shows. For KoiNobori: Swimming Upstream, resident Maki Teshima worked with students last fall on textile dyeing techniques on natural materials. The students then created koi-fish banners similar to those hung in Japan to celebrate Children’s Day. Stitched Access employed teaching artists Karli Beedle and Jackie Drummond in facilitating a student fashion project, which also offers a sneak peek at Access Gallery’s fashion show planned for the fall.

Fifth Anniversary Celebration: A Dessert Party
FoolProof Contemporary Art, 3240 Larimer Street
Friday, April 7, 6 p.m.
FoolProof falls somewhere between a cooperative and a commercial gallery, adding selected member artists who go through a formal application process and offering gallery services in return for a $60 monthly fee. It works well enough to have lasted five years, in spite of the pandemic and a changing local art scene, and that’s a reason to celebrate. You’re invited to the First Friday celebration party; leave room for dessert.
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Michele Messenger, "Elephant Birds," encaustic.
Michele Messenger
Elephant in the Room
Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, April 7, through June 4
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 5 to 8 p.m.
Niza Knoll celebrates the elephant with a diverse new juried show opening Friday. Knoll selected more than twenty artists for the exhibition with art in all styles and mediums that will hang around the centerpiece: a giant papier-mâché elephant — created by Knoll, with extra elephant power provided by Georgianne Rollman and Kristy Melodia.
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Catch I is an other before it leaves Lane Meyer Projects.
Matt O'Neill / Mark Gualtieri
Mark Gualtieri and Matt O’Neill, I is an other
Lane Meyer Projects, 2528 Walnut Street
Closing Reception: Friday, April 7, 8 p.m. to late
Here’s a last chance to see this duet at Lane Meyer Projects, a showcase of Gualtieri’s loose, color-blocked abstracted landscapes and portraits and O’Neill’s maze-like abstract compositions with a modernist edge. I is an other officially closes Sunday.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to [email protected].
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