Visual Arts

First Friday: Co-ops celebrate milestones and art is in the air

There's no time like the present. It's time to get gallery-hopping, and the first First Friday of the year has plenty to offer. Such as:

Art District on Santa Fe

Mark Penner Howell's solo show at Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, opened last night, but if you missed the reception, no worries: In addition to tonight's First Friday gallery open house, The New Normal: Recent paintings by Mark Penner Howell remains on view through January 29. Call 720-904-1088.

Several galleries are following a Denver tradition by hosting member shows this January; that would include a a CORE member show as well as a 30th anniversary exhibit showcasing works by selected past members at CORE New Art Space, 900 Santa Fe Drive, and a group show at Kanon Collective, 766 Santa Fe Drive.

The Center for Visual Art/MSCD, 965 Santa Fe Drive, follows a similar tack in presenting Collective Nouns: MSCD Art Faculty Exhibition, which opens with a reception tonight, along with one part of E.C. Cunningham: From Wichita to Nighthawk -- a Retrospective in Two Parts, featuring Cunningham's works from 2008 to 2010 (Part I opens later this month at the Emmanuel Gallery on the Auraria campus). Abecedarian Gallery, 910 Santa Fe Drive, starts fresh with a mixed media installation from Elizabeth M. Claffey, recipient of the book-art gallery's exhibition grant for students and emerging artists. Also opening tonight: Rock, Paper, Stories, featuring works by Denver students Jonathon Wiley and Liz Greene.

There's plenty more up and down the drive: Take your time; enjoy the vibe.

River North Art District

In RiNo, Ice Cube Gallery @ the Dry Ice Factory, 3320 Walnut Street, races into 2011 with Icebreaker 2.0, a bold juried show that's expanded from last year's gamut of RiNo-centric artists to a roster of artists from all over Colorado.

Jonathan Kaplan's ceramic show Modern Moche continues through the end of January at Plinth Gallery, 3520 Brighton Boulevard; Plinth celebrates tonight with salon-style concert by Primal Mates (admission is $12 and reservations are recommended) and a private showing of works by Mata Ortiz; tomorrow night, the gallery will join in a new Second Saturday tradition kickstarted by neighboring Wazee Union with an open house of its own.

Check the RiNo website for other worthwhile stops, including excellent shows at Plus Gallery and RedLine Renegade, a group show by resident artists at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street.

Tennyson Street

Tennyson Street's got variety this evening, beginning with a solo show of new works by Denver artist Brian Comber, which opens tonight at Sellars Project Space, 4383 Tennyson Street, and continues through February 2. The gallery will also host another reception on January 21, followed by an artist talk at noon January 22. This month's First Friday Mini-Shop project at EvB Studios is one of ceramic artist Marie Gibbons's favorite themed make-and-take clay workshops: Intention Cookies are clay fortune cookies you stuff with a piece of paper listing your intentions for the new year. In a twist, Gibbons asks that participants first write down something they want to get rid of in 2011; that one will burn up during firing, to be replaced later with a keeper intention. Cost of the entire project is $10 and includes everything; drop in between 6 and 9 p.m.

And just around the corner from the clay studio, self-proclaimed "Signtologist" Dan Ericson, who paints savvy works on street signs will unveil a show at Tenn Street Coffee, 4418 Tennyson Street. His works is fun, edgy and affordable; drop by from 6 to 9 p.m.

Navajo Street Arts District

On Navajo Street, where some of Denver's oldest artist co-ops still thrive, along with some newer ones, everyone has member shows, from Pirate: Contemporary Art, 3655 Navajo Street, celebrating its 31st anniversary, to Zip 37 and Next Gallery. Edge Gallery, though, is ceding its space this month to the Colorado Photographic Arts Center 2011 Juried Show, featuring photographs by 23 artists, selected by photographer Elijah Gowin and curator April Watson. Edge is at 3658 Navajo Street; visit CPAC's website for information.

Golden Triangle/South Broadway

In the Golden Triangle, Bobbi Walker offers a peek at what's to come this year at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue in the Prado, with 2011: Year in Preview, featuring works by a year's worth of 2011 exhibition artists at the gallery.

And finally, South Broadway indie gallery Illiterate, 82 S. Broadway, features a lovely installation of woodblock prints and drawings, S.D. Prochyra: Requiem. Be there or be square.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd