You don’t have to wait until First Friday to see new art in Denver — there are plenty of shows up right now that include thought-provoking content that's just plain beautiful. Here are a few exhibits opening tonight to get you started.
Joel Swanson: A.K.A.
David B. Smith Gallery
March 27 through April 25
Opening Reception: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday March 27
Joel Swanson’s new works riff on the ridiculous and tax the imagination: For the series Color Poems, he’s taken pages straight out of image-conscious design catalogues, leaving only the fancy descriptors — “Rookwood Sash Green” and “Fading Rose” — to make a statement. The theme also runs through new neon works, which are named after car fresheners, and minimal steel wall installations that anonymously mimic the flattened boxes of products while sporting Madison-Avenue names. Art for thought!
Confected: New Work by Jason DeMarte
March 27 through May 9
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 27
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In a similar vein, but on an opposite path, photographer Jason DeMarte plays with pictures from the natural world by dressing them up with consumer-ready imagery — flowers so lush that they seem fake and candy sprinkles — for Confected, a solo Month of Photography offering that upends our need to dress things up with a commercial sheen. Catch the work at tonight’s reception; tomorrow, DeMarte gives a 2 p.m. slide talk about the work, "An Artificial Relationship to Nature: Work by Jason DeMarte,” at RedLine (where some of his photographs also hang as part of MoP’s Playing With Beauty exhibition).
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March 27 through April 24
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday March 27
Gallery 1261 greets spring with a group exhibit that’s a figurative-art lover’s paradise. The human face and form is studied by more than 25 masters of the genre — a mixture of gallery artists and special guests — in the show, which demonstrates the genre’s many-sided contemporary edge with large, showy canvases.
Want more? See the Westword art event listings to learn more about current gallery and art museum exhibitions and openings in the metro area.