Art Review

Jim Milmoe at the Byers-Evans House Gallery

Jim Milmoe is a legend in the local photo scene, with a career more than six decades long — most of it in Colorado. He moved to the state in the 1940s to attend Colorado College, where he graduated in 1949; he later earned an MFA from the University of Denver. Over the years, Milmoe has worn a number of different hats. He's been a teacher, a freelance photographer, a commercial photographer and a fine artist.

His photographic output has also been diverse, and he has steadfastly refused to be pigeonholed into taking on just one subject or type of work. This is unusual, because most photographers stake out an aesthetic territory and rarely wander outside of it. These wide-ranging interests are highlighted in Jim Milmoe: Choice at the Byers-Evans House Gallery (1310 Bannock Street, 303-620-4933,

Some of the pieces included date back over half a century, while others were just done during the last few months, with additional works created at various dates in between. Milmoe himself curated the compelling exhibit with help from Jack Curfman, who oversaw the installation. The many series he samples are still open as Milmoe adds new work. These include "People," "Found Art," "Cemeteries," "Nature," "Architectural Details," "Abstraction" and "Humor." Each category is given its own section of the densely installed show, and all have their particular strengths.

Milmoe is probably best known for the "Cemeteries" series, but my favorite group is "Abstraction," as represented by "Poster, Berlin" (pictured), a film-based color print that captures torn and weathered posters on an outdoor wall.

The Milmoe photos also reflect the technical changes that have overtaken photography over the decades; some are made with film, while others are digital. Milmoe was interested in both classic black-and-white imagery and in color work, but if there's one thing that links nearly all the disparate approaches, it's his abiding interest in doing straight-on shots. Through January 31 at the Byers-Evans House.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia