Photographs are our journal of life, manipulated through a myriad of personal lenses and rendered by technology and technique. They capture moments and unfold fantastical vignettes, retell history, bring us to tears and leave us breathless with beauty. That’s why we have a Month of Photography — to celebrate artists who see the world through a singular blend of reality and alchemy. And it’s no accident that MoP happens on the edge of spring, bringing color and depth and a sense of wonder to the Front Range.
It’s not always easy to know where to begin with the ever-growing roster to choose from, so here’s some help getting started: ten shows to focus on during the Month of Photography.
1) Andrea Modica, Human Being
Fulginiti Pavilion Gallery, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Through May 14
This show is a stark record by Andrea Modica of the gruesome find in 1993 of more than 100 anonymous skeletons buried on the grounds of the Colorado Mental Health Institute. Spooky and strangely clinical, the exhibit demonstrates photography’s investigative power: “We hope that this exhibit will encourage a conversation about historical and aesthetic dimensions of the photograph as evidence and elegy, within the context of Modica’s Human Being – a tragic story of the forgotten lives and the deaths of people who lived in Colorado over a century ago,” says Fulginiti’s Simon Zalkind, who curated the show with Eric Paddock of the Denver art Museum.
2) What Has Never Been…Is, a Surrealist Manifesto
Through April 3
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At Hinterland, Sabin Aell has hung a group show that explores not only surrealistic imagery, but also unique photography-based techniques and mixed media from mostly local artists (though some sent work from as far away as Australia). “Surrealism is very open, and it’s up to the artists to decide what is surrealism for them,” Aell recently told Westword. “I think it’s a really wide-open field, and I always like to get work that is something different and not so generic. I also like different mediums, or mixed media, in photography-based work. It can be basically anything.”
3) The Origins of Photography, Past and Present
Pattern Shop Studio
March 6 through May 2
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 6
Closing reception: 6 to 9 p.m. May 2
MoP director Mark Sink examines photographic processes from a historical perspective at Pattern Shop, which gathers work made through alternative processes old and new. Beginning with a pastiche of daguerreotypes, wet-plate collodion tintypes, ambrotypes, cyanotypes, photogravure and other forms of darkroom magic from another century, Sink brings the mystery of these photographic techniques up to date. We might live in a digital world, but analog is nice, too; Sink, who champions old-style alchemy in his own work, shows us the way. Along with two receptions, Pattern Shop will host a couple of salons with demonstrations from 2 to 5 p.m. on March 21 and April 18.
4) The Long Road: a Photographic Journey
Dona Laurita Gallery, Louisville
March 6 through April 26
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 6
Reception for Hal Gould: 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 7
First Friday reception: 6 to 9 p.m. April 3
MoP wouldn’t be complete without a bow to Hal Gould, whose Camera Obscura Gallery championed the art of photography in Denver for more than thirty years. Works by Gould, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, are included in this show, along with shots by Loretta Young-Gautier, Jude Sanchez, Dona Laurita and others. On Saturday, March 7, join the nonagenarian photographer for an afternoon birthday celebration at the gallery. More special events to be announced.
5) Playing with Beauty and Role Play
March 14 through April 25
Opening reception: 6 to 10 p.m. March 14
RedLine serves as MoP central for the next several weeks, and that includes two major group exhibits — Playing with Beauty, curated by Mark Sink, and Role Play, curated by Rupert Jenkins and Conor King of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center — and they’re both guaranteed to give audiences an eyeful of contemporary techniques and ideas in photography. Sink tangles with the question of “What is Beautiful?,” while CPAC’s duo present creative self-portraits. RedLine will also host a flurry of MoP events and talks in March and April; stay on top of the schedule at MoP online at mopdenver.com.
6) Far Between
March 19 through May 2
Opening reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19
Robischon brings a slew of artists working in photo-based mediums out of its stable for a fine survey of fantastical works. Enter the worlds of Kahn + Selesnick, Halim Al Karim, David Zimmer, Chi Peng, Ruud van Empel, Christine Buchsbaum and Wang Ningde for a trip through storybook photography and the stuff of dreams.
7) It’s All Here in Black and White
March 20 through April 4
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 20
Juror’s presentation: 7 p.m. April 3
Photographer Terri Bell opens her tiny gallery in the Fresh Art Studios behind Core on Santa Fe Drive during MoP for a show dedicated to black-and-white imagery as only a camera can capture it. Juror Rupert Jenkins of CPAC chose work by nearly twenty artists for exhibit; their entries will also be recorded in a show catalog that includes additional images of merit selected by Jenkins and Bell.
8) Confected: New Photographs by Jason DeMarte
March 27 through May 9
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 27
Jason DeMarte’s imagery blends remnants of nature and fake accouterments to comment on the encroachment of commercialism in modern times. His technicolor birds flit through artificial greenery and deer gambol through fabricated woods. DeMarte, who also has work in Mark Sink’s Playing With Beauty, will give an artist talk at RedLine from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 28.
9) The Denver Collage Club
Robert Anderson Gallery
April 3 through May 30
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During March, Robert Anderson is playing host to the gelatin and pigment prints of fine-art photographers Geoff Winningham and Barbara Mensch. That gives way early in April to a show from the Denver Collage Club, a local group founded by Mark Sink and Mario Zoots, whose members will demonstrate the intersection of photography and collage in their work. Hear from several members at an artist talk at the nearby Ross-Cherry Creek Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on April 28.
10) Denis Roussel – Reclaim | Reuse | Transcend
Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins
Through April 18
Artist reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 3
Denis Roussel, a local treasure who often works with alternative photographic processes, devoted this show to a four-year experimental project for which he photographed his own backyard compost and recycling bins. “I created one-of-a-kind photographs and sculptural objects to reveal the intrinsic value of my subjects and highlight the importance of simple personal actions in the struggle to protect our environment,” he explains. For MoP, Roussel shares the C4AP galleries with Regarding Beauty, a group show juried by Kathleen Clark, and a solo, 99 Variations, from Young Kang, making the trip to Fort Collins even more worthwhile.
There’s much more to MoP than this! To explore additional exhibitions and events visit the MoP website.