Far Afield, et al. FAR AFIELD, AWAY OUT OVER EVERYTHING and CONFIGURATION. The interrelated shows all concern the idea of place. FAR AFIELD is a large group effort and features the work of Edward Burtynsky, Guido Guidi, Ray Metzker, Richard Pare, Laura McPhee, Virginia Beahan, Kahn & Selesnick, Gary Emrich, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen and George Woodman. Thorne-Thomsen and Woodman are both former Colorado art professors who were a great influence on their students. AWAY OUT OVER EVERYTHING is a solo dedicated to photos of the Northwest by Mary Peck, while CONFIGURATION includes additional pieces by Woodman and others by Eric Schwartz, Owen O'Meara and Janieta Eyre. All through October 30 at the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788.
Group Show 2. Though the crew at Studio Aiello is not using the word "biennial" for this juried show, that's exactly what it is: Group Show 1 was presented exactly two years ago. Among the large panel of jurors for that first effort, which also marked the venue's grand opening, was Kathy Andrews, the well-known director of the Center for Visual Art. This time Andrews was tapped to go it alone. Out of the hundreds who applied for Group Show 2, she selected thirty. The resulting display is massive, filling several of the enormous gallery's many spaces. Nearly all of the chosen hail from the greater Denver area. Interestingly, there are several artists who've been exhibiting around town for years but do not typically go in for juried shows. Among these established talents are Mark Brasuell, Jerry De La Cruz, Peter Illig, Wendi Harford, Tsehai Johnson and Irene Delka McCray. More expected in an exhibit such as this one are emerging artists like Morgan Barnes, Agnes Kunz Vigil and Justin Simoni. Finally, there's the work of nearly two dozen others who have varying degrees of art experience. Through October 15 at Studio Aiello, 3656 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166. Reviewed September 23.
Manifesto Abstractos. Ibsen Espada, a Houston-based artist originally from Puerto Rico, and Denver's own Frank T. Martinez have been paired at the + Gallery for Manifesto Abstractos because gallery director Gilbert Barrera believes they both create what could be called Hispanic-flavored abstractions. Both artists have been inspired by their shared Hispanic heritage, language (Spanish) and religion (Roman Catholic), and they both embrace culturally specific factors, such as imagery and color. Espada studied art in his native Puerto Rico and in Cuba. Though earlier known for his heavy, black brushwork, his more recent pieces, such as those at +, are made with a squeegee. He uses the window-washer's tool to "draw" ovals and oblong shapes. Martinez is self-taught, and though he has been an artist since childhood, this exhibit marks his first formal outing in the art world. In his paintings, Martinez incorporates small shapes such as circles and squares into his otherwise abstract and expressively painted compositions. Through October 10 at + Gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, 303-296-0927. Reviewed September 23.
MUSCOVITES. Simon Zalkind, director of the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, has a longstanding interest in photography and in Russia, which makes the fall opener, MUSCOVITES: Ilya Ilf and Mark Markov-Grinberg: Photographs 1930-1940, a natural for him. The exhibit pairs photos by Ilya Ilf, a Soviet journalist, with those by Mark Markov-Grinberg, a Soviet photojournalist. The notable artists worked during the Stalin era, when many Jews embraced communism. Both men, though part of the official press, felt the need to change their names so they would sound less Jewish. It was prescient, considering what was to happen. The exhibit juxtaposes everyday views of life by Ilf with Markov-Grinberg's shots, which record historic events of the time. The exhibit is a collaborative effort of the Mizel and the University of Denver's Center for Judaic Studies, with center director David Shneer having played a major role in facilitating the show. Noted collectors Paul and Teresa Harbaugh were also involved. Through November 4 at the Singer Gallery of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, 350 South Dahlia Street, 303-316-6360.
Open Press LTD. Nineteen eighty-nine was a bad year for the economy in Denver, but no one told the artists, so lots of things were happening in the art world. It was the year that one of the city's cultural treasures, Open Press, was founded. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the fine-print facility, which has specialized in working with local artists, the Gallery of Contemporary Art on the campus of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is putting on Open Press LTD. A 15-Year Retrospective. GCA director Gerry Riggs selected the pieces, but he got considerable input from Mark Lunning, founder and master printer of Open Press. Riggs and Lunning included thirty artists; surprisingly, each is sampled in depth rather than having only a piece or two in the show. The roster reads like a who's who of Denver art of the recent past: Lynn Heitler, Doris Laughton, Homare Ikeda, Reed Weimer, Joe Higgins, Dave Yust, Joellyn Duesberry, Dale Chisman, Tony Ortega, Dismas Rotta and Viviane Le Courtois. It's an interesting and diverse lineup. Through October 1 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway on the UCCS campus, Colorado Springs, 1-719-262-3567. Reviewed September 23.
The Show of Good Fortune, et al. Longtime Pirate co-op member Brian Comber is presenting The Show of Good Fortune in the main space. This is Comber's seventh annual show at Pirate, and it's different from his previous efforts, because instead of exhibiting large figural abstractions, he's presenting his other passion: intaglio prints, many of which were done at Denver's Open Press. The prints were all inspired by the proverbs in fortune cookies, with the titles of the pieces being the so-called fortunes themselves. In the Associates' Space is Ground of Being, a solo that's made up of recent drawings and paintings by Lorey Hobbs. The drawings included are preparatory studies for the paintings. Though Hobbs is still a student, she has found early success and is already represented by the prestigious Sandy Carson Gallery. Hobbs works in an abstract-expressionist style and an automatist method, but she does make broad references to the figure and the landscape. An opening reception for these shows and others will be held on Friday, September 17, from 7 to 10 p.m. Through October 3 at Pirate: a contemporary art oasis, 3659 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058.
SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES. The Colorado Photographic Arts Center is hosting a memorial show, SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES: photographs by Ronald W. Wohlauer, that was curated by John Grant, whose day job is with the Mayor's Office of Art, Culture and Film. Wohlauer, who died earlier this year, was a giant among local photographers, as well as being a highly regarded photographic educator. His work was in the tradition of the West Coast masters such as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who have their work professionally processed, Wohlauer did it the old-fashioned way -- all by himself in the darkroom, of which he was an acknowledged master. The CPAC exhibit focuses on work from the 1990s that appeared in a book titled SMALL ROOMS and HIDDEN PLACES, which was published only days after his untimely death. The photos concern four of Wohlauer's favorite subjects: the British Isles, the Mountain West, the West Coast and his Denver studio. Through October 9 at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1513 Boulder Street, 303-455-8999. Reviewed September 16.