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Isca Greenfield-Sanders. An up-and-coming New York art star is the subject of a beautiful solo, Isca Greenfield-Sanders: Light Leaks, in the David & Laura Merage Foundation Gallery on the first floor of MCA Denver. The exhibit has been curated by Nora Burnett Abrams, who has also done an accompanying catalogue. Greenfield-Sanders searches yard sales and thrift shops for amateur snapshots from the recent past. For the works in this show, she specifically looked for images that were overexposed and technical failures. Then, using digital technology and painting, she turned them into handsome examples of conceptual realism. The works have a narrative character that refers to the life of affluent white suburbanites. Considering Greenfield-Sanders's reliance on flawed originals of banal subjects — not to mention the use of high-tech mediums — it's interesting how conventionally beautiful the works are. They're reminiscent of the mid-century work of Fairfield Porter, who likewise addressed the art of his own identity. Through January 16 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, Reviewed December 2.

Chi Peng, EYTJ, et al. Chi Peng: New Large Scale is a look at recent work by an up-and-coming art star who began showing internationally even before he graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Known for being a Photoshop wizard, Peng has a taste for inserting figures or birds into expansive views of the landscape and seascape. And the fact that he's in his twenties gave Robischon Gallery director Jennifer Doran the idea to pair his show with one dedicated to younger artists. The result is EYTJ (Even Younger Than Jesus), which highlights the work of artists younger than 33, the age at which Christ was crucified. Some of the artists are from out of town, like William Lamson and Letha Wilson, but most are locals, including Sterling Crispin, Noah Manos, Christine Buchsbaum, Zach Burk. Derrick Velasquez, Brandon Bultman and Ian Fisher. Capping off the offerings is Isca Greenfield-Sanders and Stephen Batura, which pairs a young New Yorker with an older Denverite. Through December 31 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, Reviewed November 25.

Diane Cionni and Holiday Group Show. In the main room at Space is the fascinating New Works by Diane Cionni, made up of paintings depicting blurry, abstracted views of plants. Cionni, who lives in Steamboat Springs, has been a practicing artist for thirty years, but this is a rare glimpse of her work in Denver. Cionni takes photos of her garden and alters them digitally. Then, using rice paper, inks and acrylic pigments, she alters them further, obscuring the details of the originals while enhancing their outlines. The finished products are clearly paintings as opposed to painted photographs, but you can still see their digital origins. In the large rear gallery is Holiday Group Show, highlighting Space's strength — contemporary abstraction — with amazing pieces by Scott Holdeman, Haze Diedrich, Michael McClung, Robin Ault and Tom Bosma, as well as some by Carlene Frances and Pat Orban, who run the Enso Gallery on the mezzanine. Last but hardly least is Lewis McInnis, who's represented by gouaches that are absolutely fabulous. Through December 18 at Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive, 720-904-1088, Reviewed November 18.

Moore in the Gardens. Henry Moore, who died in 1986, was Great Britain's most important modern sculptor. Born in 1898, he began to create artwork shortly after World War I, becoming internationally famous by the 1930s. Moore was one of a legion of important artists who responded to Picasso's surrealism, but he made the style his own. This traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation, has been installed on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, with two pieces at the DBG annex at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). The main part of the exhibit begins in the Boettcher Memorial Center, where a collection of the artist's tools and maquettes are crowded into showcases, and where a single work has been installed in a fountain. Most of the other pieces have been displayed around the gardens. The monumental works, typically in bronze, look absolutely perfect in the landscaped settings. Through January 31 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, Reviewed June 17.

Over the River. For nearly twenty years, artist Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, planned the "Over the River" project, a series of sunshades that hopefully will be installed in a few years as a temporary work of art on intermittent stretches of the Arkansas River in southern Colorado. It's not clear yet whether or not it will happen, though it is clear that a campaign has been mounted against it. In Denver, we're lucky to be just a few hours' drive from the proposed setting — and also to have the opportunity to carefully examine the idea through Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, a Work in Progress, on display at MCA Denver. The exhibit originated with Christo himself, and it suits well the mandate of the museum to encourage dialogue in the visual arts. The show is beautiful and coolly elegant, its coolness having something to do with all the blue sky in the mixed-media works on view. That coolness is also the perfect analogy for "Over the River," since the water, and the sunscreens, would have a cooling effect on viewers — if it's ever built, that is. Through January 16 at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, Reviewed November 4.

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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