2011: Year in Preview. Bobbi Walker, owner of Walker Fine Art, has employed a clever way to create an automatic group show by putting together examples of work by all of the artists who will be featured in duets this year. The show looks good, but what's really neat is the way it demonstrates the direction in which the gallery is headed. It's interesting to note that Walker has strengths in abstract painting and sculpture, photography and, with Denver master Roland Bernier on board, conceptualism. Bernier, who displays a series of his classic word pieces on paper, is just one of several significant Colorado artists represented by Walker; others include Albert Chong, Ben Strawn, Bonny Lhotka, Mark Castator and up-and-coming photo- and installation artist Sabin Aell. There are also artists from elsewhere who are part of the festivities — notably, the Corvo Brothers, who do surrealist photos. Through February 5 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, 303-355-8955, www.walkerfineart.com.
Collective Nouns and E. C. Cunningham. Metropolitan State College has a special place in Denver's art world. Not only does it have the biggest set of visual-arts departments in the state, but it includes a mini-museum, the Center for Visual Art. These two factors only rarely come together, but they do in Collective Nouns, a group show featuring members of the art faculty from the college. Organized by center director Jennifer Garner and assistant director Cecily Cullen, the exhibit was self-curated with a request for submissions from artists who teach at Metro. As revealed by the show, conceptualism reigns at Metro, with installations, photos and paintings done in that style throughout. A bonus show-within-a-show, E. C. Cunningham: From Wichita to Nighthawk, highlights the career of this longtime printmaking professor, who died last year. Through February 19 at the Metro State Center for Visual Art, 969 Santa Fe Drive, 303-294-5207, www.metrostatecva.org. Reviewed January 27.
Dale Chisman. The long-awaited posthumous salute to one of the state's great abstractionists, Dale Chisman in Retrospect looks at around forty years' worth of work by this important artist, and for that reason alone, it's an important show. But there's more to it than that: These pieces, when brought together, clearly communicate Chisman's point of view, in which beauty was paramount. The exhibit was organized by Jennifer Doran and Jim Robischon, whose Robischon Gallery represents Chisman's estate. Doran served as curator, and she installed the solo in reverse chronological order, so that viewers begin with the pieces Chisman completed shortly before his death in 2008 and go back in stages to his work from the '70s. The show reveals Chisman's interest in the figure-to-ground relationship, and abstract elements sit on top of color fields in almost everything here. The brushwork is spontaneous, his compositions instinctual. And Chisman's sense of color was courageous: He was never afraid of the primaries of red, yellow and blue — and he also liked black a lot. Don't miss it. Through February 27 at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, 303-296-4448, www.redlineart.org.
Joan Moment and Monroe Hodder. Though Joan Moment has spent the past four decades in California, she began her art career right here in Colorado in the late '60s when she was a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. That makes it easy to associate her work with that of George Woodman, a highly influential teacher at the time, and with Clark Richert, a fellow student then. Like them, Moment is interested in doing programmatic work that relates to patterning, meaning her work is abstract but also has conceptual content. Moment's solo has been paired with Monroe Hodder's, another neo-modernist, but where the former uses circles as her principal aesthetic device, the latter uses stripes. The two different bodies of work come together brilliantly. Hodder lives in Colorado, but she also has a studio in London. In addition to the Moment and Hodder shows, the gallery is presenting offerings by Carrie Lederer, a postmodern painter, and Jeff Aeling, a neo-traditionalist who lives in Missouri but paints Colorado's celebrity landscape. Through February 19 at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360, www.williamhavugallery.com. Reviewed January 13.
Marc Brandenburg. The latest German artist to be introduced to local audiences by Denver Art Museum director Christoph Heinrich is Marc Brandenburg, a Berlin native. The artist is the subject of a handsome solo, Marc Brandenburg: Deutch-Amerikanishe Freundschaft, installed on level three of the Hamilton Building. Brandenburg came up with the German punk scene of the '80s, and the show's title, which means "German-American Friendship," is also the name of a rock band. His style is hyper-realist with a twist: Working in graphite on paper and using photos as studies, Brandenburg reverses the blacks and whites. Among the range of subjects are people out and about, on the streets or in parks. Technically, Brandenburg is as good as it gets; his drawings are breathtakingly precise. His punk heritage is hardly on view, but his continuing interest in being outrageous is well demonstrated by the floor drawing "Vomit," in which the artist has photographed vomit on the sidewalk and then done copies in graphite. Through February 20 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed December 16.