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Colorado Art Survey VIII. Every year, Kirkland Museum director Hugh Grant organizes a show in which new acquisitions are combined with pieces already in the collection to illustrate the art history of the state. Grant lays out the somewhat sequential stylistic categories in roughly chronological order. The date range for this year's version is 1875 (a landscape by Hamilton Hamilton) to 2011 (a combine-painting by Emilio Lobato and a ceramic piece by Jeff Wenzel). In between are some remarkable things, notably a newly acquired 1920s Robert Reid painting of the Broadmoor Hotel as seen from the mountains. Reid, a nationally known impressionist, taught at the Broadmoor Academy at the time. Also notable is a '30s view of the Garden of the Gods by Ward Lockwood, another Broadmoor Academy teacher. This being the Kirkland, a good deal of the show is dedicated to modernism, including surrealism and various types of abstraction, with examples by Al Wynne, Ken Goehring, Mary Chenoweth, Charles Bunnell and others. Through April 21 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576,

Sam Scott & Jim Waid; Homare Ikeda. The spacious main floor at the William Havu Gallery has been given over to a strong duet, 100 Years of Painting: Sam Scott & Jim Waid. The reason that the century mark is referred to in the title is because Scott and Waid each have a fifty-year-art-career under their individual belts. Scott, who has long lived in New Mexico, creates paintings that at first glance appear to exemplify abstract expressionism. Closer examination, however, reveals various cues indicating that underneath the daubs and smears lies a landscape -- which in turn explains why the series on view is called "Earth, Water and Sky." Waid hails from Tucson, and he also refers to nature in his abstracted scenes, but he's more obvious, using a number of recognizable elements like birds and cactus, though there's also a lot of pure abstraction mixed in. His style is something like a cross between black velvet paintings and Jean-Michel Basquiat compositions. Upstairs on the mezzanine is a show devoted to Homare Ikeda's quirky abstracts, which luxuriously stack painterly gestures and oddball forms. Through March 2 at William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360,

Second Annual Edge Juried Show. Plus Gallery owner Ivar Zeile is the juror for this show, only the second juried display that Edge has ever mounted. The front space has been divided up with temporary walls; the show continues into the Associates' Space in the back, where pieces chosen during a second round of judging have been put on view. Interestingly, this is where one of the exhibit's showstoppers is hanging: a big, luscious abstract painting by Rebecca Cuming, who's also in the Pirate juried show and thus looks to be one of this season's up-and-comers. The same could be said for Faith Williams, whose conceptual work is really cool. One piece is a bas-relief comprising figure silhouettes made of cut-up business cards mounted away from the wall on pins, like insect specimens. It's elegant and smart. Similar in conception is the cut-photo wall piece of nudes assembled from different shots by Susan Donatucci Hopp. Pieces by Lelia DeMello, Derek Fortini, L. Iris Gregg, Katherine Johnson, Brenda LaBier, Sarah Rockett, Meagan Stirling and Blia Xiong are also noteworthy. Through January 27 at Edge Gallery, 3658 Navajo Street, 303-477-7173,

Spark Gallery Members' Show. As could be expected, an exhibit given over to the many members of the Spark co-op is wide-ranging — if not a free-for-all. And considering how small the spaces there are, it's also really crowded, exacerbating the lack of cohesion. The Spark membership includes a number of well-established artists on the Denver scene, and there are several nice things included. In this spirit, there's Andy Libertone's powder-coated metal sculpture, which represents his signature style and is related to the work he's been doing for many years with great aesthetic success. Also following their individual directions are pieces by other well-known artists including Rob Watt's embroidery, Sue Simon's work on paper, Annalee Schorr's pattern painting, Madeleine Dodge's painting on metal, and Barbara Carpenter's altered photo on aluminum. Other pieces worth checking out include Susan Rubin's photo-based work, Leo Franco's plastic assemblages, the print by Michaele Keyes, the large abstract painting by Kellie Cannon, and Keith Howard's abstract Sandy Hook drawing. Through January 27 at Spark Gallery, 900 Santa Fe Drive, 720-889-2200,

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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