Homare Ikeda. It's been five years since the artist had his last solo in town, making Homare Ikeda at Sandy Carson Gallery something rare and special. Plus, the show's a knockout. The self-titled exhibit is very large, spreading out through most of the multi-space gallery, and is completely made up of work Ikeda did during the few months that he held an artist residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska. Ikeda is one of a number of Denver artists to have taken advantage of the Bemis lately, owing to director Mark Masuoka's former connection to the Mile High City. There's nothing amazing about an artist creating a large body of work during a several-month gig at an art retreat, but there is something unusual when it's Ikeda, since he's traditionally worked very slowly. The new works are signature Ikeda, showing off his taste for awkward forms held out of balance in uneasy compositions, all carried out using unevenly applied pigments. They're really strange and very fine. Through July 7 at Sandy Carson Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585. Reviewed June 7.
Japanese Art. The spectacular exhibit Japanese Art From the Colorado Collection of Kimiko and John Powers is installed in the Gallagher Family Gallery of the Denver Art Museum's new Hamilton Building. It was put together by Ron Otsuka, the esteemed curator of Asian art who has built an important collection during his thirty-plus years at the institution. Decades ago, Otsuka established a friendship with the Powerses, which is why they put their collection of more than 300 Japanese masterworks on long-term loan with the DAM. It's from this hoard that Otsuka chose the more than 100 objects he included in Japanese Art. As collectors, the Powerses were old-fashioned connoisseurs who chose things based on their innate fineness. "They were certainly very selective," says Otsuka in something of an understatement, considering the high quality of these pieces. The Powerses, who are also known for their stunning modern-art collection, sought out Japanese works of art that anticipate modernism despite that fact that they are hundreds of years old. Through July 8 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. Reviewed January 25.
Kim Dickey: Cold Pastoral. Artist Kim Dickey, who teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has turned her solo at Rule Gallery into a single coherent installation made up of large-format color photos, ceramic sculptures and mirrored tiles that refer to historic French gardens. Most of the photos, carried out in light jet prints, are hung at wide intervals on the gallery's long unbroken south wall, which seems to go on and on because Dickey lined the back wall with the mirrored tiles. Evenly spaced between the photos are a series of ceramic sculptures based on potted topiary plants, the kind of thing seen in the photos. Several sculptures have integral concrete pedestals that work well with the ceramic plants on top of them. The title, Cold Pastoral, seems inordinately apt, as this show makes Rule feel chilly even on a hot summer day. Through July 7 at Rule Gallery, 227 Broadway, 303-777-9473. Reviewed May 24.
Masterpieces of Colorado Landscape. The world-famous scenery of the nearby Colorado Rockies — the gorgeous mountains, not the sorry baseball team — has attracted artists to our state for well over a century. This broad narrative provides a foundation for Masterpieces of Colorado Landscape at Golden's Foothills Art Center. The show includes a large selection of historic landscape paintings and juxtaposes them with an equally large assortment of contemporary landscape paintings. It's a traveling show put together by Rose Glaser Fredrick to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Colorado Council on the Arts. Fredrick chose historic artists who worked in impressionism, expressionism and cubo-regionalism, including Birger Sandzén, Ernest Lawson, Vance Kirkland, Charles Bunnell and Frank Vavra. Sadly, the show falls apart as it moves into contemporary landscape painting because Fredrick tried to cover too much stylistic ground. Still, there are some great things included, such as the pieces by Chuck Forsman, Tracy Felix and Joe Arnold. Through July 8 at Foothills Art Center, 809 Fifteenth Street, Golden, 303-279-9470. Reviewed May 24.