Ten shows to see during Month of Photography

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This year's version of Month of Photography is not going to be typecast, no way. The very breadth of the 2013 citywide photography showcase is astonishing and diverse, viewing photographic media from every perspective: In black-and-white and color, super-real and fantastically altered, analog and digital, projected, and cut up and put back together in collages, as demonstrated in works by camera nuts from around the world and right next door.

Even MoP maven Mark Sink, who says MoP has tripled in size since its last incarnation in 2011, had a hard time narrowing the local shows popping up all month along the Front Range to just ten. But we tried, anyway, though we're cheating a bit by including some additional MoP story links below (and there's even more at MoP 2013 online). After that, we serve up our high-profile top ten, in no particular order. Read on.

See also: -PHOS: Light Today at the New Colorado Photographic Arts Center Gallery - Traveling Route 40: Celebrating the Character of Colfax Avenue - Abecedarian Gallery showcases photographic artists' books for Month of Photography 2013

Lucas Foglia: A Natural Order, MCA Denver March 8-April 7, 2013 Opening night celebration, March 15, 6-9 p.m. members, 8-10 p.m. public

Curated by Mark Sink, this show celebrates images shot during Foglia's travels though the Southeast, focusing in particular on people living independent lifestyles on the edge of society. MCA also gave over space to a MoP collage show by Denver artist Mario Zoots, and even its elevator will display Pablo Gimenez Zapiola's Transitions in Life, an animated video work. We all have our ups and downs.

The Reality of Fiction, RedLine Gallery March 8-April 28, 2013 Opening celebration, March 8, 6-10 p.m.

This exhibition, another offering from curator Sink, is both international in scope and a study on the trickery of photography. Humor, fakery, social comment and elaborate staging all figure into the group survey, which includes everything from Joe Clower's Polaroids of UFOs (how DID he do that?) and Michael Ensminger's staged "nature boy" re-creations to Emily Peacock's Diane Arbus tributes and the fake baby shots of Rebecca Martinez. Not to miss, it's a MoP centerpiece, and while you're at RedLine, you can even check out street art wheat-pasted on the walls outside (see below).

The Big Picture, at locations throughout the metro area March 1-30, 2013

This is the second run for Big Picture, which debuted surreptitiously, all over town, in 2011. Part of an international exchange of mural-sized, Xeroxed, wheat-pasted street-art images slapped up on walls indoors and out, the show isn't confined to any one gallery space. The real fun is in finding its traces -- in alleyways and gallery exteriors and hipster havens. For now, the images can be seen at RedLine, the Buffalo Exchange on Broadway, City, O'City, the Denver Performing Arts Complex and other secret spots; keep watching the website or check out the Big Picture's Facebook page for additional information.

Continue reading for more MoP picks. Real is a Feeling, Gildar Gallery March 9-April 6, 2013 Opening Reception, Saturday, March 9, 7-10 p.m.

Think of Adam Gildar's Real is a Feeling group show as a shard of the Reality of Fiction; the ten versatile, forward-thinking artists selected for the exhibit explore the world through imagery filtered by subjectivity. The title for this appropriately contemporary take comes from a song by group-member Travis Egedy, aka local electronic musician Pictureplane, and the conceptual execution should be stunning.

Joel Dallenbach: Sidewalk Stories, Victoria H Myhren Gallery, University Of Denver February 21-March 31, 2013

Denverite Joel Dallenbach shoots on the streets using an old-fashioned film camera and an eye for the kind of story that can be told in a visual instant. His fine and gritty black-and-white photo show opened in February at the Myhren Gallery, but there's still all of March to catch it. Thumbs up to the heart of the city.

Sebastiaan Bremer, Dikeou Collection Pop-Up Space Opening reception, March 14

The Dikeou collection's Civic Center Pop-up Space will indeed pop up this month to feature two newly acquired large-scale photographs by Dutch photographer Sebastiaan Bremer, who alters family snapshots with paint and other fine-art mediums before blowing them up and rephotographing them. The result is eye-poppingly bright and circusy, while honestly revealing the process behind the finished product. The permanent downtown arm of the Dikeou Collection will also bring out photographic works from its own art reserves, and at 7:30 p.m. on March 5, will present a Tribute to Ektachrome and Kodachrome Reversal, a program by the International Experimental Cinema Exposition (TIE).

Continue reading for more MoP picks. Juxtaposition: The Madness of Collage, NEXT Gallery March 8-25, 2013 Opening reception, March 8, 6-9 p.m.

One of two notable collage shows for MoP 2013, Juxtaposition: The Madness of Collage was curated by Denver collage artist and enthusiast Peter Strange Yumi. And he's done his homework: The exhibit shows the myriad ways in which collages and photo assemblages come together -- painstakingly, by hand, or digitally on a computer screen. It's not only a primer in the medium, which is sometimes misunderstood, but also a fascinated exploration of what happens when you mix up images that weren't meant to end up side-by-side.

10 Feet Away: New Works by Steve Whittier, Super Ordinary Gallery Opening reception, March 9

Photographer Steve Whittier leads a double life as a professional in the advertising world and a sneaky photographer of people riding the subway (hence the title, 10 Feet Away). He explains the fixation in this statement: "I'd take their pictures on my cell phone, post them on Facebook and Instagram, and people would comment. That led to buying a camera. I've never owned a real camera before. And I still haven't read the manual and don't know exactly how to use it. But I set it on my lap and take a picture. Ten feet away there's a person I've never met. We sit there in this small little space and carve out our privacy and live our lives for a while. Alone but not really. Somehow it outgrew my commute. For 10 months I rode the trains. 656 miles through Brooklyn, Manhattan. Queens and The Bronx. Every train from end to end. And these are the people I never met." Prepare to be fascinated. 

The Vital Illusion, Vertigo Art Space March 1-30 Opening reception, March 14, 6-9 p.m., with artist talk by Charles Wilkin

Another show featuring collages and photomontage, this exhibit curated by Denver collagist Mario Zoots -- who was inspired by this quote from Baudrillard: "To challenge and to cope with this paradoxical state of hings, we need a paradoxical way of thinking; since the world drifts into delirium,we must adopt a delirious point of view" -- also poked far and wide for its content. It even includes some posthumous work by the great Bauhaus-educated Colorado icon Herbert Bayer, and prominent New York collage artist Charles Wilkin, who's also featured, will be in town to give a talk during the March 14 reception.

The Denver Salon: Then and Now, Byers-Evans House Museum March through May Opening reception March 1, 5-9 p.m.

Mark Sink again fits into the equation in this show curated by Paul Harbaugh, which brings back together the work of members of the Denver Salon, a community of fine-art photographers who gathered together at Sink's urging about twenty years ago. It includes some of Sink's images, as well as works by a who's-who in Denver photography; appropriately for a venue that's also a history museum, it frames a certain time and place -- and what's happened since -- quite eloquently.

Find information on hundreds of other arts and entertainment events in our online Calendar.

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