Galleries continue to go gangbusters in May, with new shows sprouting up like a tulip garden full of color. This week brings a flush of great shows to spaces both commercial and alternative. Bring on the sunshine!
Margaret Lawless: New Works
Steven Durow, Burden of Memory
Floyd Tunson in the Project Space
Michael Warren Contemporary, 760 Santa Fe Drive
Through May 29
Three vastly different shows opened recently at Michael Warren, beginning with Margaret Lawless’s huge four-foot rondo paintings reimagining — and blowing up in size — Renaissance engraver Hendrick Goltzius’s mythical etching series "The Four Disgracers." Steven Durow represents as well, with a series of wall-hung glass blobs that glow from within, like rocks spewed from a volcano. In the Project Space, Floyd Tunson contributes powerful works — including twelve “Haitian Dreamboat” sculptures — created in response to the coup-driven 1991 Haitian refugee crisis.
Colby Deal and Juan Fuentes, Seed the Memories
Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue
Open by appointment (720-569-7463) through May 29
Photographers Juan Fuentes, aka Old Denver, and Colby Deal, a former RedLine resident now living in Houston, both seek to preserve everyday scenes from their tight communities as people of color, creating powerful cultural diaries in black and white. Teaming them up together at Alto Gallery is a genius move, and the work is something to see. This show opened last week.
Doug Spencer, I Quit You Magic, Magic Take Me Back
Understudy, 890 C 14th Street, near the Shantell Martin bench
Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 6 p.m., through May 30
Doug Spencer, who performs some kind of artful alchemy involving a cigarette lighter by “painting” with smoke across acrylic sheets, is taking over Understudy in May. I Quit You Magic, Magic Take Me Back is, indeed, all about the “Now you see it, now you don’t” aspect of magic; the display, open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays though Sundays, can also be viewed through the pop-up gallery’s windows.
West Trails pop-up gallery
Dairy Block, in the alley, 1800 Wazee Street
Through May 31
Inside Her Studio, a woman-centric art consultancy for artists, is partnering with the Dairy Block to host a series of pop-up galleries in the alley over the summer; first up is West Trails, a showcase for artists Laura Goodson, Jessica Rose and Lori Ruiz, who all work in the Western art genre, respectively creating portraits of Western characters, hand-stitched leatherwork and watercolors preserving symbols of the disappearing West. Additional shows will pop up every month through September for the Dairy Block’s summer First Friday Art Walks.
Virtual Artist Talk: Ent Center for the Arts
Wednesday, May 12, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., via Zoom
The Space(s) Between Virtual Artist Talk series, covering different aspects of the sprawling exhibition that included gallery shows at DU’s Vicki Myhren Gallery in Denver, UCCS’s Ent Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs and a spread of outdoor works in the Colorado landscape, continues with a discussion by Donald Fodness, Geoffrey Shamos and Daisy McGowan, with artists included in the Ent Center’s piece of the show. As the outdoor portion of the exhibition grows, two more talks are scheduled on May 26 and June 9.
Joseph Cavalieri, Mark Farrell, Samantha Fisher and Sierra Montoya Barela, One Thing and Then Another, May 13 through July 4
Grover Cleveland Art Appreciation Society in the South Gallery, May 13 through 30
Firehouse Art Center, 667 4th Avenue, Longmont
Opening Reception: May 14, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
RSVP online at Eventbrite for timed-entry slot at the reception
Firehouse Art Center has a lot on the table in May — in particular, the show One Thing and Then Another, which partners artists Joseph Cavalieri, Mark Farrell, Samantha Fisher and Sierra Montoya Barela, all of whom share a visual affinity for childhood memories and how they are woven into our adult selves. It’s fine all on its own, but makes an even finer coda to the center’s Skyline High School Students VPA Academy Capstone show, which just closed. Replacing that in the South Gallery is a fun paean to one of “America’s Most Okayest Presidents.”
Adriene Hughes, Stephan Jahanshahi and Brad Temkin, Changing Landscape
Colorado Photographic Art Center, 1070 Bannock Street
May 13 through June 26
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 15, 5 to 8 p.m.; RSVP in advance for timed-entry slot
Zoom Artist Talk: Wednesday, May 19, 6 p.m.; RSVP online in advance
Photographers Adriene Hughes, Stephan Jahanshahi and Brad Temkin offer three points of view when it comes to landscape and the climate crisis in this Earth Day-inspired exhibition at CPAC. Hughes zones in on the wildfire crises of last summer (and, most likely, years to come) with a mixture of fire crisscrossed by embroidered lines signaling conversations among the trees; Jahanshahi covers rising waters on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago; Temkin looks at the bright side with bird's-eye shots of urban green roofs. Learn more Wednesday at a virtual artist talk.
MaryV, Loving You: Documenting Kia Lopez and Chella Man
Union Hall, 1750 Wewatta Street, Suite 144
May 14 through July 10
Opening Reception: Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15, 6 to 9 p.m. each night; RSVP online for timed-entry slot at reception
MaryV, at twenty already a celeb in the queer transgender world for their documentary photography of their private lifestyle, is fiercely out of the closet for Loving You: Documenting Kia Lopez and Chella Man, an unapologetic, in-your-face view of the on-beyond-LGBT universe. Lopez is MaryV’s longtime friend and Man is their partner; the exhibit is a diary of growing up queer, from top surgery to the joy of being who you are.
Aliki McCain and Nancy Enyart
Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive
May 14 through June 19
MIX co-op members Aliki McCain and Nancy Enyart share abstract paintings and droll works in clay in the front gallery at Niza Knoll, where MIX has long occupied the back room. It’s part of an ongoing showcase of the artists who share Knoll’s space on Santa Fe Drive. Knoll isn’t hosting openings now, but visitors are normally welcome Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.; check with the gallery for exceptions.
Tension & Release
Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A
May 14 through July 10
Opening Reception: Friday, May 14, 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, May 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The dynamic of Tension & Release binds six artists — Melana Bontrager, Brigan Gresh, Lee Heekin, Jonathan Hills, Barbara Sorensen and Blair Vaughn-Gruler — in Walker Fine Art’s new show, all visualizing a kind of calm in the chaos, two opposite forces communing in the middle. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; appointments are suggested but not necessary.
Eat Your Vegetables
ILA Gallery, 209 Kalamath Street, Suite 12
May 14 through June 6
Opening Reception: Friday, May 14, 6 to 10 p.m.
RSVP online for timed-entry slot to visit gallery
ILA Gallery honors women artists in the Denver mural scene with Eat Your Vegetables, a showcase for Sandi Calistro, Sandra Fettingis, Olive Moya and Kaitlin Ziesmer, all of whom bring their big-art ideas down to size for gallery walls.
May the Art Be With You
Spectra Art Space, 1836 South Broadway
May 14 through June 6; RSVP at Eventbrite for timed-entry gallery visit
Opening Reception and Costume Contest: Friday, May 14, 6 to 10 p.m.
$10; RSVP at Eventbrite for timed-entry reception slot
May the Fourth, the traditional Star Wars celebration day, has passed, but Spectra is hosting one last hurrah for 2021 — an art show, party and costume contest with live music by Furbie Cakes, giveaways and add-on swag. Your ticket to the opening includes entry into Spectra’s ongoing immersive environment Back to the Source.
Georgia Padilla, Courage Over Comfort
Héktor Muñoz, pensamientos, pecados y pureza (thoughts, sins and purity)
Next Gallery, Art Hub, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
May 14 through May 30
Opens Friday, May 14, 6 to 10 p.m.
Next Gallery artists go deep in a show about erasing the stigma of living with mental illness by Georgia Padilla, a follower of courage coach Brené Brown, and work by Héktor Muñoz, an interdisciplinary creative, addressing sexual abuse. Wanderlust also remains on view in the Community Gallery until May 30.
Andrew Jensdotter, Road Work
K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee Street
May 15 through June 26
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 15, 2 to 4 p.m.
RSVP for timed-entry slot to visit the gallery
Painter Andrew Jensdotter fills K Contemporary from top to bottom with a series of works dubbed Road Work and inspired by a near-death experience and the arrival of the pandemic changing his life during times following his 2019 exhibition at MCA Denver. It’s complicated, but when Jensdotter compares life to a “constant game of chutes and ladders,” you begin to get the idea behind his thick, carved latex portraits, one painted over the other in a visual identity crisis, and the psychology behind Jensdotter’s personal act of leaving signs for others on a dangerous path.
David B. Smith (Brooklyn, NY), Same but Different
David B. Smith Gallery, 1543 A Wazee Street
May 15 through June 19
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 15, noon to 5 p.m.
You’re not seeing double. David B. Smith, the Denver gallerist, and David B. Smith, the Brooklyn-based artist, are not one and the same. But do individual selves intermingle on another plane? Are we composed of one singular self or a flock of selves experiencing different outcomes? Conundrum after conundrum. In Same But Different, David B. Smith from Brooklyn explores the same-but-different roads we all take in life through exotic, detailed photo-printed tapestries that both follow and diverge from similar patterns. No reservation is required for the gallery’s socially distanced reception; you can also arrange to visit at another time by appointment (303-893-4234, email@example.com).
Elizabeth Stanbro: New Works
Foolproof Gallery, 3240 Larimer Street
May 15 through June 26
Visits by appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Foolproof artist Elizabeth Stanbro offers a strong series of collage-like abstract paintings of layered shapes with opposing textures and bold brushstrokes in this solo exhibition.
Andrew Davis, Natura Naturans
Ryan Joseph Gallery, 2647 West 38th Avenue
May 15 through June 9
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 15, 5 to 11 p.m.
The new Ryan Joseph Gallery officially opens this weekend with a show by pop-surrealist Andrew Davis, whose current portrait work derives meaning from the philosophies of Baruch Spinoza and the psychologies of Carl Jung.
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