Never say never. This weekend you can see work by a Denver old-guard artist or buy an affordable collage by the one and only Phil Bender, Famous Artist; revel in the culture of Casa Bonita as interpreted by local creatives; gain insights at a photorealist's talk; or take in a new 2019 Month of Photography exhibition of photos by veterans. Get off the couch and catch up with these five gallery shows and happenings.
Matt O’Neill, Black & Blue
Lane Meyer Projects, 2528 Walnut Street
Through March 1
Matt O’Neill has been knocking around Denver since the mid-’80s, when he was known for his well-rendered, surreally abstracted portraits of faces borrowed from a high school yearbook, as well as truer abstract works. Lately he’s turned to masterful doodles in blue ink that ape ballpoint pen marks, similar to drawings inscribed in the margins of a bored student’s notebook. They’re wonderful to behold, and behold you will.
Don Coen Artist Talk
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street, Boulder
Thursday, February 21, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
$8 to $12
Don Coen, whose exhibition Don Coen: The Migrant Series is on display at BMoCA through May 27, starts each leg of this ongoing documentary series by snapping photos of the migrant workers who are his subjects; later, he turns the images into large-scale acrylic paintings, airbrushed, layer after layer, for a lifelike translucence that brings the human element sharply into focus. Coen will explain his series and share his image-gathering experiences and painting techniques on Thursday.
Pretty in Pink Casa Bonita Show
Next Gallery, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Unit B, Lakewood
February 22 through March 10
Opening Fiesta: Friday, February 22, 6 to 10 p.m.
The legendary Casa Bonita is indeed an immersive experience, with bad food, corny attractions and a mountain of fanatical cultists like Denver character Andrew Novick, who make the pilgrimage to the pink tower in Lakewood as often as they possibly can. This is the second year that Next Gallery, a close neighbor of Casa Bonita’s, has thrown a juried Casa Bonita tribute show, so expect bigger and better from Next, a co-op that’s presently going through an image overhaul. It’s fitting that Novick juried the entries, along with artist Betsy Rudolph.
Phil Bender Pop-Up Sale Playing Card Collages
Foolproof Contemporary Art, 3240 Larimer Street
Friday, February 22, 6 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, February 23, noon to 4 p.m.
Phil Bender’s been making his found-object grids for decades, and that includes his more affordable and compact collages. He’s bringing out hundreds of playing-card collages for this weekend's sale. Betcha can’t buy just one.
Transitions: Photo Journeys of Change and Passage
Komarek Gallery, second floor, VFW Post 1, 841 Santa Fe Drive
February 22 through April 19
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 23, 5 to 8 p.m.
Viewing continues on First Fridays, 5:30 to 9 p.m., and Third Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., through April 19
The VFW Post 1 Veterans Arts Council and the Colorado Photographic Arts Center teamed up for this offering for the Month of Photography. It’s partly the culmination of CPAC’s Veterans Workshop Series and a record of the transition of participating veterans from soldiers to artists behind the lens. The opening party includes refreshments, door prizes and a selfie station.