This week brings a virtual harmonic convergence of art to metro Denver and beyond, with important new shows, venues returning, a timely retrospective and, as the Stock Show gallops off into the sunset, a bit of fun with stereotypes.
But hey, pace yourself. Some of these shows will be around for a few months, and they're all worth seeing.
Clark Richert: Z-Space
Rule Gallery Denver, 808 Santa Fe Drive
Thursday, January 20, through February 19
Closing Reception: Saturday, February 19, 5 p.m.
Clark Richert’s last solo, Z-Space, which opened in October at Rule’s Marfa location, also saw the Denver legend off when he passed away in December. But be thankful: Rule Denver is bringing that stunner back (plus a few paintings, historical drawings and prints not included at Marfa) for a month-long run here in the Mile High City. Some of Richert’s most recent paintings share space with detailed ’90s-era mock-up drawings exploring theoretical outcomes for future work in the show, offering a deeper look into the artist’s process as he worked scientific calculations into color-coded patterns. This is an exhibition you’ll want to give some time, taking in Richert’s cosmic realms and wondering how he ever dreamed them up. Rule is forgoing an opening reception at this time because of the pandemic, but hopes to throw a big closing event in February.
Art of the State
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Thursday, January 20, through March 27
Exhibition Reception: Thursday, March 17, 6 to 9 p.m., RSVP online to attend
Reservations required, RSVP online for timed-entry slot
Colorado’s favorite triennial, Art of the State at the Arvada Center, is back in 2022 with another who’s who round of artwork. Well-juried by RedLine director Louise Martorano, professor of MSU Denver Africana Studies (and past RedLine resident) Ellamaria Ray and the Arvada’s Center’s Collin Parson, who ably narrowed 2,067 submissions down to a manageable 149 works, it’s the kind of exhibition that will catch you up with old favorites while giving equal time to newcomers. Make a reservation in advance to view the show.
Anne Bossert: HooDoos and Charms
Museum of Art Fort Collins, 201 South College Avenue, Fort Collins
Friday, January 21, through March 13
Opening Reception: Friday, January 21, 6 to 8 p.m.
Museum Admission: $1 to $5 (free for members and children six and under)
When Colorado Springs sculptor Sean O’Meallie left the not-so-lucrative business of toy inventing some 25 years ago, he took a little piece of it with him to kickstart his career in fine art, understanding that if well-conceived toys can engage the minds of children, there’s no reason why they couldn't work for adults. With a skilled facility for woodworking that made him comfortable with carving sensuous, touchable forms, he had all the tools he needed. But the secret sauce was all in his thinking — and maybe the bright colors he uses. To create likable work, he injected his “toys” for adults with wordplay and puns, dark backstories, social consciousness and a soupçon of laugh-out-loud slapstick. Underneath the surface, he takes on issues involving guns, human connections and inward urges. Now O’Meallie is getting a well-deserved retrospective. It’s really worth driving up north to see it.
Opening alongside O’Meallie’s show is a perfect companion: Anne Bossert, who also works in wood, has gone from making high-end art furniture to more conceptual interchangeable sculptures that she calls “charms” and “bases.”
Josef Hoffmann’s Vienna
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1201 Bannock Street
Friday, January 21, through April 3
Members Only Preview Day: Thursday, January 20, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Virtual Curator Tours With Christopher Herron: Wednesday, February 9, and Wednesday, March 9, at noon; admission: $7 to $10, reserve tickets online
The Kirkland turns over a new page by revisiting a big slice of art history from its own collection. Josef Hoffmann’s Vienna is a bountiful roundup that will please fans of Art Nouveau and goes deep into Hoffman’s design sense through swoon-worthy decorative objects and furniture invested with the spirit of a forward-thinking Vienna at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Kirkland pushed the reception back to March 17; for more insights, sign up for “Innovative Prints by Viennese Artists,” a lecture by Kirkland Museum scholar Barbara Thompson on March 23, which can be attended in person or virtually. Find details at the website.
Deborah Zlotsky, Galatea
Featuring Scott Chamberlin and Stephanie Robison
Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street
Opens Thursday, January 20
Robischon Gallery turns things over with three new shows from gallery artists, including the impeccable Kate Petley, who erases the boundaries between photography and painting by capturing vignettes created by folding and roughing up simple sheets of paper and cardboard and blending them with acrylic paint on canvas; painter Deborah Zlotsky, a master of combining geometrics and curved shapes in pop-derived color studies; and Altoon Sultan, who mixes various media — tempera painting, textile and relief sculpture — in her practice. Featured works by mixed-media artists Scott Chamberlin and Stephanie Robison will also be on display.
Rough Gems 2022: Perception Shift
Union Hall Gallery, Suite 144, The Coloradan, 1750 Wewatta Street
Thursday, January 20, through February 12
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 20, 6 to 8 p.m.
Union Hall revs up for another round of its Rough Gems series, an experiment in curation for young artists who are still learning the art of building exhibitions, with a new trio of shows in 2022. The first, Perception Shift, curated by Amy Hoagland, an MFA candidate in sculpture at CU Boulder, opens this weekend, focusing on how a variety of materials both corporeal and intangible can turn a viewer’s eye toward unexpected discoveries. Mixed media, multimedia and unusual practices all figure into the overall show (for instance, participating artist Andrea de Leon makes knives and jewelry, blows glass and casts iron). Two more Rough Gems installments — Virga and Made Known — open respectively in February and March.
True West 22
BRDG Project, 1553 Platte Street
Thursday, January 20, through February 25
Opening Nights: Thursday, January 20, and Friday, January 21, 6 to 10 p.m.
Artist Talk/Live Draw Event: Thursday, February 3, 6 to 9 p.m.
Closing Reception: Friday, February 25, 6 to 9 p.m.
As the National Western Stock Show wraps up, the BRDG Project tips its hat with the group show True West 22, offering the visual responses of more than forty artists on the influence of the West on contemporary art. Don’t expect the usual representational cowboys and cattle; they make appearances, but not as anything representing stereotypical imagery. This exhibition is designed to turn those stereotypes on their heads.
Leo Tanguma: Chicano Muralist
O’Sullivan Art Gallery, Regis University
Through February 11
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 20, 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Artist Talk: Thursday, February 3, 7 p.m.
Muralist Leo Tanguma is probably best remembered for his confounding work at the debut of Denver International Airport in 1995, which set off at least one leg of the New World Order conspiracy theories that left a black cloud over the facility. While Tanguma never intended what was read into his somewhat sociopolitical murals — if he was speaking out through his work, it was for good, not evil, purposes — at least one of them disappeared. But that's beside the point now. Tanguma’s general body of work, inspired by iconic Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Álfaro Siqueiros, stands as some of the best produced in Colorado. Now you can see his legacy for yourself at Regis University’s O’Sullivan Art Gallery, where a nice selection of Tanguma’s art has been collected for a solo exhibition. Go and show respect.
Wake Up, Mr. Flowers
Art Gym Denver, 1460 Leyden Street
Thursday, January 20 through February 20
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 20, 5 to 8 p.m.
Congolese, Brussels-born artist and muralist Lio Bumbakini, a regular fixture around these parts, will blossom at Art Gym Denver, with a show dedicated to happy flowers. NFT collectors, here’s your chance: In conjunction with the exhibition, Bumbakini is releasing a trio of them titled “The Flower Girls” at noon on Friday, January 21, via OpenSea. Consider it a soft introduction to his developing platform, @museebumba.
Dennis Lee Mitchell
William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street
Friday, January 21, through March 5
Opening Reception: Friday, January 21, 5 to 8 p.m.
Havu Gallery welcomes ceramic artist Scarlett Kanistanaux, painter Zachariah Rieke and Dennis Lee Mitchell, who uses smoke as an art medium, for a trio of winter shows in wintry black-and-white shades.
Liz Nielsen, Rolling Aura in the Project Room
David B. Smith Gallery, 1543 A Wazee Street
Friday, January 21, through February 26
Opening Reception: Friday, January 21, 4 to 8 p.m.
David B. Smith returns to the gallery lineup in 2022 with a solo showcase for Leon Benn, whose view of nature zeroes in on every miniature interaction on the forest floor, and how human intervention can tear apart the intertwined lives of the most primitive of lifeforms. The result is a wild, freeform vegetative ruckus of the noisy growth sheltered by the husk of a fallen tree. Meanwhile, in the Project Room, experimental photographer Liz Nielson shows wildly colored analog photograms, each the end-point of a composition laid over light-sensitive paper and then exposed in up to fifty bursts of light. What’s left behind are abstracted versions of the original.
Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, Suite A
Friday, January 21, through March 12
Opening Receptions: Friday, January 21, 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, January 22, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fresh Perspectives, the new show at Walker Fine Art, closely examines the process, mediums and techniques of six artists working on unique platforms. Brandon Reese contributes sculptures combining clay and wood; Derrick Breidenthal paints atmospheric abstracted landscapes in gentle pastel colors; Aaron Morgan Brown paints realistic canvases riddled with secret portals and unexpected creatures; photographer Conor King captures blown up cosmic experiences or the pure density of a rolling wave; painter Ellen Moershel refracts imagery through interconnected shapes and shards of color; and assemblage artist Malcolm Easton presents work resulting from creative play.
Brushed Up: Postwar Abstraction From Front Range Collections
Vicki Myhren Gallery, Shwayder Art Building, 2121 East Asbury Avenue, University of Denver Campus
Friday, January 21, through March 20
Book a viewing time online
DU’s Vicki Myhren Gallery is back in the game, at least on an appointment-only basis, and kicking off its twentieth-anniversary celebration with an exhibition that’s top-heavy with works by mid-century giants of contemporary art, all wheedled from local private art collections. It’s possible that contemporary-art doyenne Gwen Chanzit, modern and contemporary curator emerita of the Denver Art Museum, did some of that wheedling, as she has a long history with the Myhren, both as a crucial founder and as curator of the gallery’s first show.
Visions West Contemporary, 2605 Walnut Street
Friday, January 21, through February 26
Another exhibition debunking the romantic view of the American West, Counter Cowboy comes back with some snappy visual answers from modern artists. Imagine modern-day cowgirls lounging with their Breyer horse collection or riding the range above Hollywood, and that’s all you need to know.
Bitfactory Gallery, 851 Santa Fe Drive
Friday, January 21, through March 10
Opening Reception: Friday, January 21, 6 to 9 p.m.
Bitfactory’s annual invitational art show, No Show, gets underway for its sixth year this weekend with works unrestricted in terms of medium, style or content. Each invited artist chose two personal works to display, for even more variety.
Keeping Time: History, Memory, Nostalgia
Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant Street
Friday, January 21, through February 27
Keeping Time challenged artists in an open call to make art about the differences and overlap between history, memory and nostalgia when it comes to looking back on past experiences or happenings in the world around us. It’s tricky, though, because simple facts become more and more diluted by memory, which can jumble the truth, and by nostalgia, which is often nothing more than a fairy-tale remembrance of what once was.
Anna Kaye, Brenda Stumpf and Meghan Wilbar, Other Voices, Other Rooms
Valkarie Gallery, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Belmar, Lakewood
Through January 30
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 22, 5 to 8:30 p.m.
The team of Anna Kaye, Brenda Stumpf and Meghan Wilbar — guest artists this month at Valkarie — were chosen to participate by photographer and podcaster Todd Pierson, who co-hosts Tenet, a weekly broadcast of artist interviews. He zeroed in on the three for their individual work ethics, aesthetics and visionary thinking in keeping with the show’s title, inspired by Nancy Griffith’s album Other Voices, Other Rooms, which was filched in turn from Truman Capote’s novel of the same name.
Adán De La Garza, Affective Tone
Clara Hatton Gallery, Visual Arts Building, CSU campus, 551 West Pitkin Street, Fort Collins
Monday, January 24, to February 25
Artist Talk: Thursday, February 24, 4:30 p.m.
Adán De La Garza isn’t easy to pigeonhole, and he probably likes it that way, but his performative work involves various forms of multimedia, noise, strong emotions and an in-your-face punk attitude. He does it a lot better than most.
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