Altered. This duet pairs abstract sculptor Mark Castator with realist painter Marie Vlasic, and though their works are unrelated, the show looks good anyway. Castator, a master with welded metal, is best known for his marvelous spheres and columns made from small pieces of sawed steel tubes. For these latest pieces, though, he created works that take the shape of puffs of smoke. Castator is influenced by abstract expressionism, and his sculptures are freely assembled, aping the instinctual sense for composition associated with that style. The cut segments of tubular steel are mounted with the open ends facing out, leaving a lot of negative space, thus making them both delicate and monumental. Vlasic's unusual portraits, in which she has chosen to capture tattooed nudes, are so fanatically detailed, they look like photos. These pieces are really in-your-face, and though it could be argued that they're traditional in style, they're shocking to look at, since the artist records her subjects with unflinching accuracy, including their genitalia and pubic hair. Through July 10 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, 303-355-8955, www.walkerfineart.com. Reviewed July 1.
Exposure. Eric Paddock is the Denver Art Museum's first full-fledged photo curator to head up his own new department. To unveil the permanent gallery for photography in the Ponti tower, he's put together Exposure: Photos From the Vault, highlighting a range of gems from the DAM's collection. Collected in fits and spurts, the museum's photo holdings are very uneven, but as Paddock proves with this show, there are a lot of masterworks in it anyway. As could be expected, considering the impressive Wolf Collection of early Western landscapes, there are quite a few pieces by the pioneers of that field, notably Carleton Watkins. And there are a number of well-known photos by famous modern photographers like Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams and Garry Winogrand. Another important feature of the exhibit is the inclusion of many Colorado photographers, including Kevin O'Connell and Wes Kennedy. This aspect is not unexpected coming from a curator who spent most of his career at the Colorado Historical Society. Through October 31, at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000. www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed May 20.
Linda Fleming and Katy Stone. The current pair of shows at Robischon delve into the field of conceptual abstraction with two artists who create three-dimensional objects, not all of which could be called sculptures. Up front is Linda Fleming: Lingering, made up of some recent works by this part-time Colorado artist. In the center spaces is Katy Stone: New Work, highlighting ephemeral pleasures from the noted Seattle artist. Fleming is part of the history of contemporary art, having built her studio in the Libre artist collective way back in 1968. The pieces in Lingering, though mostly made of steel, are almost insubstantial owing to all the piercing Fleming has done to the forms. These openings allow negative space to play as important a role as the positive space of the materials themselves. As unusual as the Flemings are, Robischon has found the perfect companion for them in Stone's conceptually related work. The artist is technically making sculptures, but she organizes the mass of material she uses — often clear plastic — in such a way that they look like paintings. Extened through August 7 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7788, www.robischongallery.com. Reviewed June 3.
Moore in the Gardens. Henry Moore, who died in 1986, was Great Britain's most important modern sculptor. Born in 1898, he began to create artwork shortly after World War I, becoming internationally famous by the 1930s. Moore was one of a legion of important artists who responded to Picasso's surrealism, but he made the style his own. This traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation, has been installed on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, with two pieces at the DBG annex at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). The main part of the exhibit begins in the Boettcher Memorial Center, where a collection of the artist's tools and maquettes are crowded into showcases, and where a single work has been installed in a fountain. Most of the other pieces have been displayed around the gardens. The monumental works, typically in bronze, look absolutely perfect in the landscaped settings, and that makes sense, since Moore himself was a serious gardener. Too bad the DBG can't keep them. Through January 31 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, www.botanicgardens.org. Reviewed June 17.