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Big shows continue to roll out in May, including such heavy hitters as the Arvada Center’s giant survey of work created by Colorado artists during the pandemic, an MSU alumni homecoming at the Center for Visual Art, a welcome to summer at DAVA, Matt Barton’s functional concrete public art installation at TAXI and a big roundup of artist Sammy Lee’s career — so far — at Emmanuel Gallery. Keep reading for more surprises.

Maia Ruth Lee in the studio.EXPAND

Maia Ruth Lee in the studio.

Christopher Gregory

Maia Ruth Lee
LMP PDA, Lane Meyer Projects, 2528 Walnut Street
Through May 30
Maia Ruth Lee, a newcomer to Colorado via New York City, now lives and works in the artist community of Salida. Currently featured in The Language of Grief, part of the overarching exhibition Colorado in the Present Tense (on view at MCA Denver through August 22), Lee is helping curator Brooke Tomiello keep the free LMP PDA outdoor window vitrine at Lane Meyer Projects filled with art 24/7 through the end of May. And it’s for sale: Lee will donate the full proceeds from work sold to Joy as Resistance, an Aurora-based nonprofit serving queer youth.

Phil Bender
Abby Gregg and Alishya Swenning, Sharp Grief
Allan Packer in the Treasure Chest
Pirate: Contemporary Art, 7130 West 16th Avenue, Lakewood
Through May 23
Phil Bender’s shows at Pirate are rituals that should not be missed, as Bender still helms the pioneering co-op after forty years. That said, you still have a chance to catch his latest, which closes Sunday. Alongside Bender’s trademark grids and collections, gallery associate member Abby Gregg brings along quest artist Alishya Swenning for a collaboration, Sharp Grief, and Allan Packer holds forth in the Treasure Chest.

Jonna McKone and the ArtLab interns, ”Still from Ruins, I” 16mm film (buried & soaked).EXPAND

Jonna McKone and the ArtLab interns, ”Still from Ruins, I” 16mm film (buried & soaked).

PlatteForum

the bluest sky
PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 20, 6 to 8:30 p.m.; RSVP online for timed-entry slot
Documentary filmmaker Jonna McKone arrived at PlatteForum from Baltimore in April to work with ArtLab youth interns in collecting site-based imagery during field studies for a comprehensive large-format photography project. McKone also endeavored to shoot portraits of the students, also in the field, and included trips to a mining site, cloud studies and diary-keeping, blending natural landscapes and the all-seeing eye of the camera to tell new stories.

The Arvada Center expiores work made by Colorado artists during the pandemic lockdown.EXPAND

The Arvada Center expiores work made by Colorado artists during the pandemic lockdown.

Courtesy of the Arvada Center

Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus
Melody Epperson: 100 Years + 1
Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) your trouble with living
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard
May 20 through August 22
To visit, RSVP online for timed-entry slot
The Arvada Center pays tribute to the work ethic and ingenuity of Colorado artists who found ways to keep working during the pandemic shutdown, adapting to the situation by working at home with everyday materials and temporary space-making, as well as making social changes, from mask-wearing to self-isolation. The result is a big, wall-covering collection of creative points of view from more than 250 artists, with which any one of us could relate. Two solos, showcasing Brady Smith on loneliness and suicide in the Upper Gallery and teaching artist Melody Epperson on Women’s Suffrage in the Theatre Gallery, fill out the center’s gallery fare through August.

“Friends,” ceramic sculpture.

“Friends,” ceramic sculpture.

Faye Crowe

Jim Olson and Faye Crowe, Pretty Good Art
Sync Gallery, 931 Santa Fe Drive
May 20 through June 12
Jim Olsen, a sculptor in wood and stoneware, and Faye Crowe, a kitchen-sink artist who tackles ceramic sculpture, and mixed-media and oil abstract paintings, share the space at Sync through mid-June.

Reconnect: MSU Denver Alumni Exhibition
Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive
May 21 through July 17
Opening Reception: Friday May 21, 6 and 7 p.m.; RSVP at Eventbrite to visit at preferred time slot
A lot of Denver artists owe their art educations to Metropolitan State University Denver and its feisty art department. See for yourself at CVA’s gracious tribute to MSU alumni, where their work gets its turn in the spotlight. Juried by Carlos Fresquez (known to many students as “Mr. Metro”), Zoe Larkins (assistant curator at MCA Denver) and interdisciplinary artist Natascha Seideneck, the show comprises work by fifty-plus painters, printmakers, photographers, metalsmiths, sculptors, ceramicists, and installation artists. This is what we call a big smile of a show. Don’t miss the concurrent student-run exhibition, eLINKED (Living In New Kindred), in back at the 965 Project Gallery.

DAVA youth artist Roxana paints a rainbow for Re-Emergence.

DAVA youth artist Roxana paints a rainbow for Re-Emergence.

Courtesy of DAVA

Re-Emergence
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), 1405 Florence Street, Aurora
May 21 through August 20
Opening Reception: Friday, May 21, 4 to 7 p.m.; RSVP online for timed-entry slot
DAVA’s student-mentor programs gets ready for summer and the return of some degree of normalcy with the well-titled show Re-Emergence, a child-powered exhibition and interactive installation. Come to the opening for live music, food and chalk-art fun with Randy Segura, along with every delight of the show itself: “Caraoke,” a family-friendly sculptural karaoke booth; a DIY storytelling corner loaded with puppets and toys for inspiration; or a child’s version of an immersive installation with sound, light, animation and glowing bees. Happy summer!

“King Soopers Geese,” pencil, chalk pastel and pen-and-ink.EXPAND

“King Soopers Geese,” pencil, chalk pastel and pen-and-ink.

Jonathan Machen

Cracked
Eldorado Springs Art Center, 8 Chesbro Way, Eldorado Springs
May 21 through June 20
Opening Weekend: Friday, May 21, 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, May 22 and 23, noon to 6 p.m.
Eleven artists, including ESAC founder Giuseppe Palumbo and other center studio-mates, will honor victims of gun violence, including the ten lives lost in the March 22 Boulder King Soopers shooting, with Cracked, an art show mounted in solidarity and delivered with an anti-gun message. ESAC invites the grieving Boulder community to the opening — and everyone else — to enjoy live yoga and music by Kal and Elin. The gallery is open by appointment only after opening weekend (303-378-0454, [email protected]).

Kristina Davies, EXPAND

Kristina Davies, “Deeply Rooted.”

Kristina Davies

Kristina Davies, Interconnected
Thrive Ballpark, 1415 Park Avenue West
May 21 through June 30
Artist Reception: Friday, May 21, 5 to 9 p.m.
Artaos Gallery’s satellite pop-up at Thrive Ballpark hosts a spread of large-scale abstracts that sometimes swing figurative by painter Kristina Davies. Artaos founder Forge will provide the spins and beverages at the opening; the work remains on display weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the big-room at Thrive until the end of June.

“You Carry Your Weather With You,” mixed media.

“You Carry Your Weather With You,” mixed media.

Dan Drossman

Dan Drossman, Teetering the Line
Bitfactory Gallery, 851 Santa Fe Drive
May 21 through June 20
Opening Reception: Friday, May 21, 6 to 9 p.m.
Dan Drossman, an artist and gallery entrepreneur at the Waiting Room Gallery in RiNo, won’t be mounting his solo show, Teetering the Line, at his own space. Bitfactory Gallery will have that honor by sharing Drossman’s mixed-media and collaged abstract works that often include cut-out elements from old pieces. After the reception, Bitfactory accepts visitors by appointment on Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Community Forms” combines art and activity at TAXI.

Matt Barton

Matt Barton, Community Forms
TAXI, 3457 Ringsby Court
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 22, 2 to 5 p.m.; RSVP online at Eventbrite.
Form follows function in more than one way with this permanent public art project by Colorado Springs artist and Black Cube resident Matt Barton. Community Forms is an undulating concrete structure at the TAXI campus that serves both as a stormwater flood mitigation environment and an impromptu skate park. It’s also beautiful to look at, in a win-win-win. Celebrate Community Forms at an outdoor reception that also invites boarders to try out the new terrain; there will be an open skate at 4 p.m. after remarks at 3 p.m.

“Desire Guides Imagination,” oil.EXPAND

“Desire Guides Imagination,” oil.

Robin Cole

Thirtieth Annual Colorado Governor’s Art Show & Sale
Loveland Museum, 503 North Lincoln Road, Loveland
May 22 through June 27
Exhibition Admission: $7, buy tickets and RSVP for timed-entry slots online
Artist Meet & Greet: Saturdays, May 22 through June 26, 2 to 4 p.m.
Plein Air Festival and Auction: Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Loveland Museum’s annual Colorado Governor’s Art Show & Sale is back for its thirtieth year, with another Governor-approved survey of Colorado sculptors, and figurative and landscape painters. After the opening, the museum will host Saturday meet & greets with a changing assortment of three artists on hand each week, and fans of plein-air painting — both as watchers and buyers — should mark June 5 on their calendars for the related Plein Air Festival and Auction, a full day of live painting followed by an auction of finished works in the afternoon.

Marie Watt (Seneca), “Butterfly,” 2015, reclaimed wool blankets, satin binding, thread, cotton twill tape and tin jingles.

Marie Watt (Seneca), “Butterfly,” 2015, reclaimed wool blankets, satin binding, thread, cotton twill tape and tin jingles.

© Marie Watt, courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger
Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
May 23 through August 22
Art Is a Verb: Session 1: Tuesday, May 25, 6 to 7 p.m., online
Though contemporary Indigenous artists Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger are both interested in collaborative projects and use similar materials in their respective practices, they have never worked or shown together until now, when Each/Other opens Sunday at the Denver Art Museum. The exhibition splits a trove of 26 mixed-media sculptures, wall hangings and large-scale installation works between them for comparing and contrasting, but the interactive highlight of the show will be a monumental artist-guided community installation. The artists and the subject of modern Indigenous art will also drive a three-session online conversation series, Art Is a Verb.

Sammy Lee molding paper pulp over dishes for an installation.EXPAND

Sammy Lee molding paper pulp over dishes for an installation.

Sammy Lee

Sammy Lee, Remind Me Tomorrow
Emmanuel Gallery, 1205 Tenth Street Plaza, Auraria Campus
May 25 through July 15
Opening Event (tentative): Thursday, June 17, 6 to 8 p.m.
Emmanuel Gallery is back to work with a string of new public shows on the horizon. The first, Denver-based Korean artist Sammy Lee’s solo exhibition Remind Me Tomorrow, serves as a mid-career survey — and a bit more, as it delves into Lee’s own cultural experience of motherhood, domesticity, immigration and racial prejudice. Lee is nothing if not handy, breezing through process-heavy installations, performance work, papermaking and molding, book art and sculpture with considerable elbow grease to create a cohesive show.
Emmanuel has tentatively scheduled an opening event later in June.

Interested in having your event appear in this calendar? Send the details to [email protected]

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the “Thrills” editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.