Contemporary Realism
Where: Gallery 1261
When: Dec. 14–Dec. 28
Opening Reception: Dec. 14, 6–8 p.m.
What: At this group exhibition, nearly 20 established artists offer their interpretations of realistic representation. From painter Jason Walker’s tongue-in-cheek depictions of food (pictured at top) and American pop culture to Pennsylvania artist Adrienne Stein’s relaxed, ethereal portraits, these images speak to the multitude of ways to approach realism.

“Sisters at the California Coast” by Melinda Laz. Courtesy of the artist.

Suspended in Time
Where: Balefire Goods, Arvada
When: Dec. 6–30
Opening Reception: Dec. 6, 6–8 p.m.
What: At this intimate solo show, Melinda Laz presents a new take on the family photo album. To create this series of ceramic portraits, the Colorado-based artist drew inspiration from a collection of old photographs, but chose to blur the subjects’ faces, giving viewers a chance to invent their own narratives about the family depicted in the images.

“Redacted Landscape VIII” by Doug Kacena. Courtesy of the artist.

The Redacted Self
Where: K Contemporary
When: Dec. 14–Jan. 4
Opening Reception: Dec. 14, 6–9 p.m.
What: Although this show features a new series of landscape paintings, you won’t find any sweeping vistas or city skylines. Focusing on the idea of detachment, Denver artist Doug Kacena created abstract “memory landscapes” that inspire reflection about how we change over time and ultimately leave former aspects of ourselves behind.

“Dimple Hot Pop Banana Flavored Edition” by George Bangs. Courtesy of the artist.

Heat Death: New Works by George Bangs
Where: Dateline
When: Dec. 6–31
Opening Reception: Dec. 6, 6–11 p.m.
What: This cathartic, allegorical exhibition ponders an impending crisis in an unexpected way. Boulder-based illustrator George Bangs explores his climate-change-related anxieties by creating a series of vibrantly colored illustrations and mixed-media pieces depicting melting and broken objects and distorted portraits.

“The Paradox 1 of 2” by Bug. Courtesy of the artist.

40th Anniversary Show
Where: Pirate: Contemporary Art, Lakewood
When: Dec. 20–Jan. 5
Opening Reception: Jan. 3, 6–10 p.m.
What: Pirate: Contemporary Art celebrates four decades of showcasing local artists’ creations with an exhibition featuring the works of current and former gallery members. Don’t miss thought-provoking pieces by Denver artists, including Bug’s sculptures inspired by political injustice, Julie Jablonksi’s abstract digital prints, and Noah Sodano’s architectural sculpture made from packaging materials.