Art Review

Art Beat

Studio 1818, a boutique-style gallery in LoDo, features art glass, ceramics and jewelry in addition to paintings, sculptures and custom framing. The art exhibits are installed mostly in the back room, which is also where the frame samples are displayed -- but the shows usually spill out into the front salesroom, which is otherwise filled with display cases groaning under the weight of decorative treasures.

The current exhibit at 1818 is Impressions of Denver, one of a number of shows done in conjunction with the DAM's Impressionism exhibit. The gallery's director, Eric Bazarnic, has selected ten regional artists, all of whom paint recognizable subjects. Despite the implication of the show's title, most of the artists here are not contemporary impressionists; rather, they are more easily characterized as expressionists, like Steve Walker, or are hyper-realists, like Robert Gratiot.

Walker paints a lively and cartoon-like view in "Union Station," an acrylic on board. Gratiot explores old signage in a series of paintings on canvas; in the acrylic "Coffee Shop, Denver" (above), he takes a fanatically detailed look at an old building at Grant Street and 7th Avenue.

Bazarnic points out that although the artists in this show are not, strictly speaking, impressionists, they do have something in common with their French forebears. Like the original impressionists, these local contemporary artists are interested in capturing the world in which they live.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia