Art Review


After three years, the commercial-gallery part of Studio Aiello (3563 Walnut Street, 303-297-8166) is giving up the ghost. The business succumbed to sluggish art sales and the disadvantage of an off-the-beaten-track location. On the bright side, other aspects of Studio Aiello, including the Tar Factory Atelier, will still be around, and the front bay will remain an exhibition space.

Since the roster of already-planned shows will go until the end of the year, it's pretty much business as usual, with the current exhibit, Digitopia, opening last weekend. Despite its title, this group show is not limited to digital art.

In the front bay is an installation with sound by Kim Ferrer in which old-fashioned swings are hung on rough ropes mounted to logs attached to the ceiling. The middle bay has been subdivided, with each of the artists given separate spaces. In the first are digital drawings and acrylic paintings by rising art star Louisa Armbrust, one of the ten artists who was selected for the Museum of Contemporary Art's 2005 Biennial BLOW OUT. Incredibly, Armbrust was booked for this show before the MCA announced she was in the biennial, so it's only a happy coincidence that she's in both. The minimal and pop-y pieces at Studio Aiello, such as "Playground 1," a digital print on aluminum (left), are larger and more fleshed out -- and therefore better -- than the closely related ones at the museum.

In the other sections are a digital-photo installation by Leon Grodski that has something to do with Wal-Mart; a group of Playboy-style digital images of female nudes by George Arias; and an installation about time and sensory overload, among other things, by North Carolina-based artist collective Rudy, which is made up of Joyce Rudinsky and Eric Niemi.

Digitopia runs through September 5 at Studio Aiello.

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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