Art Review

Gregory Euclide's highly detailed work will keep your eyes active

The fall opener at David B. Smith Gallery is dedicated to Gregory Euclide, whose unusual work has made him someone to watch out for in the realm of contemporary art. Gallery owner David Smith has been a longtime supporter of Euclide, and this show, Observing only the ease of my own slipping toward your unknown, is his third solo here.

Euclide is interested in the landscape, but his work is hardly traditional, as that subject matter might suggest. That's because he doesn't so much depict the scenery as channel it. As viewers enter the gallery, they are confronted by a lineup of striking bas-reliefs enclosed in white-painted windowbox frames. These pieces, which have the same kind of enigmatic and short-story-length titles as the show, are staggeringly detailed. The painted backgrounds depict the woods and buildings, while three-dimensional renditions of trees, tiny mountains and abstract cut-paper shapes fill the front. The miniature landscapes are reminiscent of model railroading, though the artist makes everything himself. And while the compositions are crowded with hundreds of elements, they have an unseen organization that lends them a simple overall dynamism. This particular attribute will have your eyes darting in loops across their surfaces.

Among the other types of work are Sumi ink paintings on fragments of classroom whiteboards — Euclide is a teacher — and on a full-sized one installed in its own small gallery. Euclide demonstrates for his students on whiteboards, then erases the results. For the Smith show, he did a mural-sized one with the instructions that a square foot be erased each day during the course of the show — which is really sad, because it was so beautiful when it was first finished.

The Euclide show at David B. Smith (1543 A Wazee Street, 303-893-4234, closes this Saturday.

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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