On June 19, the Art17 Gallery at Coldwell Banker welcomes back local artist and curator, Brian Petro for a solo show of his work from 1996-2014. The gallery, located below Coldwell Banker (1606 17th St NW) in Dupont Circle, opens its doors to quarterly art shows by local and established artists.  The show, featuring a unique retrospective of Brian Petro’s work, will run from June 1, 2014 to August 20, 2014.

WHAT:    Brian Petro – Works from 1996-2014

EXHIBITION:   June 1, 2014 – August 20, 2014, M-F 9:00 – 5:00 PM

OPENING:  Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 PM

WHERE:  Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The work featured in this show represents his wandering, and wondering mind. He credits his style to the dichotomy between his supportive, rural, Central-Pennsylvanian upbringing, and the brutal independence of urban life. Global travel and urban exploration fuel his search for images, ideas and processes. Some artworks will even be available at affordable prices between $160 and $190. From joyous and youthful colors of old animal cracker box images, to Iconoclastic Architectural DC monument images, to a recent series of Abstract Ink and paint pieces, to glimpses of his first ever professionally recognized artworks, the show will include the many sides of Brian Petro as an artist. His most recent show “Ink: Brian Petro & Christian Pratt” at Susan Calloway Fine Arts was listed by Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post in March 2014.

Brian Petro is, and has been, represented by galleries in New York City, Hawaii, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Washington, DC and Rehoboth Beach, DE. His work is also on display in venues in Brazil, England, Italy and Spain. Past commercial clients include Absolut Vodka (who commissioned Brian to design the Absolut Dupont Circle advertisement), The Ritz Carlton Hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue, IBM (an 8 foot by 20 foot mural), and The Library of Congress. Brian has been published in regional and national news magazines and newspapers, and he and his work have been featured on several television shows including HGTV’s Curb Appeal and Showhouse Showdown, and has recently been filmed by CCTV in China, affiliated with PBS, and footage can be viewed in upcoming months in Asia, and here, Nationally. Within the last month, Brian was commissioned by Absolut Vodka again to design a 5 foot tall bottle for their use in any advertising campaign they choose.  This may be considered the “Absolut Petro” bottle!

 Coldwell Banker opened Art17 over a decade ago by Kevin McDuffe, the owner. His goal has been to open this office space to local artists to showcase their work. Recently, he brought in a curator for the space, one of the Mid City Artists, Brian Petro. While Petro is a full time artist, living and working in the Logan Circle area, he is also a curator of private spaces in the community. In the past, Art17 has featured artists such as Amy Flatten, Dylan Davis, and Matt Sesow. 

Brian Petro: Local Artist Supports His Community

It’s hard to step out in to the Logan Circle neighborhood without noticing the artistic touch of one artist that calls the area home. Brian Petro, a local artist who lives and works in Logan Circle, has been adding to his creative portfolio over the last several years through his exhibitions, open studios and curatorial work, and this summer will kick off even more. This weekend, May 18 and 19, Petro will host his bi-annual open studio tours in conjunction with his fellow artists of the Mid City Artist group. The doors to his basement studio under Vastu will be open both Saturday and Sunday, in addition to the walls of the 14th street furniture establishment being covered with his work. Petro will show his work at Vastu through June 2.

Petro, a great supporter of local art, is also involved in several curatorial projects. He currently curates for Coldwell Banker’s Art17 space, Vastu and the storefront of Avenue Settlement on 14th St. While the current Art17 show is a group show, featuring his Mid City Artist colleagues, Petro enjoys cultivating relationships with local artists and the process of selecting their work for his curation. When curating a new show he looks for “new, fresh, quality work and knowing that people enjoy their work is motivating.” Understanding the value of your work and how to market what you do as an artist is important to Petro, he enjoys giving other local artists the opportunity to show their work.

The current show at Vastu will be a retrospective of some of Petro’s latest works. His work is truly diverse, mixing mediums, narratives and materials to create images of the world around him. The inspiration and materials for his work often come from the world around him. Petro has made “dumpster diving” a large part of his artistic process, spending time searching through trash and recycling his findings in to his works. A recent trip to Brazil, one he has made many times before, was fruitful in both materials and inspirations. Petro found works at the new Museo de Arte do Brasil to be stimulating in their vibe, color and history of central Rio, something you can sense in much of his work. 

In the coming months, Petro will be busy supporting artists with shows at Vastu, Art17 and Avenue Settlement in addition to an upcoming show of his own at Fathom Gallery and a campaign for Absolut vodka. Petro is one of 4 artists in Washington DC who was asked to create a four foot bottle for Absolut that will be a nationwide, 14 city campaign for the vodka brand. The launch will take place at Mova Lounge at a to be determined date and time. Fathom Gallery will then host Petro and local artist Fabiano Amin for a joint exhibition in July, another Logan Circle community engagement. 

For more information on Brian Petro, his work and exhibitions, visit his website.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


Exhibition Preview: Mid City Artists at Art17: A Group Show

Painted a soft turquoise with deep blue windows and doors, an antique row house stands out for its simplistic beauty.

“There is something particular in the decay. Especially now that everything on every side of it is completely redone and gentrified,” said Regina Miele, whose oil on linen painting, Mid-City Blue, is a depiction of an actual house on P Street.

Mid-City Blue is part of “Mid City at Art17: A Group Show,” the latest exhibition featuring thirteen Mid City Artists, a diverse group of artists living and working in the Dupont and Logan Circle neighborhoods of Washington, DC.

In anticipation of the Spring Open Studios Tour on May 18 and 19, Art 17 highlights some of the group’s most interesting works in a variety of mediums.

While Mid-City Blue draws inspiration from ideas about beauty and the Mid City neighborhood, which Miele has been painting for many years, her other work in the show, a charcoal drawing on foamcore, Chesapeake Gotham, concerns issues of motion.

“I’m fascinated by the idea of trying to render something in motion still, not having the motion behind it,” explained Miele. “The majority of shows that I have are in New York and not in Washington, so I’m constantly on Amtrack, a lot of the time thinking and shooting. I leave it to chance, what the camera will come up with.”

Just as Miele’s artistic practice, self-described as autobiographical, concerns the objects, events and materials in her immediate environment, Scott G. Brooks is most inspired by his personal relationships, as well as contemporary social and political themes and events.

“She’s in this great, dark, bleak world. She’s trying to make the best for her baby with all the toys, despite what’s going on around her,” Brooks said of his painting, Mother Instincts.

Framed by an architectural structure reminiscent of Flemish portraiture, a young mother with wide-set green eyes and a Bumblebee tuna can placed on her head in the fashion of a Jackie Kennedy pillbox, looks out with a sense of eagerness. Her hopeful smile and prayer hands are incongruous to the dystopian landscape.

“I try to get some humor [in my paintings] because the themes are dark,” explained Brooks. “There always is something that makes me smile and other people smile.”

While both Miele and Brooks primarily show their work in New York, as Mid City artists, their peers play an important role in each artist’s work and practice.

Miele looks forward to seeing her fellow Mid City artists at Art17, and receiving “a hometown response” to her artwork.

“It has made me a lot more open to having my work seen kind of in a half-finished, un-finished, in-the-middle-of-thinking-it-out state,” said Miele of the impact Mid City Artists has made on her art career.

Brooks has lived in the DC-area since 1990 and has been a Mid City artist since the group’s founding in 2010. When Mid City Artists hosts its’ Open Studio Tour each fall and spring, Brooks does not have to curate his apartment-housed studio. His walls are consistently filled with his artwork, and his door is often open to friends, family, and the curious DC arts patron.

Mid City at Art 17: A Group Show opens Thursday, May 2, 6:00- 8:00 PM
Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St. NW

Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Roxanne Goldberg