BY ELIZABETH GRAZIOLI
Hidden beneath the 17th Street offices of Coldwell Banker, Art17 acts as bridge between its owners and the cultural community of Washington, DC. The space, opened by Kevin McDuffe, started showing local art over a decade ago. In 2013, Art17 began to take greater shape as an non-traditional gallery space curated by Brian Petro, a local artist who lives and works in the Logan Circle area.
Petro has used the down time during the summer to exhibit a retrospective of his work dating back to 1996. The work featured in this show represents his wandering, and wondering mind and the various mediums that it uses to express it. A native Pennsylvanian, Petro has been living and working in the Washington area but often finds himself traveling the world and using those influences in his work. The retrospective is an interesting blend of Petro’s recent works of joy, color and vibrant imagery of every day life, mixed with the older pieces that show some deeper thought, and those of his latest works in ink.
In March 2014, Petro was featured in the Washington Post for Ink-based works shown at Susan Calloway Art. When spending time walking through the show at Art17 this week, Petro reflected on the new style he has created with this body of work and one that you wouldn’t expect from him based on his previous pieces. The ink pieces are much harder to read and don’t offer the same vibrant insight into Petro’s thoughts. However, they are strikingly beautiful and simple in a way that is hard to replicate. His technique is one that has evolved from an old series using wax which he changed due to the increase in humidity found in DC summers. The three pieces exhibited in this retrospective are made with polyurethane, which gives the same gold color.
Petro’s retrospective will be on view through August 20 at Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 during normal business hours or by appointment.