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Gaining Access 

A new Broad Street gallery explores realism.

Local audiences may recognize the work of Phil Geiger and Dean Dass, two Charlottesville artists represented by Reynolds Gallery. Geiger, a master of silence in sunlight, is represented in three characteristic domestic scenes. In each, figures go about their daily business while miraculous light infiltrates and colors their environments.

The quality of Geiger’s light always overrides color, texture, sound and taste, even though he convincingly portrays playing children, food, and a variety of materials and surfaces in his images.

Known for his body of delicate but powerful prints based on myth, Dass puts his introverted pursuits aside to paint landscapes. Dass’ large leap is leading to exuberant portrayals of the natural world as he experiences it directly. Here he handles scenes of rivers and rock formations with technical proficiency, and even better, emotional investment. Dass emphasizes how every form of matter creates the whole. As evident in his brush strokes every element of his natural surroundings become tactile — even atmosphere.

Another Charlottesville artist, Haley Hasler, paints humorous self-portraits as a means of reconciling the life of artist with that of wife, mother and ordinary person. Hasler’s blank expression surfaces in a variety of situations; sometimes she poses as a famous subject such as Madame Poisson, and in others she finds herself in realistic domestic scenes.

Steven Roebuck, a painter from Northern Virginia, frames dark portraits of women with tabloid-style drama. Each is a close-up, pinpointing a moment of emotional ambiguity. In “Not Remember” a look of panic takes over the subject while she avoids eye contact with the viewer and hides her mouth with her fingers. Roebuck’s entertaining over-the-top style works thanks to his solid competence in painting. His technical ability lends him credibility and permits him the license to work outside the conventions of traditional portraiture.

"Contemporary Realism” also includes the mature work of recent grad Jennifer Shelton, and students Gardner Phillips and Jessica Wohlers. S

“Contemporary Realism” is on display at Artists’ Downtown Access Gallery, 228 W. Broad St., through Nov. 5.

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