As far as group shows go, this one has soul. Domont Studio Gallery's Creativity and Content opened April 1 without a lot of fanfare, and offers a peek at some of the city's most evocative painters, chosen by gallery owner John Domont. Matthew Eickhoff's "Silent Niagara" suggests any number of potential narratives. The figures stand and look down, as if into an abyss, or perhaps, as the title suggests, Niagara; although the dramatic cascade of water is unseen. Instead, one imagines a wake or a vigil. The figures look down in worship, silenced as if by prayer. Eickhoff may not have intended such a somber scene, but muted tones, not quite pastels, suggest a quieter, reverent mood.
Equally somber, visually speaking, are Nancy Nichols' smoky landscapes: two oil paintings and "Twilight," done in pastels. While the palette is decidedly dark, Nichols suggests a peaceful place: the quiet of late evening before the full shroud of darkness, or the last glimmer of the sun suggested by the moon's glassy gleam on a slip of river.
Brian Myers' paintings are equally misty but abstract: Unruly and yet carefully choreographed "strings" suggest nothing concrete but are somehow grounded.
Then there's Sam Sartorious, who recently held a solo show at Domont. Sartorious' large-scale "Low Hanging Fruit" offers a rich world for the senses. Slightly abstracted, cartoonish in the best sense of the word, an amicable beast seems to float in a saturated palette of reds and browns, hovering among aimless ladders and flourishes of layered paint.
Certainly, this group offering has its share of recycled works. Most of the pieces lack dates, but it would appear that paintings by James Wille Faust, Magdalena Segovia and Paul Moschell are making encore appearances. Thankfully, these are paintings worth viewing again. Moschell's "Levinia, the Goddess of Springtime" is classic Moschell, with its large-eyed, Tim Burton-esque heroine who is equal parts light and dark. Spring is like that: Just when the crocuses triumphantly burst, the frost king makes one last stand. The Goddess Levinia, though, looks modest but triumphant, as goldfish cavort amongst lily pads behind her.
Visit Creativity and Content at Domont Studio Gallery, 545 S. East St. Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 11-5 and by appointment. Call 685-9634 or visit www.domontgallery.com