Spotlight: Lyudmila Agrich

A Q&A with Denver painter Lyudmila Agrich

Photo by Paul Miller

How it all began…

“I’ve been painting and drawing since I was a child. My parents originally put me in school to be a figure skater. This was back in Ukraine. All my teachers told my parents that I was supposed to study art. In high school, I decided to go to university for architecture. For five years, I studied architecture along with subjects like drawing, painting, sculpture, and art history. I practiced a little bit of architecture back in Ukraine, and then we moved to the United States and for six years I practiced architecture here. After that, I felt: It’s too much. It’s too technical. Architecture helped me to make this transition from one culture to another, but after several years I had to leave. It just wasn’t me— working from eight to five behind a computer. In 2001, I quit and decided to shop around for galleries that would show my work.”

How she picked her medium

“As I was shopping my work around, I found a little gallery on Broadway—since closed— that was interested in my art. The owner was painting with a palette knife. He liked my work, but asked if I could do palette knife painting, so I gave it a try. Eventually, it became all I did—it was second nature for me. It’s a very interesting and surprising way to paint. Very often I don’t know what will come out of my knife.”

Where she gets her inspiration

“I’m less logical when it comes to picking subjects—I rely on my feeling. I paint what captures my imagination and I use the subject matter as a vehicle to express my emotional response. I like city landscapes because I’m an architect, but it changes. Sometimes I paint more representationally; sometimes I lean towards abstract forms. I think a part of the change is because I paint with a palette knife. There is less control than with a brush, and that excites me.”

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Her influences

“I teach students, and they often influence me. It’s a paradox because I’m the one teaching them, but at the same time they are not conditioned or set in their ways. With students, they’re like white pieces of paper. I see some of what they do and think, ‘Wow, that’s interesting. Why was this person attracted to this thing? Why did she paint it this way?’ I pay attention to these kinds of things.”

Where to see her work

Agrich shows her work at galleries throughout Colorado, including Mirada Fine Art in Indian Hills, SmithKlein Gallery in Boulder, and Raitman Art Galleries in Breckenridge and Vail, as well as at her studio, Boarding House Studio Galleries, on E. 7th Ave. in Denver.

Lyudmila Agrich
Abstract painter