From Cecile Oreste
View Luis Gomez’s slide show of the three artist’s works on flickr; shots are captioned.
The Hamiltonian Artists Gallery promotes new emerging artists through its So Hamiltonian Fellows Program—a two-year fellowship awarded through an annual competition. Currently, you can view the work of three of their fellows Leah Frankel, Magnolia Laurie and Lina Vargas de la Hoz at the gallery located on the north side of U Street just east of 14th.The gallery hosted an opening reception last Saturday for the exhibition of paintings and installations, which runs until June 9.
Although each artist uses a unique medium, the three works collectively present physically binary relationships and investigate an exchange of energies. “It was an intuitive feeling to group these women,” said Hamiltonian Artists Gallery Director Jacqueline Ionita when asked about the decision to exhibit the three fellows together. “There is something poetic about their work and I hope people will realize the common theme.”
The first exhibit you experience as you enter the gallery includes paintings and installations by Magnolia Laurie. Her work explores the idea of construction/deconstruction through environments created upon masses of broken lines. According to Laurie, she plays off the idea of architecture, building and the cyclical nature of destruction, as well as nest like accumulations like those of birds.
Laurie’s work has been inspired by a variety of influences including ruins left behind in countries such as Turkey and the residue left behind by floods. Laurie hopes viewers will come away from her exhibit “curious about physical engagement, intrigued about the subject matter and engaged in conversation.”
As you walk further into the gallery, you experience an installation created by Lina Vargas de la Hoz. “Pull Over 2” is composed of knit sweaters, which she previously used for her thesis project. The installation explores the idea of having spaces that are connected, with each knit sweater symbolizing personal space.
In addition to thinking of objects as spaces, Vargas de la Hoz expects people to play and interact with the piece itself. “The viewer is a very important part of this piece,” said Vargas de la Hoz. “It’s about collaboration. It’s about the viewers, their interaction with the piece and the actions between the other viewers.”
The final installation, from Leah Frankel, investigates the exchange of energies through mounds of salt and blocks of ice. It is an interactive piece in which viewers will not only walk around the mounds of salt, but will also experience the voids the ice has left behind. Viewers will see different stages of the ice melting, which relates to the idea of construction/deconstruction also explored by Laurie.
“Leah is a sculptural scientist, according to Ionita. “Her work tends to speak to broader world issues that can be attributed to macro scale concepts or personal relationships.”
Ionita hopes the gallery will continue to be an incubator for new and emerging artists through the So Hamiltonian Fellows Program. In addition, she hopes artists recognize Hamiltonian Artists as “a safe house for experimentation that retains a high level of quality” and is “relevant to today’s art world.”