Language is a powerful force — it’s capable of challenging our preconceived notions, toying with our beliefs and persuading us to consider the outside viewpoint.
However, when language is pulled out of the abstract realm and positioned directly in front of us in our three-dimensional corporeal world, the viewer’s engagement with the power of language is revolutionized, as he must learn to navigate, to experiment with and decipher object-forms in space.
Thomas Muller’s “Nothing Rhymes With Orange,” opening this Saturday, March 23 at Project 4 Gallery located in the U Street Corridor, compels the viewer to confront the interior architecture of letterforms by removing contextual limitations of language.
“¡buenos dias!” is spelled out and sits as large, block letters on the floor. Other phrases, such as “The man in the gray flannel suit has fallen over!” are positioned in a circle, some letters literally toppling over, creating a physical and intellectual engagement with the forms.
In a vein similar to the work of Liam Gillick, associated with the 1990’s Young British Artists, the viewer first experiences the piece from a purely visual level. He then is persuaded to physically engage with the work, slowly moving to an experience that requires reading and attempted comprehension of both the language and the aesthetic. The words are finally pushed back into their abstract realm when the viewer can conclude the work’s meaning.
“Nothing Rhymes With Orange” opens Saturday, March 23, with a public reception from 6 to 8:30 pm, and runs through April 27.
Project 4 is located at 1353 U Street NW, Suite 302. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon until 6 pm.
Having recently finished a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship in Italy, DC native Sonya Clark is back in the District with a solo exhibition of new work at Contemporary Wing. “AHEAD OF HAIR“ addresses issues of race, class and culture by using hair as a deeply personal medium.
Recently, ArtSee sat down with Clark to discuss her show and the details of her work.
ArtSee: How did hair become an inspiration for you?
Sonya Clark: I’ve been craving hair since I was a child, so I’ve had an interest for a long time. In the Africa Diaspora, there is a wealth of hairstyle and it’s a type of art. In a salon, they get a weave with a needle and thread being stitched. It’s working with the fibers that we and others grow.
ArtSee: Do you use real hair?
Sonya Clark: When I first started making pieces that were about hair, I didn’t actually use human hair. I used cloth and thread to approximate hair. At first I thought it was strange to use someone’s DNA and then sell it, with the history of selling bodies in this country. But now I use hair.
ArtSee: Whose hair do you use?
Sonya Clark: I use human hair and I’m particular about whose hair I would like to use. I use my own hair and hair of very good friends. I don’t use hair from strangers who try to give it to me, and there’s hair I would never sell — like my mother’s. I’ve made pieces that honor her through her hair, but they never end up on the market.
ArtSee: Do you have a favorite work of yours in “AHEAD OF HAIR?”
Sonya Clark: The newer work is where my interest is, so the pieces where I’ve taken those modernist formal tendencies and asserted myself. I’m enjoying Albers Study and Quadroon, or White Canvas where I unraveled the threads, treated it as the cloth it is, and then wove it together. I brought together painting, art and hairdressing.
To read ArtSee’s full review of “AHEAD OF HAIR,” visit the website.
“AHEAD OF HAIR” is on display at Contemporary Wing until March 2. Contemporary Wing is located at 1412 14th Street NW. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.
Bringing the art in DC to you, Roxanne
While the politicos are watching the presidential inauguration with staunch focus on Monday, the Borderstan art scene will be celebrating with celebrations, booze and cartoons.
Spinning a DJ set, Moby will be joined by DC-native and U Street Music Hall co-owner Will Eastman at U Street Music Hall for the Blisspop Inauguration Party on Saturday, January 19. For $40, celebrate the next four years by transcending into euphoria with the electric sounds of DC’s latest dance craze.
For more subtle, slightly intellectual and giggle-worthy inauguration entertainment, visit Studio Gallery’s latest exhibition, Donkeys and Elephants: A Celebration of American Political Cartoons. The exhibition features such prominent cartoonists as Herb Block, most well-known for his vicious portrayals of President Nixon, and Thomas Nast, who established the Democratic symbol as the donkey we know today.
To prepare for the big event on Monday, treat yourself on Sunday to the Inaugural Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Mansion on O Street. Dine among antique paintings, Grecian sculptures and long-lost cultural artifacts. Come early or stay late to sift through original manuscripts, lively photographs, and jewelry gems hidden in the 32-room mansion.
Cushner, one of the most successful artists in the District, displays a series of work that has not been seen or shown in 20 years. What makes this show so unique is how Cushner completely redefines the boundaries of a canvas.
In nine of the works on display, Cushner’s goal is to explore patterns, repetition, size and symmetry of an image, mostly confining him to the same color palette. He finds, through his explorations, that these works could not be translated on a regular canvas.
Cushner says that he doesn’t “want paintings to be anything they’re not,” so he gave his work new life with unconventional canvas sizes and shapes. No two canvases are the same and they highlight the striking images that Cushner creates.
Each work in the show has a true sense of balance and symmetry, even with the drips and splatters of paint that Cushners says are completely natural due to his thin application of paint. His process of sketch to canvas is deliberate and once the thought is on paper it is clear that he does not deviate from that image. In addition to the works, Hemphill shows some of Cushner’s original sketches that are a really powerful addition.
The show will be up through March 9 to kick-off Hemphill’s 20th anniversary. It is a perfect celebration of new ideas with historic value and a wonderful collaboration between the artist and his long time gallery representation. For more information on the show visit hemphillfinearts.com.
FotoWeekDC, a city-wide event that provides exposure for photographers through numerous exhibitions, is November 9 – 18. While all of FotoWeekDC is going to blow DC away this year, we have recommendations in Borderstan that are worth putting on your calendar.
ART TRAVELS. 1328 Corcoran Street NW, #2, November 13, 7 pm – November 14 2012, 9:30 pm. The Adah Rose Gallery (Kensington, Md.) will travel to the city for a pop-up show at a private residence in Logan Circle. According to Adah Rose, “From Polaroid’s to large format, from fashion to portraiture, from landscape to love, our photographers will challenge you to think about all that photography encompasses. FotoWeekDC gives the Adah Rose Gallery a chance to show the breadth and beauty of this dynamic art form.” Featured artists include Julie Wolsztynski, Esther Hidalgo, Ann Chwatsky, Angela Kleis, Laila Jadallah, Asia Reynolds, D.B. Stovall, Ian Delaney Doherty, John Anderson, Salma Khalil, Scott Speck, Jean Francois Delamarre, Anne Hollande, Regine Guillemin, Amanda Horowitz and Willie Davis. The pop-up will include photographs collected from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s from Europe and the United States.
Camera: Weapon of Choice. Busboys & Poets (2021 14th Street NW), November 14, 6 – 8 pm. Celebrate the 100th birthday of Gordon Parks, a mid-twentieth century civil rights influencer, with a panel discussion to explore the core purpose of his work. On Wednesday, Critical Exposure will host an event to explore the essence of Parks’ work through the perspective of current photographers and students. Panelists include John Franklin (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Lucian Perkins (Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist from the Washington Post), Lori Waselchuk (award-winning documentary photographer and arts activist) and Mike Ruff (12th-grade Critical Exposure Fellow).
Tropicalia Discoteca After Party. Tropicalia (2001 14th Street NW), November 14, 9 pm – midnight. After exploring the work of Gordon Parks, head to Tropicalia for the Wednesday After Party DISCOTECA! The night will feature the band BIG EAST and D.J.s Ozker and Mr. Bonkerz. For just $20 you get an open bar from 9-11 pm, complimentary late night bites and the chance to take your own photos while dancing the night away. Tickets can be purchases here.
InstantDC and Strata present Soul of the City. Josephine Butler Park Center (2437 15th Street NW), November 15, 6 – 10 pm. InstantDC has teamed up with Strata Collective this year to showcase photographs from Greg Schmigel, Jim Darling, Matt Dunn, Michael Andrade, Aziz Yazdani, Emily Reid, Ryan Maxwell, Jorge Bañales and more in the Soul of the City photography exhibition. InstantDC and Strata Collective will each have their own gallery rooms to display the works. Refreshments and small food courses will be served. There will be two free drink tickets available and a cash bar. When tickets are purchased, ticketholders will gain access to the exclusive preview party, to purchase click here.
Who: Jane Johnson
Where: Her current show is featured at Vastu (1829 14th Street NW)
When: Now through November 11
Why: Jane Johnson tells stories with her work. These stories, although not obvious, can capture viewers to take them each to a different place. They are the perfect addition to a contemporary art collection.
Jane Johnson has committed herself to her artwork from the young age of seven and continued on through her BFA to produce meaningful, abstract works. Most recently in her career, Johnson has been working in mixed media paintings that combine materials, paints, colors and stories. Johnson says she “loves to incorporate her life long love of drawing and oil painting with collage and acrylics as well as other mediums.”
In her collection shown at Vastu, Johnson will bring the viewer into the canvas with each work to find the story within. Each piece has multiple layers of acrylic, collage, oil and various drawing techniques. Johnson develops the canvas through the buildup of materials and allows the drips of paint, and paper to shape the surface and create a unique experience. She uses a quote from Renoir’s son about his father to describe her work “he was very careful to keep an impression of transparency in his picture throughout the different phases of the work … he worked on the whole surface of his canvas [and] the motif gradually emerged from the seeming confusion, with each brushstroke.”
Johnson’s work in this solo show will certainly show the stories of each canvas and the different phases of how she transformers them in to art. She is constantly attempting to show the narrative that the different materials can create on her canvas and hopes to share them with the visitors of Vastu.
For more information on Jane Johnson and her current exhibition:
Jane Johnson’s work will be available for viewing at Vastu from September 23 – November 11, Monday-Saturday 11 am to 7 pm and Sundays from noon to 5 pm. For more information please visit her website.
If you attended the inaugural party launch for Cafe Saint-Ex’s Pass the Peas on Wednesday (the Pass the Peas series is a soul food and music event that takes place on the second Wednesday of each month), you may have noticed a new sight across the street. Over the past two days, French photograffeur “JR” and a team of volunteers from New York and DC took over the façade of an empty building at 1401 T Street NW.
The result? A new black-and-white civil rights-themed mural based on a picture of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike of 1968 by photographer Ernest Withers.
It’s a rare treat to have JR, a photographer, street artist and activist (or photograffeur, from the mix of the French words for photographer and graffiti) here in the District. Outside of his (and my!) hometown of Paris, he typically works in more “tense” areas, like the slums of Kibera, Kenya, the favellas of Rio de Janeiro or the wall separating the Palestinian territories from Israel.
In fact, JR has only worked twice before in the United States, in New York (he’s keeping an eye on the Williamsburg bridge and the high line) and in Los Angeles. We can thank Lauren Gentile of Contemporary Wing (1412 14th Street NW) for helping bring JR to our town and our little part of the city. Gentile, who had previously been instrumental in bringing Shepard Fairey to our area, pursued the Frenchie after watching and being inspired by his TED Talk online (JR won a TED prize last year). And we’re sure glad she did!
I’m not sure how long the mural will stay up for, but I personally love it.
What do you think?
Fall is here and that means it’s time for the Mid City Artists Fall Open Studios. Open Studios are held twice a year during the spring and sfall, and this season’s event is this weekend, October 13 and 14.
A total of 20 artists are participating this Saturday and Sunday, all of them in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Mid City Artists has an easy-to-read map with participating artist studios. Studios are open in the afternoon; check the map for exact times for each artist.
There are almost 40 Dupont-Logan artists in Mid City Artists, many of whom either work out of home spaces or have studios in non-traditional spaces. Mid City Artists explains, “Everyone seems curious about how artists fit their act of creation into busy schedules that often include full time jobs and families–and spaces that may also double as dining rooms or basements, garages or carriage houses.”
Below is a list of this year’s participants in the Mid City Artists Fall Open Studios. Click on the link to read the artist’s Borderstan profile.
- Sondra N. Arkin – Painter, Mixed Media. 1764 Church Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm.
- Chuck Baxter – Found Art Sculpture. 914 Westminster Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Scott G. Brooks – Painting. 929 Florida Avenue NW, Apt 7008. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Robert Cole – Metal Sculpture and Susan Cole – Painting/Drawing. 1714 REAR 15th Street NW (Carriage House) – Go down the alley at 1708 15th Street. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Aster da Fonseca – Abstract Painting. 1327 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 1-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 1-5 pm.
- Thomas Drymon – Painting. doris-mae studio. The studios at 1716 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Gary Fisher – Painting. 1327 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Glenn Fry – Silk Screen Artist. 1327 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Charlie Jones – Painting. 2125 14 Street NW #317W. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm.
- Sally Kauffman – Painting. The studios at 1716 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Miguel Perez Lem – Painting, Photography, Mixed Media. Lem Design. 1843 14th Street NW, 3rd floor. Saturday, October 13, 12-6 pm, Sunday, October 14, 1-7 pm.
- Regina Miele – Painting. ARTS@1830. 1830 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Lucinda Murphy – Painting. 1704 Florida Avenue NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Dave Peterson – Painting, Printmaking. The studios at 1716 14th Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Brian Petro – Abstract Painting, Photography. 1829 14th Street NW (below Vastu). Saturday, October 13, 12-6:30 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-4:30 pm.
- Peter Alexander Romero – Painting, Sculpture. 1320 Wallach Place NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- George Smith-Shomari – Painting. 912 Westminster Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 12-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Robert Wiener – Art Glass. DC Art Glass, 1322 Corcoran Street NW. Saturday, October 13, 11-5 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-5 pm.
- Colin Winterbottom – Photography. 1829 14th Street NW, lower level (below Vastu). Saturday, October 13, 12-6:30 pm, Sunday, October 14, 12-4:30 pm.
Enjoy the art and meeting the artists at the Mid City Artists Open Studios — many of them truly are your talented neighbors!
This weekend is the highly anticipated (e)merge Art Fair, a four-day-long event that celebrates international and underrepresented art from more than 152 artists hailing from 24 countries.
The 2012 fair will take place October 4th through 7th at the Capitol Skyline Hotel (10 I Street SW), and will feature new works in performance, installation, painting, sculpture, video and other media, as well as panel discussions with art experts and professionals.
(e)merge kicks off on Thursday, October 4 with a preview from 7 until 9 pm, followed by a concert by the hotel’s pool from 9 until 11 pm with Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation DJ Set. Tickets to Thursday’s festivities are $45 in advance and $60 at the door.
The fair is open to the public on Friday, October 5 from noon until 7 pm; on Saturday, October 6 from noon until 7 pm; and on Sunday, October 7 from noon until 5 pm. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.
For more information on (e)merge, visit the website.
Art is everywhere. This week, the DC-based local arts company ArtSee is hosting two artist showcases in Borderstan.
On Wednesday, August 8, join ArtSee for its monthly artist happy hour series at Local 16 (1602 U Street NW). From 6 until 8 pm, ArtSee will display the latest works from Ariel Messeca, a local painter and illustrator.
This summer, ArtSee and Local 16 are collaborating on these happy hours to increase the exposure of local artists and showcase their art to new audiences. Messeca is the third artist to be featured in the Local 16 happy hour series.
On Thursday, August 9, ArtSee will feature the work of Lindz Routt at One Lounge (1606 20th Street NW) for Ladies DC. Routt’s paintings, which focus on “time capsules of intimacy,” will be on display from 6 until 8 pm.
Both events are free (cash bar available) and open to the public. For more information, visit ArtSee’s website.
For three days this summer The Wilderness Society will showcase its private collection of Ansel Adams photographs to the public.
On Sunday, July 22, Thursday, July 26 and August 24, join the leading American conservation organization to witness 75 of Adams’ original prints at the Wilderness Society Headquarters (1615 M Street NW, Suite 200).
The events start at 5 pm and go until 7:30 pm. Photography expert, Marie Martin, will be on-hand to make remarks on the art and to answer questions from the public.
Wine, Wilderness and Ansel Adams is free and open to the public. RSVPs are encouraged, but not required. For more information contact Lora Sodini at 202-429-2619.
DC-based Fathom Creative and Transformer Gallery are teaming up with Visual AIDS, an organization that uses art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue and supporting artists, to bring a former New York exhibition to the neighborhood.
The exhibition, ReMixed Messages, explores the personal and political dichotomies of HIV/AIDS. The show highlights more than 30 text-based works from local and internationally recognized artists that reflect reactions to, and connections through, HIV/AIDS across generations.
The exhibition is free and open to the public; it will run from July 24 through August 4 at Fathom Gallery (1333 14th Street NW). The opening reception is on Tuesday, July 24 from 7 until 9 pm and the closing reception will take place on Thursday, August 2 from 6 until 8 pm. Hours: Tuesday, July 24 through Friday, July 27, 2 to 6 pm; Saturday, July 28, noon to 6 pm; Tuesday, July 31 through Saturday, August 4, 11 am to 3 pm.
Some of the exhibition’s featured artists include Tim Tate, Linda Hesh, Maggie Michael, John Giorno, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yoko Ono, Jack Pierson, David Wojnarowicz, Kay Rosen and Rob Wynne. First presented at La MaMa La Galleria in New York in 2011, this DC exhibition, curated by John Chaich, coincides with the 2012 International AIDS Conference, which takes place in DC this July.