Khánh H. Lê, Born Too Late,
February 26 – April 4

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The Rest of His Family in the Living Room on the Other Side of the World, Gold and silver pen, gold gelly roll pen, silver leafing, and acrylic jewels, 22” x 32” x 1/8”

Born Too Late

Khánh H. Lê
Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow

February 26 – April 4, 2010

Opening Reception: February 26, 7-9 pm
Artists Talk: Sunday, April 4 at 3 pm

Twenty years after fleeing his native Vietnam, Khánh Lê is in ardent pursuit of his own legend. On a stubborn quest to decode the cultural patterns of the America he now inhabits and confront the mythologies which cling to the fast-changing land he left behind, Lê raids visual archives both familial and public. The result of the artist’s systematic scouring of this historical inventory Arresting photogravure etchings that betray the mechanics of propaganda. Swarovski-studded collages that obscure so as to reveal. Ethnographic revelations fueled by an exile’s yearning to – somewhere – belong.

Born in 1981 in Mỹ Tho, Vietnam, Khánh Lê received an M.F.A. from Syracuse University in 2008 and is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Children’s Studio School. In 2009, he received a Small Projects Grant from the DC Commision on the Arts and Humanities. This show will mark the first exhibition of Lê’s prints and drawings in the Washington DC area.

Adam de Boer, Memory Meets Imagination Halfway,
January 15 – February 21

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Dog Walk, acrylic and oil on panel, 2009

Memory Meets Imagination Halfway

Adam de Boer
Curated by Laura Roulet

January 15- February 21, 2010

Opening Reception: January 15, 7-9 pm
Conversation with the Artist: February 21, 5 pm

Themes of social ritual and emerging sexuality are set against the luminous landscapes of Southern California and Mallorca, Spain in Adam de Boer’s new series of narrative paintings,Memory Meets Imagination Halfway. Evoking Vladimir Nabokov as psychological literary muse, de Boer also engages the art historical influences of Francisco Goya, Balthus and Eric Fischl.

Pat Goslee, Flow,
November 21 – January 4

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Sceptor, Mixed Media, 2008

Pat Goslee: Flow

Mixed media works by Pat Goslee

November 21, 2009 – January 4, 2010

Opening Reception: November 21, 7-9 pm

“Flow” represents the most recent work by Washington, DC’s Pat Goslee, an intuitive artist whose paintings seek to part the curtain that, according to Kabbalah, separates the physical world from the spiritual. The work raises the questions: How do we store information, emotional baggage, and awareness? What do we absorb and what do we filter out? What layers need to be removed, or rearranged, in order to achieve change?

The most obvious unifying element in Goslee’s mixed media work is pattern: layers of color and form operate as a visual metaphor for layers of awareness. The results achieved often depict isolated moments, visualizations of energetic states rather than representations of the physical world. The work in “Flow” is, to a large degree, about not knowing. Goslee elicits the intellectual courage required to face questions not easily answered. These inquiries straddle the line between belief and science, question the nature of existence, and ultimately tap into what Jung called the “collective unconscious.” There is a freedom in the unknown which comes through intuition, and you might find that the separation between the physical and the spiritual, the personal and the universal, dissolve into a freely flowing energy.

Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, Suspicious Activities,
October 17 – November 16

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Collateral Damage, Bleach, color pencil, acrylic on paper, 22” x 30”, 2007

Suspicious Activities

Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter
Curated by Michael Platt

October 17 – November 16, 2009

Opening Reception: October 17, 7-9 pm

Suspicious Activities: Depicting parallels between the local, national and international use of militarized language and the contradictions in our country’s foreign and domestic conduct. Rather than accusing the individual of “suspicious activities,” Gibson-Hunter turns the phrase on its head in this collection of paintings and works on paper, exposing the corruption of language and meaning that pervades our current political climate. The suspicious activities shared in her works are building blocks for a dangerous Orwellian world. The work examines language from a variety of recent and ongoing crises and conflicts, including the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, the numerous unsolved murders of African Americans in Washington D.C, and the ongoing crisis in Darfur, exposing parallels between the local, national and international use of political language and the covert activities they conceal. The work was created to encourage the public to acknowledge and confront the contradictions of our era.

Findings, curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow and Blair Murphy
October 16 – November 15

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Kathryn McDonnell, Hemera, oil on canvas, 54”x76”. 2009

Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow and Blair Murphy

October 16 – November 15, 2009

Artists Talk: November 8, 3 pm

Featuring work by Deborah Carroll Anzinger, Peter Gordon, Michael Matason, Lisa McCarty, Kathryn McDonnell, Karen Joan Topping and Jenny Walton

On Sunday November 8th at 3pm, join the members of Sparkplug, DC Arts Center’s resident collective, for an artists talk and take the opportunity to see Findings, their current exhibition in the DCAC Gallery. Findings brings together diverse work from the collective’s seven members and considers the artistic process as a mode of inquiry, a domain characterized by sustained research and vigorous experimentation, yet focused less on the production of definitive answers than on the discovery and negotiation of contradictory truths. While the exhibition demonstrates the diverse concerns and creative tactics of the nine Sparkplug members, it also reflects the purposeful development of Sparkplug as a collective over the group’s first two years of working together.

Positing art as an ideal vehicle for navigating seemingly irreconcilable ideas and inspirations, and raising questions about the nature of new knowledge and the Artist’s Work, FINDINGS brings themes cultivated during collective meetings and studio visits into the gallery space. In this way, the audience is invited to engage in active conversation with individual artists, and with Sparkplug as an organic and multifarious whole.

Curatorial Initiative: Poetics of Material, curated by Landria Shack,
September 11 – October 11

Kate Carrk, Felt Coils, Hand-cut, hand-sewn, felt on plywood backing, 2007, 3 x 28 x 1

Poetics of Material 

Work by Kate Carr, David D’Orio and Lisa Hill
Curator: Landria Shack
Curatorial Mentor: Laura Roulet

September 11 – October 11, 2009

Opening Reception: September 11, 7-9 pm

The Poetics of Material explores the role of materiality in contemporary sculpture, featuring three artists who explore and exploit a variety of materials and processes. The resulting work marries the conceptual with striking formalism, drawing from and expanding on the legacy of post-minimalism.

The Twelfth Man, curated by Faye Gleisser,
June 12 – July 12

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The Twelfth Man

Patrick McDonough and Kenny George

June 12 – July 12, 2009

Opening Reception: June 12, 7-9 pm
Gallery Talk: July 12, 5-7 pm

In the game of American football eleven players take the field. For those familiar with football colloquialisms, the phrase The Twelfth Man refers to the collectivity of the crowd and the fans’ emotional investment in the action. In the context of this art exhibition, the title The Twelfth Man carries connotations of spectatorship and serves as an introduction into the artistic reconsideration of fandom, achievement, play, and new-age masculinity presented by Kenny George and Patrick McDonough. Seen together in this installation, the selected works challenge the marginalization of the individual fan, and re-establish recreational outlet as a valuable and creative, albeit problematic, social act. Utilizing model cars, super-soakers, pogo-sticks, stilts and video games as instruments of artistic expression, George and McDonough address alternative mythologies of play and maleness through varying degrees of agency that offer compelling recapitulations of boyhood informed by the development of a virtual, cyber world, as well as humorous respite from the mundane obstacles of adult life.

The Twelfth Man marks George and McDonough’s first public collaboration. Before crossing paths as students in the MFA program at The George Washington University, George and McDonough completed BA’s at the University of Akron, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively. George currently works in several mediums, including photography, lenticular flip animation, interactive video, and video games, while McDonough’s craft is much more hands-on, often employing embroidery, collage and painting within a single object. Although each artist’s work appears disparate in medium, scale and material, the confrontation of unnecessary obstacles—the essence of any game—links the two in intention. What do these pieces tell us about the status of play in our society? Is art play? Can play be art? As the visibility of a global community of spectators grows with the unprecedented interactivity of the Internet, and leisure activities become more and more coveted during this period of economic downturn, such questioning of achievement and play conceivably identifies the real salience of George and McDonough’s art and the tropes displayed within The Twelfth Man.

Curatorial Initiative: Gift Exchange, curated by Laura Roulet,
May 8 – June 7

Curatorial Initiative: Gift Exchange

Curated by Laura Roulet
Apprentice Curator: Landria Shack

May 8 – June 7, 2009

Opening Reception: May 8, 7-9 pm
Gallery Talk: June 7, 3 pm

Cynthia Connolly, Edgar Endress, Helen Frederick, Inga Frick, Muriel Hasburn, Dennis O’Neil, Thomas Campbell, Joseph Casseus, Julia Kjelgaard, Gillian Brown, Jennifer O’Neil, S. Dukachev

Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s classic 1979 book The Gift, Gift Exchange presents the work of six accomplished Washington D.C. artists paired with six works by associated artists received in exchange. Relationships between artists such as teacher-student, mentor-acolyte, and collaborators are conveyed in the stories of these exchanges. The notion of art as a gift rather than a commodity, but also a gift as talent, as inspiration, and as catalyst for change, underlies the exhibit.

Ellington Robinson, Yesterday’s Tomorrow,
March 27 – May 23

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Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Ellington Robinson
Curated by Billy Colbert
Essay by Jefferson Pinder

March 27 – May 3, 2009

Opening Reception: March 27, 7-9 pm
Artist Talk: May 3, 5 pm

Ellington Robinson’s new paintings and mixed media works are inspired by the wisdom of Lao Tsu’s poems, “Tao Te Ching.” They appropriate the geometric forms of records, Dan, and Dogon masks used to initiate youth into adulthood and draw on the seascapes of St. Thomas — which are, for the artist, spiritual locations where introspection and reflection take place. Using the elemental hierarchy of shape and color, Robinson hopes to evoke a sense of solitude through interior and exterior spaces and reconnect people with a sense of “nothingness.” “In the role of artist-philosopher, Robinson uses his works to illuminate the world around him. There is a wonderful intention in each stroke that goes beyond any formal elements that he employs in his painting. His calculated spontaneity informs and delights, while constantly being grounded in his own definition of reality.” — Jefferson Pinder

“The past is present is what comes to mind when I see the works of Ellington Robinson. Yesterdays Tomorrow represents the Essence of Ellington. In this body of work he explores topics that are close and dear to him — music, civil rights and the necessity of a positive environment. He reconstructs the urban decay of his youth by using elements from that same environment, thus allowing the viewer to harken back to Washington, D.C. during the mid 1980’s. The pieces are a snapshot of where a young man watches jazz hand the baton to hip-hop.” — Billy Colbert

Gretchen Schermerhorn, Genetic Drift,
February 13 – March 22

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Gretchen Schermerhorn, Vertebrae, handmade paper, bamboo, and wax linen thread, 22″ x 6″ x 5″, 2007

Genetic Drift

Gretchen Schermerhorn
Curated by Anita Walsh

February 13 – March 22, 2009

Opening Reception: February 13, 7-9 pm

In this exhibition Gretchen Schermerhorn continues to explore her fascination with science and psychology in her artistic practice. Inspired by English physicist and novelist C.P. Snow’s call for a “third culture,” Schermerhorn works to bridge the gap between art and science through both her creative process and visual references to biology and animal behavior. Pattern and sequencing in her work also references communication systems like computer punch cards and DNA coding.

With paper as her medium, Schermerhorn creates prints and sculptures using repetition and pattern in an organic way. More specifically, she shows what happens when small elements within a pattern become disrupted or changed and how this affects the overall structure. Genetic drift is the accumulation of random changes in a gene pool. The individual changes are miniscule and gradual—and the drift is often very slow—but over time these changes cause big alterations to the gene pool. Ultimately, variants of a gene can disappear completely or evolve as in natural selection. Schermerhorn’s installations, which contrast natural patterning with decorative wallpaper, vary in much the same way—adapting to a specific time and space.

David Hartwell, Broad Street Pilgrimage, Richmond, Virginia.
January 9 – February 8

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Broad Street Pilgrimage, Richmond, VA

David Hartwell
Curated by Bridget Sue Lambert

January 9 – February 8, 2009

Opening Reception: January 9, 7-9 pm

On a sunny day in October 2007, David Hartwell took a long walk. He hiked 16.82 miles on U.S. Highway 250 in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, counting the steps as he went. The highway—named Broad Street—is home to urban, suburban and rural environments. During his journey he stopped at 14 specific sites to take photographs, collect objects, and record data. Broad Street Pilgrimage, Richmond, VA presents the images that document his journey, his memories, and the souvenirs collected at each site. The memories associated with the sites are not those of high impact, traumatic, formative, or atypical events. They are, in fact, quite ordinary. David’s work examines memory and its relationship with personal history and location.

15375 Steps, 12:58pm, Broad Street and West End Drive, “I’ve seen countless movies at the West Tower theater…When Home Alone was new…it was always sold out. When we finally did get tickets, a fire in the popcorn maker set off the theater’s smoke alarm…I was so disappointed.”

Kid Mutiny, curated by Ellen Tani,
June 13 – July 13

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Kid Mutiny

curated by Ellen Tani
curatorial project mentor: J.W Mahoney

June 13 – July 13, 2008

Toy Punks Film screening: 5:30pm, July 13
Artist Talk: 7:00pm, July 13

Kid Mutiny goes out with a bang! Come by DC Arts Center this Sunday for a film screening, artist talk and closing reception for the exhibition Kid Mutiny.

Anne Benolken, The Apotheosis of Kali,
May 16 – June 8

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Anne Benolken, Detail Kali Tries to Derail Her Train of Thoughts, inkjet print, 12.5″ x 16″, 2007

The Apotheosis of Kali

Anne Benolken
curated by Carolyn Reece-Tomlin

May 16 – June 8, 2008

Opening Reception: Friday, May 16, 7 – 9 pm

Anne Benolken’s first solo exhibition of photographs is inspired by her artist book “The Apotheosis of Kali.” Worlds collide in Benolken’s boxes, dollhouses and photographs, the fruits of a career-long exploration into how culture intersects with emotion and intellect. Hindu philosophy meets B-movie sci-fi horror backdrops and toy store gizmos, creating a new narrative where we are allowed to peer in on the artist-made figurines of the domesticated goddess Kali as she contemplates the forces of creation and destruction that she holds within her power. Thought-provoking, occasionally humorous, always poignant captions draw us further into Kali’s gray, Peyton Place-esque habitat. It is a world punctuated by the saturated colors of dime store novelties and religious icons that elevates Benolken’s spot-on observations of human nature to a culture-crossing miniature epic for the here and now.

Jerome Spinner, Ipso Facto,
March 28 – April 27

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Ipso Facto

Jerome Spinner
curated by Jefferson Pinder, Karen Joan Topping and B Stanley

March 28 – April 27, 2008

Opening Reception: March 28, 7-9 pm

Painting over the anonymous with the obvious is the dialogue Jerome Spinner is entering into with anyone that looks at his work. To answer your question before you ask it; to exert a kind of meaningful control over what you should consider is important. Stenciling the title, media, size and year in block letters onto art works he gets at flea markets, yard sales and thrift shops the label becomes the work. It seems a blatant and simple critique of the relationship most viewers have with a work of art or artifact –the six seconds it takes to read the label. Except it’s not that simple.

Matthew Langley, Paintings + Paperworks,
January 18 – February 18, 2008

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Come From Heaven, oil on canvas, 2007, 54 ” X 54 “

***From the Archives***

Paintings + Paperworks

Matthew Langley
curated by J.W. Mahoney

January 18 – February 17, 2008

Opening Reception: Friday, January 18, 7-9pm

In his first solo show at District of Columbia Arts Center, Matthew Langley is showing paintings and paperworks that explore multiple mediums but ultimately investigate an approach to painting from divergent strategies – one of building – the other of reducing. This process-based approach, combined with traditional easel painting, allows Mr. Langley to develop works that are multifaceted, while continuing to advance a reductive approach.



Click on an image to enlarge:

Sloganeers, curated by Liz Flyntz,
November 9 – December 9

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The Blind Spot, 2006, gouache on paper, 45 x 35”


curated by Liz Flyntz
curatorial project mentor: Suzan Shown Harjo

November 9, 2007 – December 9, 2007

Opening Reception: November 9 7-9 pm

featuring: Larry Krone, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Wendy Osher, Julia Dzwonkoski and Kye Potter, Evan Greenfield, Liz Rywelski and Lou Laurita

slo·gan·eer (slg-nîr)
n. A person who invents or uses slogans.
An exhibition of artists exploring the visual engineering of language: text that acts like image, image that encompasses text: containing the trigger for a broad host of engineered associations.