Black Artists of DC Presents: Emancipation: Meditations on Freedom
Curated by Esther Iverem
November 22, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Opening Reception: November 22, 7-9 PM Closing Reception: January 5, 2014, 2‐ 5pm
Daniel T. Brookings, Suzanne Broughel, Hebron Chism, Jenai Asemoa Davis, Carolyn Goodridge, Esther Iverem, Hubert Jackson, Jacqueline Lee, Elizabeth Sturges Llerena, Magruder Murray, Kisasi Ramsess, Gail Shaw-Clemons, Russell Simmons, Sidney Thomas, Eugene Vango, Curtis Woody.
Exhibition Jurors: Akili Ron Anderson, artist and educator and Alec Simpson, artist.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. Though the proclamation—which freed millions of African descendants from bondage—is the starting point, this show will also explore various aspects of emancipation, from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, to the social, economic and political realms as well. What does emancipation or freedom mean in the year 2013 compared to the year 1863,or throughout the millennia of human history? What is the meaning of freedom for different populations on the globe, or how has emancipation impacted relationships between different populations? How has technology altered our ideas about freedom? What does it mean to be free?
Curatorial Initiative: Non Serviam: New Directions in Graphic Design
Curated by Jessica Palone
Mentor Curator: Helen Frederick
September 14 – October 13, 2013
Panel Discussion: Sunday, Sept. 22 at 5 pm
Benjamin Critton, Anther Kiley, the collaborative team of Keetra Dean Dixon and J.K. Keller, Martin Venezky and Carolyn V. Marsden
These featured artists create works that blur the lines between traditional definitions of design and fine art. Their oeuvres move beyond functionality and the traditional client-designer relationship into the realms of individual and personal expression. As stated by curator Pavone, “They expand and radicalize their field, rebuking the strictures of functionality.”
The exhibition features compelling works that fuse typography and image in a variety of print media including “old school” letterpress, offset, lithograph, web, risograph, and 3-D printing.
Exhibition Opening Reception: Friday, June 7, 2013 from 7 to 9 pm Artists talk: Sunday, July 14 at 5:00 pm
Amy Hughes Braden, Lee Gainer, Piper Grosswendt, Michelle Lisa Herman, Rebecca Kallem, Corwin Levi, Rachel Schmidt, and Stephanie Williams.
Through diverse methods and materials, these artists are processing, filtering, and ultimately applying new meaning to the vast amount of information feeding our culture. Effectively embracing a collective stream of consciousness, these works draw on the many sources of input that color our perception of the world around us.
Modern technology is filled with content that spreads and tools that are designed to transcend our human limitations. The notion of forgetting is replaced by greater storage capacity, and external memories become extensions of our internal thought processes. The internet provides a democratization of information, allowing the past, the present, and the future to coexist. Our personal histories and collective experiences overlap, adding complexity and subduing information simultaneously.
The works in this exhibition manifest an outgrowth of the human mind and an increased consciousness of our world as experienced through various forms of media. These artists are responding to our digital age with a tangible potency, focusing on material and finding a place in the world through physical objects. Piper Grosswendt, Amy Braden, and Stephanie Williams use repurposed materials to create their works, transforming original functions and taking objects known and familiar to create works that are alien and mysterious. Radio Sebastian, Becca Kallem, and Lee Gainer work with text and imagery that is accessible in the public domain to convolute and alter information, encouraging new associations. Rachel Schmidt and Michelle Lisa Herman layer their materials to create new realities, prodding at the unknown. Each artist is dealing with this input and its sources in very different ways, but always engaging our senses via materiality.
Curated by Helen Frederick
Apprentice Curator: Jessica Pavone
April 26 – June 2, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, April 26, 2013 from 7 to 9 pm
Shahla Arbabi, Ed Bisese, Colby Caldwell, David Carlson, Mei Mei Chang, Michele Colburn, Nick Collier, Anna U. Davis, Sam Holmes, David Page, Annette Polan, Joyce J. Scott, and Julia Kim Smith
Curator Helen Frederick elicits the reactions of thirteen Baltimore-Washington DC based artists, who use various art mediums to question our current problematic conditions with regards to social issues and justice, in the exhibition FEAR STRIKES BACK.
This exhibition examines how we handle our fears and anxieties culturally, and how we build upon distortions of information fed to us by various types of media and social networking. One of the most urgent challenges facing society today is how we live with people who differ economically, racially, religiously, and ethnically. The thirteen artists selected were asked to present works that may transfigure suffering into other concepts, depending on their sensibilities.
All the artists in the exhibit are, in various ways, dedicated to community work and observing realities that affect their particular dilemmas and their unique positions in their communities, voicing their opinions without turning their backs. These major artists feature installations, new media, sculpture, video, sound, and two-dimensional works on paper and canvas.
The theme FEAR STRIKES BACK is derived from James Elkin’s book The Object Stares Back that supplies reasoning for how we see and how we don’t. The title also refers to how we too often “look back” in terms of concerns of social justice. The work in FEAR STRIKES BACK, allows us to observe our 21st century overexposure to the troubling, violent, and sometime staged images, which can lead us to mixed emotions – enjoying the spectacle of a horrible situation or sobering subject, while wanting it to stop or be stopped.
Susan Sontag professes in Regarding the Pain of Others that “the image as shock and the image as cliché are two aspects of the same presence.” Sontag also declares that there is not collective memory but collective instruction. In photography for example “The problem is not that people remember through photographs, but that they remember only the photographs….this…eclipses other forms of understanding, and remembering.” Sontag goes on; “At the beginning of modernity, it may have been easier to acknowledge that there exists an innate tropism toward the gruesome.” When we apply these concepts to the information that we are fed through our contemporary media and social networks, it is apparent that subversive influences are part of our lives.
DC Art Center presents the paintings of DC artist Joanne Kent in the exhibition Archeo, curated by Stuart Greenwell. Kent’s “constructed” paintings express themselves through the skillful use of materials—in this case oil paint and cold wax medium.
Says Kent, “My work is a continuing exploration of paint and its application. The works are experiential, about oil paint, color, texture, form, the intrinsic qualities of the materials, and how these works exist in an environment. I also sculpt (make constructions out of plywood and give the surfaces painterly treatment), and photograph, capturing similar forms and sensibilities.”
Greenwell goes further: “When looking at Kent’s work, my time as a child in the woods examining flora and fauna, minerals and organic matter, creeks and the creatures that inhabited them rush back to me. Her primal, unpurified surfaces bring to mind those organic elements: tree bark, stratified earth or stone, weathered wood, and quasi-ancient artifacts.”
Masterly manipulated, Kent brings painting squarely into the third dimension. Compact, thick and deeply engaging, the work invites the viewer to take time to examine them closely, as they unveil themselves slowly.
Opening reception: Friday, February 15 from 7 to 9 pm. Artists talk: Sunday, March 17 at 5:00 pm.
The paintings in Distributed Processes reflect William Whitaker’s ongoing interest in the invention and experience of painted space. Whitaker chose diptychs rather than single canvases to force a disruption in the current, requiring a willful disregard of previous impulses to respond in a similar way—the line interrupted must find a new way; color against color becomes a choice of compliment or contrast; perspective must be altered or ignored; and space becomes ambiguous. Whitaker’s work achieves a difficult balance—intent and spontaneity co-existing to create new and unexpected worlds.
Whitaker’s work begins on paper with a series of drawings. Looking at his sketchbook, it would be easy to assume that these are random scribblings. But page after page reveals patterns, repetition, movement that are part of the artist’s muscle memory. It’s like automatic writing but from a completed script meditative, yet purposeful and guided by rules as much as whimsy. These drawings become part of the larger works, transferred to canvas by tracing or projection.
Whitaker describes his work as informed by (capital M) Memory—not the recollection of past events, sensations or feelings but rather the way Memory works throughout the brain informing sensation and movement and feeling and free will. From this process, Whitaker strives to create new spaces using these cobbled-together bits. Viewing his work should be thought of as a journey through neural pathways, a sometimes random and sometimes deliberate route designed to recreate the space around us.
Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2013 from 7 to 9 pm
DC Arts Center presents Journeys, a solo show of Washington D.C. artist Shanthi Chandrasekar. Her work is addressed to her inner sense of truth, which may best be defined in Her own term for the work in this show — Journeys, meaning a flow, a narrative, and/or an evolution. Her visual images whether representational or abstract, imply the presence of a truth behind them. That truth may be entirely personal, or universally obvious, but it’s expressed as a visual image.