Pressure Points, curated by Deirdre Darden,
December 11 – January 10

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Pressure Points

Black Artists of DC
Curated by Deirdre Darden

December 11, 2015 ­- January 10, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, December 11, 7-­9 pm
Artist Talk & Happy Hour: Friday, December 18, 6-8 pm
Topic discussion & Closing Reception: Sunday, January 10, 5 pm

Aziza Gibson-Hunter, Imani Shanklin Roberts, Michael
Fischerkeller, Ashley Ja’nae, Elana Casey

Pressure points are vital points that when engaged, release energy and organize a system of communication throughout the body. In this exhibition, artists use oil and acrylic paintings, multimedia collages, and ink on paper to look at society’s pressure points and the external systems which cause internal stress, congestion, ache and fatigue. This visual analysis is not a protest, or the application of pressure, but instead the energy release that compresses tension and creates dialogue, relief.

pressure points on the sore
shoulder of US
when it’s released
onto US
first a rush of pain
through US
then sensations rage
in [ the ] US
­-Deirdre Darden

Nano Gallery: Jenny Walton, Singles Faire: Intimate Gestures,
November 6 – January 31

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Singles Faire #6, mixed media on NY metro card, 2011,, 2.5” x 3”

Singles Faire: Intimate Gestures

Jenny Walton

November 6, 2015 ­- January 31, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, November 13, 7-­9 pm
Gallery Talk: Sunday, January 31, 5 pm

Singles Faire is a body of work by artist Jenny Walton that repurposes instructional physical therapy diagrams to imagine narratives within attraction of the opposite sex. The figures in the works take on new meanings when attention is given to the subtle interplay between postures – what was once a neutered illustration becomes a situation of potential intimacy with the opposite sex. The added layer of ambiguity from implied non-­verbal communication between subjects opens the works to multiple interpretations ranging from attraction to repulsion.

The small paintings in Singles Faire: Intimate Gestures were created on New York City, Washington, DC transit fare cards, and paper ephemera. These bits of paper intensify metaphors of passage and journey from their original intentions as fare cards to works that develop layered meanings in body language. A variety of techniques including media transfer, watercolor, and drawing were used to create these works into awkwardly humorous views into the lives of singles.

Craig Kraft, Ground Zero,
October 23 – December 6

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Ground Zero XVI, 2013, found graffiti, neon, 2’x 3’x 3.5

Ground Zero

Craig Kraft

October 23 -­ December 6, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, October 23, 7 -­ 9 pm
Neon Light Sculpture: Historical and Contemporary use of Light in Art: Sunday, November 15, 7

Discussion and Closing Reception: Sunday, December 6, 5 pm
Graffiti vs. Neon: Discussion led by Kraft, moderated by Dr. Claudia Rousseau\

“After transforming my own random scribbles into neon drawings in the series “Unintentional Drawings” I noticed a photograph in (the NY times) of the Ground Zero Blues Club taken by Shane Lavelette for the High Museum in Atlanta. It was for an exhibition titled Picturing the South, 2010. The image of a corner of the club immediately resonated, reminding me of my own random graffiti. Yet it was different; it was done by strangers in a dark classic southern blues club. There were decades of mostly intentional, overlapping marks entirely covering the club. In February of 2013, I traveled to Clarksdale to see the graffiti, first hand. The visual impact was astonishing. The feeling was similar to when I discovered my unintentional drawings years before. I stayed for two days in Clarksdale collaborating with photographer Evy Mages taking 1,000’s of images of the club walls, ceilings and furnishings. They were all taken in low light and hand held. I selected the most poignant images, knowing I was going to light them and had them printed on 3’ x 2’ Epson premium photo paper­ enhanced matte. Painted and scratched neon tubing was then used to highlight, deconstruct and reinvent the original images.” ­

–Craig Kraft, 2015 ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

***From The Archives***
Curatorial Initiative: Studio Sacrilege, curated by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell,
September 11 – October 11, 2015

Curatorial Initiative:
Studio Sacrilege

Curated by Kayleigh Bryant-­Greenwell

September 11 ­- October 11, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, September 11, 7-­9 pm
Gallery Talk: Sunday, October 11, 5 pm

Amy Hughes Braden, Roxana Geffen, and Jackie Milad

We’re conditioned as respectable art patrons to appreciate the art we love at a distance – from beyond the other side of the glass. We’re also conditioned to respect the preciousness of a work of art – that it should be preserved, treasured, literally placed on a pedestal and otherwise untouched, unmoved, indifferent from ourselves and our changing environment. We believe in the permanence of art so much so that “adaptability” is an unheard of characteristic. Art exists in a fixed state and is not thought of as being capable of change.

Surprisingly artists – at least many contemporary artists – feel quite differently. While to us, the art patrons, the mere thought of changing an established artwork brings fears of sacrilegious destruction happening in war-­torn lands across the globe, to artists Amy Hughes Braden, Roxana Geffen, and Jackie Milad, it is simply part of the art-making process. Studio Sacrilege takes the viewer down the rabbit hole of the artist’s real art-making existence, where perfectly good canvases already adorned by paint at the artist’s hand, are frequently reused to create new art – or expand upon ideas from the original piece. Here, the audience must divorce itself from expectations of the exalted artwork to fully appreciate the power of the process. Each artist presents confirmed masterworks worthy of appreciation for aesthetics alone – but what unites them is their uncanny willingness to revisit such works to create anew.

The exhibit explores art’s singular capacity to revisit the past through experiences, processes, and memory in visual form. The perspective of the artist is achingly present as the viewer examines the layers of each work, shocked by the profound completeness of the work underneath, and moved by the beloved process of destruction, manipulation, and recreation. We get a glimpse of the tension, anxiety, thrills, and woes of making of art, for which the artist contends with in everyday practice.

Amy Hughes Braden, Roxana Geffen, and Jackie Milad explore what it means to be an artist through efforts in revisiting and reworking their past. Studio Sacrilege obliterates the norms of preserving and maintaining art in pristine untouched conditions by metaphorically thrusting the viewer out of the gallery and into the artist’s studio.


Nano Gallery: Rebecca Grace Jones, Small Worlds,
July 24 – October 25

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Untitled #1889, Acrylic, black and white charcoal, chalk, and oil pastel
2015, 7″ x 9″

Small Worlds

Rebecca Grace Jones

July 24 ­- October 25, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, July 24, 7-­9 pm
Artist Talk & Closing Reception: Sunday, October 25, 5 pm

When I start a painting I rarely know what it is going to turn out to be. I don’t use reference. I work intuitively.

I am interested in building up textures with my materials and creating a series of layers that reveal the history of each one’s application.

Often a painting is painted over, scraped off and reapplied in a new form. The repeated constructing and destroying and recreating builds a rich surface. The paintings are often finished with details, sometimes whimsical, always with attention to the subtle beauty of the mark.

The 18 pieces in this exhibit were worked on at the same time on one large sheet of watercolor paper. Some were resolved before others. Some took more attention. The resolution of one might have informed the solution for the next. Each one was lovingly manipulated until it spoke to me.

-­Rebecca Grace Jones, June 2015

Curatorial Initiative: Self/Non-Self: Sequence and Abstraction: Justin D. Strom, curated by Jefferson Pinder
April 24 – June 14

Certain and Endless Fig. 3, archival pigment print, resin, dye, 33.5″ x 33.5″ x 2″

Curatorial Initiative:

Self/Non­-Self: Sequence and Abstraction

Justin D. Strom

Curated by Jefferson Pinder
Apprentice Curator: Kayleigh Bryant­-Greenwell

April 24 -­ June 14, 2015
Opening reception: Friday, April 24, 7-­9 pm
Artist talk & closing reception: Sunday, May 17, 5 pm

In his first solo exhibition in Washington, artist Justin D. Strom presents seductive surfaces that express an aesthetic based on the human image as shaped by, and reflecting, our digital age: an age that attempts to dissolve the distinction between the virtual and the corporeal. Employing a hybrid of photography and digital printmaking, Strom navigates a world of microbiology and abstraction. Strom references opulent Dutch still life paintings through a rich canvas of constructed scenes that act as symbolic reminders of transformation and impermanence.

In Strom’s work, deepened black spaces deploy a sensibility towards negative space while vibrantly colorful surfaces draw you into a world of unfamiliar objects. These objects reference imagery of botanicals and life itself. The chiaroscuro-­like space is a stage for these strange figures to consume your attention, yet a sense of danger lingers beneath the surface—a warning against the luxurious and opulent feeling of these objects, referencing the brevity of life.

Engaging with issues in microbiology, cloning, and genetic sequencing with a sensibility for the fantastical sci­-fi films of the late 60s and early 80s, Strom toes the line between reality and fiction and considers our place in both. Abstraction becomes mutation, sequencing becomes the repetition of forms, and the line between art, science, technology is entirely blurred.

Of the body, of science and its fiction, of digital imagery itself, these works are a heightened sense of the immediacy of today’s major issues, concerning universal and personal experiences with technology, change, and our environment.

#thisistomorrow: Kirsten Leenaars,
March 20 – April 19

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Work by Kirsten Leenaars
Curated by Jose Ruiz

March 20 -­ April 19, 2015
Opening reception: Friday, March 20, 7-­9 pm
Artist talk & closing reception: Sun., April 19 at 5 pm

In her first solo exhibition in Washington, Chicago-­based artist Kirsten Leenaars presents a suite of video installations and text-­based works that taken as a whole are both a starting point and departure from our current political climate. #thisistomorrow brackets recent events such as Ferguson and Charlie Hebdo, among others, in order to form a sociopolitical space that can exist outside of the media and in the hands of a community.

In her newest video piece, especially conceived for DCAC and filmed in DC, Leenaars mines the tradition and format of the protest song and protest poem ­as an open call that brings together a range of local performers, musicians and poets to cathartically respond with their own artistic inflections and concerns. Re­mixed as a narrative sequence rather than a series of auditions, the video acts as a form of creative reportage uncovering personal experiences, collective histories, and a form of succinct expression that is devoid of hashtags, social media, and politicized slogans. What surfaces is a cross­ section of a local, creative community’s response to the abuse of power and the radicalization of ideas. The performers in the video include: Shanna Lim, Christianna Clark, Born I Music, Joseph Ross, Katy Richey, Alan King, Abby Braitwaite, Courtney Dowe, Mansoor Celestin, and Ethelbert Miller.

Two additional works form a conceptual triangle. A series of appropriated text-­based works derived from protest signs and placards of grievance, such as “Je suis Charlie,” highlight the possible shift towards an empathetic social consciousness. Yet they also implicate the subjective nature of language. Words, too, have the power to align themselves into unexpected chords of nuance, to pivot and reveal. Leenaars’ second video, Not In Another Place, But This Place… (Happiness), addresses the personal and collective notions of happiness. Acting as a neighborhood artist-­in-­residence in Edgewater, Chicago, Leenaars worked with local residents from all walks of life to respond to the prompt in the American Declaration of Independence—the pursuit of happiness. The three-­channel video is composed of scenes in which community participants embody their version of happiness through various performative actions within specifically designed sets.

As with most of Kirsten Leenaars’ work, her projects’ participants are given both the power and the role to complete the artwork rather than just being the subject in it. This spirit of art making underscores a progression in art, where the artist’s practice is perhaps more akin to that of a choreographer, producer, and community activist.

Nano Gallery: Akemi Maegawa, Thank You Artist Friends on Facebook Project
March 13 – June 21

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Thank You Artist Friends on Facebook Project

Akemi Maegawa

March 13 ­- June 21, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, March 13, 7­-9 pm
Gallery Talk: Sunday, June 21, 5 pm

“The majority of my Facebook friends are artists and art related people whom I have met before or artists whom I would love to meet in person one day. Facebook has become a virtual art salon to me. Of course I would prefer to meet friends and discuss things face to face but everyone’s busy schedules and different locations (many of them are international friends) won’t allow us to meet face to face easily.

Because of Facebook I feel close to far away friends and family as getting everyday information is so easy. We can discuss our concerns or social issues any time and pass around important news instantaneously. It is the biggest power of social media and I think artists are playing an important part in supporting our freedom of speech and expression through social media like Facebook.

My Thank You Artist Friends on Facebook Project allowed me to look closer at each of my artist friends. This project made me think about our crazy everyday life and let me take a longer time to reflect and question how we process any single image from the Internet.

I decided to reproduce a small profile picture of each of my artist friends on a small ceramic tile to be able to feel his or her presence and make the moment permanently frozen in time. I was hoping that those portraits, being the physical images on tiles, would remain to be “real” despite being shared only virtually with friends. I looked thoroughly at each of my artist friend profile picture on my cell phone and when I finished making a tile portrait I got a feeling that each time I learned something new about this person.

I made porcelain tiles and sketched/etched each artist profile picture directly on them. There was no eraser or pre­sketch practice tiles. I prepared only one tile for each friend and used only a needle tool to make each sketch. I had to really stay focused and be careful not to damage their “face” which they chose to share with public on Facebook. As an artist and an art supporter, I tried my best to focus­ while etching each of the artist portrait­s in our time together and concentrating my thoughts on the person and how to show my appreciation and respect for each of them. I am very happy to have a chance to show those portraits at the exhibition and share my admiration to their persistence and achievements. I plan to keep adding the tiles as I make new artist friends on Facebook.”

-­Akemi Maegawa, February 4th, 2015

Sparkplug: Dis/Satisfaction, curated by Kathryn McDonnell
February 13 – March 15

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Fabiola Yurcisin,
Tree Mannequin Three, 2012

Dis/Satisfaction: Permission to Rewrite History, It’s Personal

SPARKPLUG, DCAC’s Artist Collective
Curated by Kathryn McDonnell

February 13 – March 15, 2015

Opening reception: Friday, February 13, 7-9 PM
Artist talk & closing reception: Sun., March 15 at 5 PM

Casey Snyder, Brendan Smith, Jerry Truong, Michael Booker, Megan Maher, DeLesslin George-Warren, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin, David Ibata, Jerome Skiscim

Dis/Satisfaction: Permission to Rewrite History, It’s Personal is the introductory exhibition of
the newest Sparkplug, DCAC’s Artist’s Collective. Composed of nine diverse artists from the DC metro area, the works run the gamut from painterly expression to socially engaged performance art. This exciting body of work offers compelling and engaging commentary on current social issues and norms.

Composite Allusions, curated by Joe Hale,
January 9 – February 8

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The Fallen, recycled latex house paint and charcoal on canvas, 88w x 55 h

Composite Allusions

Duly Noted Painters: Matthew Malone and Kurtis Ceppetelli
Curated by: Joe Hale

January 9 -­ February 8, 2015

Opening reception: Friday, January 9, 7-­9 PM
Artist talk and closing reception: Sunday, February 8 at 5 PM

Composite Allusions presents the recent collaborative paintings of Duly Noted Painters Kurtis Ceppetelli and Matt Malone. The work intersects a broad survey of the history of painting, relating Henri Matisse to Jean-­Michel Basquiat and arriving in the contemporary zeitgeist of the raw and repainted public wall. Just as the historical paintings they allude to broke set rules relating figures to ground, and craftsmanship to art, Malone and Ceppetelli’s work transcends rules regarding author and co­-author: against the advantage of their egos, their paintings merge into the mutual “deskilling” so sought after in a tradition as overwrought as painting. Instead of the typical, trite, co­-expression of fixed identities found so often in collaborative works, these paintings represent the romantic impulse of a generation that finds as many sublime unknowns in the other as in the self. As immediately modern as their paintings may appear, Duly Noted Painters undoubtedly make a postmodern twist on Claude Bernard’s famous saying “Art is I: Science is We” as, in their works, art is also “we.”