Gallery Beat – May 2014

Julia Brown, Impermanent, Acrylic paint

Julia Brown, Impermanent, Acrylic paint

Last month the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in DC hosted the return of Alchemical Vessels, a very cool exhibition that each year brings together 125 local artists and 20 invited curators for a community dialogue on healing and transformation through the arts. Each artist transforms a simple ceramic bowl by means of his or her own personal aesthetic and medium, drawing inspiration from the bowl as a place of holding, open community, sacred space, and even the alchemical vessel. The show is an amazing grouping of Who’s Who in the DMV art scene.

The ceramic bowl was selected as the fundamental element of the exhibition to symbolize creating a space where healing can take place—an idea at the heart of Smith Center’s work and mission. Metaphorically speaking, Smith Center—the space and the work that they do within their walls—resembles an alchemical vessel. People bring their everyday burdens, fears, and pains to them, and in this place of holding, the Smith Center helps to transform those toxic elements into hope, light, wisdom and strength.

With a $125 Benefit-Vessel contribution, guests are admitted to the event and then select one of the 125 works on display to add to their own collections. It is a terrific way to both help a great cause and get great artwork.

JJ McCracken, Husk, Eggshells

JJ McCracken, Husk, Eggshells

J.J. McCracken’s absolutely stunning piece in the show almost steals it from the very beginning, but there were some really great pieces here competing for McCracken’s subtle and delicate-looking work.

Amongst these is the truly intricate work by master ceramicist (no fair!) Laurel Lukaszewski, who is one of these artists who seems to create impossibly delicate forms that are actually quite tough! Marie Ringwald’s iconic house symbology adds to years of exploring this subject, and Nelson Gutierrez’s obsessive piece showcases what an artist can do with a repetitive theme.

Novie Trump, another master ceramicist who is light years ahead of the pack, also had a gorgeous piece that reaffirmed her claim to be one of the best ceramic artists on the planet. I also liked Julia Brown’s clever piece (one that fools the eye), Kim Reyes’ and Monica Jahan Bose’s pieces, as well as Victor Ekpuk’s continuing exploration of the secret writing of his ancestors also stand out.

Another interesting show in the area is another iteration of the traveling and always evolving “Eyes on the Borders” show. This one is at Del Rey Artisans and it is on exhibit through June 1st.

Laurel Lukaszewski, The Imperfect Mandala of the Tree of Life, Porcelain and glaze

Laurel Lukaszewski, The Imperfect Mandala of the Tree of Life, Porcelain and glaze

As noted in their release, “Beyond landscapes, cultures, borders and boundaries lies the artistic language of the human race.  In this collaborative exhibit, artist members from Del Ray Artisans (DRA) and Art Latin American Collective Project (ALACP) were invited to explore universal themes from the individual perspective of each artist. Eyes On The Border is both a celebration of Latin American art and culture and a look at how we are all influenced by places, borders and boundaries, political, or cultural, real or imagined. Latin American artists living and working in this area, and Del Ray Artisans with their own immigrant experience share their roots and translate their realities into a vision influenced by the virtual world and globalization.”

The ALACP curator is my good bud David Camero; the DRA curators are Michele Reday Cook and Lesley Hall. A special display of masks from the collection of David Camero will also accompany this exhibit.

The art exhibit is at Del Ray Artisans gallery in the Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22301. Gallery hours areThursday, noon to 6pm;FridayandSaturday, noon to 9 pm; andSunday, noon to 6 pm. The gallery is free, open to the public and handicap accessible.

Written by: F. Lennox Campello

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