Out with the Old, In with the New
By F Lennox Campello
In the thousand years or so that I’ve been writing this column, I’ve discussed the various types of galleries that make up a city’s art tapestry: commercial, non-profits and collectives.
There was a halcyon time a decade plus ago when the streets of Alexandria, Bethesda, and even the District were paved with art galleries from curb to curb.
In Bethesda there was the iconic Fraser Gallery (one of two, the other being in Georgetown), Heineman, Neptune, Osuna, etc. – in fact dear reader, at one point a decade ago there were 13 galleries in the Bethesda Art Walk!
Most of them have closed their doors – some went strictly online and started doing art fairs in New York, Miami, etc. The DMV is not a gallery-friendly place.
And thus, Waverly Gallery is now one of a handful of Bethesda galleries which has stood the all-telling test of time, and is still around since its founding in 1993. Part of those survival skills is the fact that this gallery is a cooperative gallery, riding the capricious tides of the economy on the robust shoulders of its member artists.
The gallery recently hosted its invitational exhibit, with work by Henry Winokur, Joan April, Shaune Bazner, Kyujin Lee, JoEllen Murphy, Jill Cantrill, Paul Guilderson, Lucy Louise Derickson, John D. Antone, Jack Allbrittain, Mariana Kastrinakis, Kim Blue, Carol Barsha, Hunt Prothro, John Paradiso, Sue Osterhout, Andreia Gliga, Sara Parent-Ramos, Courtney Applequist, and Diane Szczepaniak.
I paid a visit to the gallery to look at the works of these artists – most of whom were “new” to me.
My favorite “new” discovery was the work, the very painterly paintings of Courtney Applequist – I was intrigued by the technique – is it a palette knife which is delivering these immensely sensual paintings? Or simply mastery of the brush? or a mixture of both? In any event, the sense of moistness, light and volume is palpable in this artist’s elegant work – keep an eye on this artist.
Also at the show, I must highlight the work of Kyujin Lee’s – someone that I’ve seen previously, but is always memorable – and I am always impressed by the facility with which this artist tackles really interesting subjects, most of which one does not see routinely on gallery walls.
John Paradiso’s erotic work is also a stand-out – no surprise here either as he’s is a DMV artrockstar.
I sit on a lot of grant giving organizations – and I am always shocked as to how few artists ever apply! SO here’s what I want all of you Virginia residents to do after you read this column: The Virginia Commission for the Arts is now accepting applications for arts activities and projects that occur between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. For additional information, contact the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Main Street Centre, 600 East Main Street, Suite 330, Richmond, VA 23219, (804) 225-3132 or visit their website at www.arts.virginia.gov – there is no cost associated with applying!
Finally, the Art League’s March show at the League’s wonderful gallery on the ground floor of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria was juried by Costa Vavagiakis. The Best in Show for March 2019 was awarded to Jeff Lodge’s work titled Sunset Trawler.
Having juried this show a couple of times many decades ago (hey Art League! I’ll do it again), and because the juror did all the jurying digitally, I dropped by to do a phantom online jury of the entries from the Art League’s somewhat 20th century website, and see how my picks compare with its real (and talented) juror’s.
I loved a wonderfully blue abstract by Barthell (note to the Art league: Please put all the artist’s full names somewhere on your website – it is called leaving a digital footprint).
I also liked Goodrow’s powerful painting of a cowboy – it is a painting full of action and movement! Landry’s loose landscape is exactly the way that landscapes were designed by God to be painted.
Joey Manlapaz’s entry is awe inspiring – she is without a doubt one of the painting superstars of the DMV and I’ve said it before: no one on planet Earth can paint glass storefront reflections better than her!
In a show full of great work (good job Costa!) other stand outs are the entries by McSorley, Jackie Saunders (another DMV superstar), Steiger (is that Marsha?), N. Wallace (who takes a common subject to sublime levels), and Zapatka’s strangely sensual tree.
Art League… seriously: full names!