Gallery Beat

Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

A Visit to the Torpedo Factory

By F. Lennox Campello If you keep up or are aware, then you know that there have been many disturbances in the Force where it pertains to Alexandria’s magnificent jewel of an art center known as the Torpedo Factory.  While the dust from all the changes, decisions and re-decisions have yet not settled, the artists move on, and the art gets created, hung, displayed, and hopefully sold. While talking about the capital area on the Voice of America many years ago, I once referred to the Torpedo Factory as the “crown jewel of the Greater Washington area art scene.” And while in dawn of the post Covidian Age some of the Factory’s best-known artists have moved on, some remain, and among those who remain, perhaps the most iconic and best-known, and immensely talented is Rosemary Feit Covey in Studio 224 on the second floor.  Covey is an artist who has mastered her medium (printmaking) and that mastery gives her license to explore a multitude of powerful subjects, themes and approaches far beyond printmaking. “My current focus on environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of my artist practice. In the past three decades I have moved beyond my work as an established wood engraver, and expanded my medium to include large scale installations, experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, my works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude, evoking a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations. While maintaining my long-standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, this diversification of mediums highlights my continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative,” she notes. Another superbly talented artist who…

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Support your local Artists’ Sunday!

By F. Lennox Campello Here’s your assignment for November: Support your local Artists’ Sunday! “But Lenster,” you ask, “what is this Artists’ Sunday?” Artists Sunday is an annual event that showcases the work of artists and artisans local to you! This year it takes place November 27, 2022. ✓ Artists Sunday is a day to support local artists in your community. ✓ Artists Sunday was created in 2020 to encourage people to shop with artists and buy art as gifts during the holidays. ✓ There’s perhaps nothing more personal than a gift of the arts. ✓ Give something special, unique, and handcrafted this holiday season and support local artists and the local economy. ✓ More than 500 communities across the United States have come together for the second year to champion local artists and promote the giving of the arts this holiday season. ✓ Communities from coast-to-coast, large and small, are celebrating Artists Sunday on Nov 27, 2022 by highlighting local artists, creators and makers and promoting the giving of artistic items and experiences for the holidays. ✓ Positioned during the year’s busiest holiday shopping weekend, Artist Sunday, falls between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. ✓ Artists Sunday unites artists and communities across the country, all promoting shopping with local artists. ✓ Artists Sunday, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov 27 this year), is the world’s largest art event, dedicated to supporting artists and recognizing the impact they have in enriching our lives, communities, and the economy. By supporting the work of these artists and artisans and creators we not only support and stimulate your local economy, which as most of us know is in dire need of stimulations, but as I’ve discovered over the years, it also offer all of us the opportunity to gift and/or collect…

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Out of the Studio and Into the Universe

By F. Lennox Campello Some artists create artwork as a very personal exercise to which they become very attached; others create artwork simply as a commodity and to sell it and make money – most good artists create artwork as a combination of both. If you are an artist, chances are that you’d be interested in expanding the circle of places where your art is owned and displayed.  One of my maxims has always been that the worse place for a piece of artwork is in the artist’s studio or home. It is created so that as many people a possible can enjoy it, see it, etc.  That’s usually in some other folks’ walls! Some artists love to work in a solitary setting, while many others look to congregate and become part of a group such as an artists’ group, league, cooperative, etc.  There are many such groups and organizations in our area, such as the Art League in Alexandria, the League of Reston Artists, the Fairfax Art League and others… and cooperatives such as Multiple Exposures Gallery, Touchstone Gallery, etc. One such group in our DMV area is the Montgomery Art Association (MAA) in Montgomery County, Maryland. The MAA is not active as an artists’ organization but also seeks innovative ways to expose their members’ artwork. One such novel way was started about five years ago, in which MAA partners with the city of Kensington to stay a city-wide plein air painting event which stages dozens of artists throughout the picturesque DMV suburban town as well as a juried art show for its members staged at the city’s former Armory building. The three-day event, held during Labor Day weekend is called the “Paint the Town Labor Day Show & Sale.” I was recently honored to be the juror for…

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Connected Spaces

Exhibit through October 2nd Artist Talk, Sunday, September 11th at 2 pm The Athenaeum 201 Prince Street Connections are integral to the human experience. We are connected beings – driven to seek attachment and belonging, community and engagement. During the normal course of a day, our joys and challenges are sustained by connections near and far, physically present and internalized. Elizabeth Casqueiro, A Sudden Change in Direction (detail), Acrylic and ink on canvas, 40” x 30” In this exhibition, Elizabeth Casqueiro and Jean Sausele-Knodt explore in different ways the meaning of connection as it pertains to space and sense of being. Casqueiro’s paintings bring together architecture, nature, and culture in a deconstructed, collage-like approach that echoes the universal yearning for connection to the fragmented places we are defined by. Sausele-Knodt addresses the realities of abundance and fragmentation in our world by studying spaces, creating various parts and pieces, and building newly personalized and animated gatherings in her wall relief sculptures.  Jean Sausele-Knodt, Wishful Thinking, oil on walnut, birch plywood, 19” x 21” x 12” Both artists strive to create connected spaces as areas of balance and harmony, joy and possibility. Their work presents these common characteristics through a spirited palette, overlapping elements, constructed compositions, and painstaking craftsmanship. “Orb with Moon,” 41″ x  30″, rust print on archival paper Chemical Reactions, Rust Create Beautiful Prints in Brian Kirk’s “Natural Reaction“ Exhibit dates: September 6–October 7, 2018 Opening reception: Thursday, September 13, 6:30–8:00 pm The Art League – Studio 21 Torpedo Factory 105 North Union Street Sculptor and printmaker Brian Kirk courts chemical reactions to create ephemeral, phantom-like prints from rusting metal. A marriage of art and science, Kirk’s rust prints bloom in hues of lush amber, ochre, and apricot. Born of rigid metal, from saw blades to steel wool, the prints that emerge are organic, almost cellular. “Rust…

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ABMB 2022: Got Art?

By F. Lennox Campello At the risk of repeating myself: If you are a visual artist or art dealer/gallerist in today’s ever changing visual art world, and you’re not aware or know about the Miami art fairs that take place each year-end and are clustered around Miami and Miami Beach, then you have a problem that needs urgent attention. Almost two decades ago, the founders and organizers of a European art fair called Art Basel (which of course, takes place in Basel, Switzerland), decided to try an American version of their successful European model and started an art fair in the Miami Beach Convention Center and they called it Art Basel Miami Beach or ABMB for short. This was nothing new in the American art fair scene, as even in Miami art fairs such as Art Miami had been going on for years. But whatever right timing and combination of European flavoring added to Miami’s Cubanized international art scene did was spectacular and ABMB took off like Meat Loaf’s second album’s title. In the halcyon days of the healthy economy of those days, the art fair proved to be a spectacular success, with millions of dollars of artwork by the blue chip names of the art world exchanging hands at ABMB as collectors from all over the world congregated in Miami’s balmy December to be seen at the sharp point of the spear of the contemporary art world. ABMB’s success soon spawned other art fairs, which are called “satellite fairs”, since they all revolve around ABMB’s dates and presence on America’s coolest and most international beach city. The evolution of these satellite fairs was fed by the fact that ABMB focused almost exclusively on European galleries and a handful of the top tier American New York galleries. In those days,…

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Summertime in the Swamp…

By F. Lennox Campello …is often not a pleasant time for many, but for art lovers it is a perfect opportunity to go visit some local art galleries and support your area artists. If you also want to stroll around the very pleasant areas of Kensington, I want to give a plug to the Montgomery Art Association (MAA) 2022 Paint the Town (PTT) Art Show on Labor Day weekend. I will be jurying this very popular exhibition — attended by over 3,000 visitors each year — MAA is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that serves artists in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. The event is co-hosted by the City of Kensington, MD, and takes place in the Kensington Armory. PTT features about 500 non-juried works in eight judged categories, plus a separate plein air competition with about 50 pieces. Judging of the main show takes place from 1 p.m. to approximately 4 p.m. on Friday, September 2. On Saturday, September 3, judging of the plein air show begins at 3 p.m. The Paint the Town Labor Day Show is one of the region’s largest and longest-running art shows composed of all local artists. The show will be open to the public Saturday-Monday, September 3-5 PM. I will be on site on Friday, September 2 for closed-door judging and Saturday, September 3 to judge the plein air competition and present awards. An easy way to spend most of a summer rainy afternoon is a visit to the Torpedo Factory, host to many art studios and some key galleries. While you’re there, go check out the current Open Exhibit, juried by artist Jessie Boyland. According to the Art League’s press release, Boyland “is a painter and has a BFA from VCU School of the Art, Painting and Printmaking. Jessie plans and curates all…

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Wanna See Some Pictures??

By F. Lennox Campello You can put money on this: a thousand years from now, there will still be photographers who still use the techniques of that profession that were invented at the beginning of photography itself.  There is something so attractive to the masters of the darkroom about photographic processes such as handmade prints from glass negatives, and other 19th century processes such as Platinum Palladium, Cyanotype, Oil, Carbon, Gum Bichromate, VanDyke Brown, Salted Prints, Tintypes, and Ambrotypes. Virginia’s Sally Mann, not only one of the planet’s top photographers, but also someone who has been a contemporary pioneer in revitalizing some of these archaic techniques, often speaks of “old-time, folksy, soulful, artisanal processes”… that “slicker technologies have displaced.” She labels these processes “holistic.” Wanna see some of these holistic processes and the gorgeous works that they yield? At Glen Echo Park’s Photoworks Gallery, “a group of likeminded photographers presents work that is more than just nostalgia. Each photographer lends her/his own voice with their unique, hand-made images, some of which are augmented by hand tinting. While the images are contemporary, the artisanal nature of the images harkens to an earlier age. The tension between these qualities makes them TIMELESS.” Represented in the exhibit are works by Rodrigo Barrera-Sagastume, Paige Billin-Frye, Mac Cosgrove-Davies, Scott Davis, Sebastian Hesse-Kastein, William Shelton and Redeat Wondemu. In addition to the opening, Photoworks will be offering related demonstration and hands-on events during the exhibition: Zoom Artist Talk (Friday, July 15, 7-8pm) – for those unable to attend the opening, this is an opportunity to hear from and interact with the artists. Learn about the artist and their vision, their chosen photographic processes and related classes offered at Photoworks. Champagne and Platinum (Friday, July 22, 7-10pm at Photoworks) – spend a delightful evening with the Alt-Photo…

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Summertime Exhibits Abound

By F. Lennox Campello The summer is essentially here and so are some great shows opening around the DMV. Over In Rockville’s Artists & Makers Studios you’ll see the work of Robert LeMar titled “Crossing the Line”, the Resident Artist exhibit “10×10” and the Artists of Gallery 209 for the month of June as well as  building-wide Open Studios. The June 4th opening will run from 11am – 3pm at Artists & Makers Studios, 11810 Parklawn Drive, Suite 210 in Rockville, MD. They tell me that “LeMar’s interest in line has always been prevalent in his work. Three years of portrait sketching on the beaches of Chicago when he was a preteen developed his affinity to line. This was further bolstered by sketching portraits on the boardwalk of Ocean City Maryland in his twenties. Even though he was later encouraged by his art professors at The Maryland School of Art and Design in Silver Spring to not rely on drawing when painting, he still persisted in drawing on the canvas before applying paint. To this day drawing remains a major element in his painting technique. In his recent abstract work, as he crosses the line between realism and abstraction, he gives line an obviously dominant and defining role.” Over at the Kreeger Museum, Hamiltonian Artists and The Kreeger Museum presents “Unexpected Occurrences”, which is described as “a contemporary response to a modern collection”, and which features the work of Hamiltonian Artists’ seven current fellows—Amber Eve Anderson, Maria Luz Bravo, Jason Bulluck, Joey Enriquez, Stephanie Garon, Madeline Stratton, and Lionel Frazier White III. The exhibition includes new works in video, mixed media, sculpture, photography, encaustic, printmaking, and painting installed throughout the museum. Described as “unconventional pairings of old and new works, the exhibition challenges the viewer to consider the nuances of…

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Sam Gilliam Museum Show: About Time!

By F. Lennox Campello Over the decades that I have lived in the DMV (an acronym that I invented decades ago in several meandering posts in my blog DC ART NEWS, which by the way… is now the 11th highest ranked art blog on this planet – yay!), one constant fact of the region’s museum art scene (with the notable exception of the beautiful American University art museum and most recently the Phillips Collection) has been the immense apathy that art museums located in the capital region show to their area artists. DC art museums think of themselves as “national” museums, and are not, and have not ever been, part of a “regional/local” art scene. Once, while a guest at the old Kojo Nmandi radio show on NPR (WAMU), I noted that it was “easier for a DC area museum curator to take a cab to Dulles to catch a flight to Berlin to visit some emerging artists’ studios in Berlin (or London, Madrid, wherever) than to catch a cab to Adams Morgan to visit a DC area emerging artist studio.” Years of communicating this frustration to “new” museum curators and directors as the wander in and out of their positions at the Hirshhorn, the old Corcoran, various Smithsonian museums, most area University museums, etc. have yielded zero response — since 1992 or so, the only museum director who ever met with me to discuss why their museum ignored local artists was Olga Viso when she ran the Hirshhorn decades ago. And it takes an artist of the immense stature and presence of Sam Gilliam, whose career was almost extinguished by apathy just a decade or so ago… but was kept moving forward through the hard work of legendary DC area gallerist Marsha Mateyka, until Gilliam’s work was “rediscovered” by…

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Hand Crafted at The BlackRock Center

By F. Lennox Campello The BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown is just far enough from the capital region so as to not “officially” be part of the DMV.  It is nonetheless a key member of the cultural tapestry of the Mid-Atlantic region and one can always count with a strong exhibition program in its beautiful galleries. Through April 15 there’s a fascinating group show curated by Rula Jones, the current gallery director.  Titled “HAND CRAFTED”, the show is described as “a group exhibition that explores the role of craftsmanship in contemporary art and across a variety of media including wool, ceramic, glass, paper, fiber, porcelain, etc.” This group exhibition features over 55 multimedia works by 23 artists from the Mid-Atlantic region. If you are a constant reader, then you know that I am a strong proponent of craftsmanship in the visual arts – there’s no substitute for developing the skill to draw, paint, etch, sculpt, etc.  And there’s no shortcut – it is all practice, learning from errors, learning how to use your errors, and learning when to stop. The exhibition’s curator Rula Jones notes that, “Concept and craftsmanship, the latter defined as strong knowledge of material manipulation, have occasionally been oppositional in modern and contemporary art. However, these works show high levels of artistry and skill, while also presenting very strong purpose and theory. Artists in this exhibition use materials often associated with craft and elevate them through contemporary concerns. The works on view address a variety of both universal and contemporary issues including loss, identity, the environment, humanity and nature through a variety of media including ceramic, glass, fiber, wool, silk, beads, paper, porcelain etc. This exhibition celebrates the diversity of theory, process and materiality in contemporary art, suggesting that the boundary between craft and fine…

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