Dr. Claudia Rousseau, the over-qualified art critic for the Washington Post-owned Gazette newspapers writes a singularly eloquent and intelligent review about our Winter Group Show in our Bethesda outpost.
At the risk of sounding nepotic (and definitely waaaaaaaaay past objective!), I think she really drilled into what some of the artists that she writes about are trying to deliver. It's hard to write eloquently about a group show (always some good.. always something forgettable).
Before moving to our area, Rousseau was one of Latin America's most influential art critics. It is no surprise that she gets Cuban artist Sandra Ramos right off the bat and writes:
"Cuban artist Sandra Ramos' approach to figuration uses a surrealist vocabulary to convey politically charged content. "In my paper prison" is part of "Isla prisión," a strongly emotive series about Cuba as a prison in both political and artistic senses. Here, the artist's body, wearing the uniform of Castro's "Communist Youth," lies in the shape of the island behind prison bars formed by pencils. Ten unmounted paper sheets in plastic sleeves comprise "The Inability to Trap Images." Each shows a silk-screened hand with a small image printed above it.And she gets our own area's Tim Tate; she writes about him:
Taken together, Ramos' work can be interpreted as a reference to the failure of artistic censorship, or simply to the travails of the artist to capture reality. Either way, the images make an indelible impression because they clearly have profound meaning for the artist, and hopefully, for the viewer."
Glass artist Tim Tate's new works, "A Slice of Heaven/A Slice of Hell," the first an icy blue, the second red, hang side by side in long, narrow cast bronze frames. An examination of their imagery presents the same provocative vocabulary that has made Tate so successful in recent years. Much of it appears universal, even Dantesque, but is instead very private and autobiographical in nature. For example, what may recall a Catholic votive for many viewers -- a red glass flame topping a blown glass heart bearing a cross, in turn containing yet another red flame -- is titled with a distinctly non-religious ring: "Hunka' Hunka' Burnin' Love." Yet for the artist, the eternal flame on top, inspired by John F. Kennedy's tomb site, is a healing image, intended to convey ideas of love and spirit outliving death and pain.Read the whole review here.
Tate uses private images of healing all through his works. In "Nine Paths to Heaven or Hell," a circular piece made of nine glass voussoirs (wedge-shaped pieces that form an arch), the topmost element contains a hand surrounded by rays holding a beaded ball (a nucleus perhaps?), also conceived as a healing image.
Tate's technique is impeccable. Yet his allusive and mystifying content is a far cry from the craft approach often associated with glass art.