Saturday, March 05, 2005

The New Factory Artists

Once a year, the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria puts out a call for artists who wish to be considered for a studio space in Alexandria's most famous and popular artists warren.

This year 72 applicants entered the annual jury process, and of those, seven were accepted. The jurors for the 2D work were Jeffrey Allison (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts), Walter Kravitz (George Mason University Prof. of Art) and Lee Newman, a superb printmaker and a member of the Fine Arts Faculty at the Holton Arms School.

The 3D jurors were Bruce Hoffman (Director, Snyderman Gallery in Philadelphia), Lenore Miller, (Director of the GWU Galleries), and Winifred Owens-Hart, a Prof. of Art from Howard University.

Joining the wait list for a studio space at the Torpedo Factory in 2005 are Xiao Sheng Bi (Ceramics), Christine Cardellino (Painting), Judith Coady (Printmaking), Rebecca Cross (Ceramics), Janae Michelle (Fiber), Kathy Udell (Photography) and Donald Viehman (Enameling). A representative sample of their work is currently on exhibit at the Target Gallery, on the ground floor of the Torpedo Factory.
Orange Bowl by Rebecca Cross
Of these seven new Factorists, two immediately stand out: Rebecca Cross, who is already one of the best known multi-talented (not just ceramics) artists in Washington, with a long string of succesful exhibitions at Addison-Ripley Gallery and the Ralls Collection most recently, and her work is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery; and a newcomer (at least to me), Christine Cardellino.

Rebecca Cross' work needs little introduction; she's a painter who has mastered her skills and conquered a second genre by being one of the region's premier ceramicists for the last 25 years. The three pieces on exhibit are samples of Cross' platters and shaped ceramic objects.

A couldn't find a website for Christine Cardellino (tsk, tsk...), but the work that I saw on display immediately tells me that Cardellino may be the keystone to the "future" of the Torpedo Factory "artist." In her paintings I saw elements of what I would commonly associate with a "more modern" flavor to the king of the fine arts genres.

I mean that in the super positive sense of a painter, clearly at ease with her genre, superbly trained, with a good eye for the sensuality of the paint and its direct associative qualities with the brushwork plus a clever eye for marrying representation and abstraction to deliver fresh new offerings to the dialogue of painting.

Geez... was that art babble or what? My kingdom for an image!

Suffice it to say that I hope Ms. Cardellino gets a studio space at the Factory within the next hundred years; with all due respect to many of the present Factorists whose work I superbly admire, they could still use some new blood.

New Art BLOG

Matt Hollis has a BLOG!

Visit Enough for All often.

For Matt: You better start posting more!

The Shape of (Some) Things to Come

The Art League Gallery is currently (until Monday) having their annual Student/Faculty show, which is a perfect opportunity to look at the work of art students of all levels, ages and backgrounds in one of the area's largest galleries, and certainly one of the more popular art schools.

I decided to focus on the work of the students, at the expense of not discussing the work of superbly talented teachers such as Danni Dawson, Jacqueline Saunders, Scott Hutchison (represented by us) and many others.

Instead, I turned my eye for quite a while to the students, hung salon-style on all three of the The Art League Galleries on the ground floor of the Torpedo Factory.

The first piece that stood out was a small, superbly painted self portrait by Marjorie Forgues (taught by Danni Dawson). I don't know Forgues' formal background, but in this small elegant piece she shows brushwork and technical skills that will revive feelings of envy from painters of all levels of expertise and experience. It is a delicate and yet vigorous application (and understanding) of paint, and light, which makes Ms. Forgues small self portrait jump out from a sea of 2D work.

Two drawings caught my attention next: An untitled pencil drawing of a difficult subject (a seated, clothed bearded man) by Leslie Chekin (taught by Priscilla Treacy) and an elegant female nude charcoal by Linda Wharton titled "Horizontal," from a class taught by Robert Liberace. They both show remarkable understanding of that most diverse of subjects: the human figure.

A small, delicate painting titled "Pear Pairs" by Cathy Messina (taught by Joe Kabriel), a watercolor titled "Evening Colors" by Meg MacKenzie (taught by one of my favorite area watercolorists: Susan Herron) and an amazing chalk drawing by Laura Kipple titled "Claire," (taught by Liberace again), completed my selections as the best from a very good crop of student artwork.

Prices are incredibly low for the most part, starting at $60 for a framed original watercolor!

Monday is the last day of this show... hurry!

Wanna Go to an Opening Tonight?

Gallery West is having an opening reception tonight from 6-9PM. On exhibit is Elsa Gebreyesus' "Meditations," a solo show of mixed-media paintings by Gebreyesus, whose work combines modern materials and techniques with universal themes and ancient African symbols.

Gallery West is located at 205 South Union Street, in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Tel:703-549-7359.

See ya there!

Bethesda Magazine

The new glossy Bethesda Magazine has a multi-page spread on the gallery scene now developing in Bethesda. Written by Virginia Myers Kelly, it is armed with interesting observations such as "Bethesda is home to more than a dozen galleries - but fewer art buyers than you might expect."

There's a large panoramic photo of one of our openings which captures some of the Art-O-Matic artists that we had a couple of months ago, including a great shot of one of Chris Edmunds' sculptures and background images of Mark Jenkins "Pubic Hair Tapestries," John Bata's landscape of New York City and a Michal Hunter painting.

On page 103 of the same issue there's a terrific profile (by Dr. Claudia Rousseau) of legendary photographer Lida Moser, now in her late 80s and retired in Rockville, and whose first ever DC area solo show will be our next Georgetown show, opening on March 18.

Gallery visits

Yesterday I dropped by the Art League Gallery in Alexandria to look at their Student Show, and then to the Target Gallery to see their crop of new Torpedo Factory artists, and finally Factory Photoworks (now re-named Multiple Exposures) to see their current membership show.

Later that night, Cyndi Spain, Arts Editor for DCist, and I visited most of the Dupont Circle Galleries, which were having their extended First Friday hours; several terrific surprises there!

More on both later today.