Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Charles Albert Huckins' Favorite Artwork

This submission of a favorite artwork comes from Charles Albert Huckins, an active photographer in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who has maintained the Stonelight Images web site for the continuous exhibition of his photography since 1999. He writes:

Although I, along with your other readers, have many favorite works of art, time and circumstances require me to narrow my submission down to two anonymous works few people have ever seen before.
Masquerade © 2005 Charles Albert Huckins

Masquerade - © 2005 Charles Albert Huckins

Three Graces - ©2003 Charles Albert Huckins

Three Graces - ©2003 Charles Albert Huckins

Though virtually unknown, both of these works are priceless, in my opinion.

“Masquerade” is a painting on cinder block, replete with symbolism and, for me, is as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa. “Three Graces” is an ink drawing on enameled steel plate and has a dignity and simplicity of line that make it spell-binding. Although both are figurative works, they have all the energy and spontaneity of the abstract Gee’s Bend quilts, now so rightfully esteemed as icons of American folk art.

Both works were created by unknown former inmates of the Youth Correctional Facility of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections site in Lorton, Virginia. The entire prison facility was decommissioned in 2000 and has been owned and converted to other uses by Fairfax County since August, 2002.

What makes these remarkable works of art so unique at this time is the possibility of their being unavailable for future generations to appreciate firsthand.

In the process of transition from a prison complex to a multifaceted community resource, a number of intriguing artifacts within the prison’s walls have necessarily been destroyed. However, these two works of art, and several others scattered around the prison site, are still intact and salvageable.

Fairfax County is currently seeking input regarding the artistic value of these and other works before a final decision is made about whether or not to save them. Perhaps some of your credentialed readers might care to weigh in on the artistic merits of these works?

If any of your readers would like to express their opinions about the art-worthiness of these works in writing, I, as a volunteer assisting Fairfax County in the documentation of prison resources, will be happy to forward all such comments to the appropriate County authorities. I may be reached at cah@stone-light.com.
I will publicly testify that in my opinion these works not only merit being salvaged, but in doing so represent a triumph of art over adversity, in a sense.

Perhaps the Youth Correctional Facility of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections can simply isolate and protect these works, but leave them exactly where they are, maybe adding some wall text next to them so that future generations can be inspired and learn from the artwork of those who created it in far from enjoyable circumstances.

Elizabeth Whiteley's Favorite Artwork

Elizabeth Whiteley is a DC area artist whose work is already in the permanent collection of several museums. And she responds to my call for readers' favorite artwork. She writes:

It was wonderful, this past weekend, to get a start on the new creative year with my visit to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden to stand under the Kenneth Snelson "Needle Tower" and look up to the sky. With its cable and aluminum tube construction--held together with only a fragile tension -- it's reminder to me of the fragile relationships I have to other people and the remarkably strong structure that comes about as a result of our connections. It also sets the tone for a creative new year -- visual mysteries within mysteries to be discovered, uncovered, and made into objects and images.

Kenneth Snelson - Needle Tower
Kenneth Snelson "Needle Tower"

Polish Artists

Stop by and experience "An Ideal Mix-Up," an exhibition of works by Polish and local DC area artists at the Nevin Kelly Gallery in DC next Saturday, January 26, 4 pm for a lecture by gallerist Nevin J. Kelly on the Polish artists featured in the gallery followed by refreshments.

Essentially this show is a group exhibition that includes works by the contemporary Polish artists that helped launch the gallery in May 2003 and the many local artists who have joined the gallery along the way.

The exhibition will feature works by DC area artists Sondra Arkin, Joan Belmar, Ellyn Weiss, Mary Chiaramonte and Laurel Hauler and by Polish artists Edward Dwurnik, Darek Pala, Krzysztof Kokoryn, Pawel Król, Lukasz Huculak and Michal Zaborowski.

The show will be on view in the gallery from now until February 24, 2008.

Wanna go to a Virginia opening tomorrow?

The University of Mary Washington Galleries in Frederiscksburg, Virginia presents Mid-Atlantic New Painting 2008 with an Opening Reception on January 24, 2008 5 - 7pm.

There will be also a presentation of awards and remarks by the juror, John B. Ravenal, Curator of modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition runs through March 2, 2008.

Wanna go to an Arts Panel in DC tonight?

DC's Transformer Gallery kicks off the new year with Art School, Confidential: Rethinking Art Education, the 7th installment of their dynamic Framework Panel Series.

Art School, Confidential: Rethinking Art Education, which is free and open to the public, brings together "an esteemed group of area artists and professors in a dialogue about the influence of art schools in the lives of artists and on the direction of contemporary art-making within the larger arts landscape."

The panelists are:

- Billy Colbert (Adjunct Faculty, American University)

- Maggie Michael

- Brandon Morse (Associate Professor of Digital Media & Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art, University of Maryland, College Park, MD)

- Renee Stout

- Rex Weil (Professor of Art Theory, University of Maryland, College Park, MD)

And it is moderated by Dean Kessman (Assistant Professor of Photography, George Washington University), the panel discussion will be followed by a thirty minute question and answer segment with the audience.

Another Frida Show

In addition to the two Frida Kahlo type exhibitions coming to Philly that I mentioned yesterday, I was just told about this exhibition, so now make that three!

The Delaware Art Museum will present Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, an exhibition of nearly 50 photographs of Frida Kahlo, on view in the Brock J. Vinton Galleries February 2, 2008 - March 30, 2008. The show is courtesy of the collection of the Nickolas Muray Archives, and is part of a national tour over a two-and-a-half year period. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.


Rob: [into shaky camera] My name is Robert Hawkins. Approximately seven hours ago some *thing* attacked the city. If you found this, if you're watching this then you probably know more about it than I do.

Saw Cloverfield last night and in spite of the online hype, and in spite that I usually love this kind of movies, and in spite of the cool trailers about the new Star Trek movie coming Xmas 2008, and maybe because of the fact that I shelled out $6.50 for a large popcorn which seemed to be the size of what a small popcorn used to be in the 90s (AMC, what's up with that?), I really didn't think much of the movie.


Cloverfield is a highly derivative mix of the Blair's Witch Project camera style married to the Godzilla movies with a sprinkling of "Gadzuki meets Alien" (tunnels included).

The Godzilla and Alien influence is just too much to overcome. Not just the rambling monster destroying a city, but then the monster's offspring is up and about biting people and then the people seem to then explode and perhaps host the new offspring as it goes forth and multiplies?

The decent special effects in the film of New York being torn apart by a seldom seen monster (until almost the end) with those psych effects derived a little from M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs," unfortunately then yield a silly looking monster a little too closely related to Kermit the Frog and those weird looking spidery-looking camel crickets that seem to infect every basement in the Greater DC region.

And the logic also fails at times... the main characters seem to have little trouble killing off the nasty crawly creatures that Godzilla the Cloverfield monster drops off to bite and multiply... but when a couple of supersonic USAF jets drop off two MOABs (the world's largest and most powerful conventional bombs) onto the monster, they just cover it in a convenient cloud of dust before it comes up unharmed.

If its offspring can be killed with a bat, how come Mom survives two MOABs without even missing a step or an inch of green skin?

And the last issue that bothered me is the Hud (the actor who is the cameraman in the movie) character spends most of the time yelling: "Rob! Rob! Where are you going?"