Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Having been to Iceland many times, I suspect that the disruptions caused by the current Icelandic volcano with the long-assed name would pale in comparison if Katla, also in Iceland, decides to burp.

Katla is a game-changer for the entire planet.

At Arlington

Good pics here of the Arlington Art Center's Spring 2010 Solo shows openings. My good bud Jeffry Cudlin keeps doing a great job there.


DC artist Andrew Wodzianski is living small. He's also living under public view.

POP-UP LIVING is Wodzianski's latest over the top performance piece (after a still-unconfirmed casket piece in October) that houses the second tallest man in the DC art scene into of a 100 square foot cube (Note: ubercollector Phillip Barlow has him beat by an inch).

The minimalist space is considered Wodzianski's home until May 1, and while he does leave once in a while to teach courses at the College of Southern Maryland, he's spending a lot of time inside his new box. While inside his new digs, he's under the constant observation from not only a 24/7 surveillance camera, but also curious pedestrians on U Street NW.

Wodzianski says, "The work has many discussion points, which makes it fascinating for a lot of people. At its core, I believe my performance is straddling two issues: living with less, and perhaps more provoking - the separation between reality and fiction."

Wodzianski's "performance" hours:

Sunday, April 18 10:00 AM - Monday, April 19 6:30 AM
Monday, April 19 3:00 PM - Tuesday, April 20 11:10 AM
Tuesday, April 20 10:30 PM - Wednesday, April 21 6:30 AM
Wednesday, April 21 3:00 PM - Thursday, April 22 6:30 AM
Thursday, April 22 8:30 PM - Monday, April 26 6:30 AM
Monday, April 26 3:00 PM - Tuesday, April 27 6:30 AM
Tuesday, April 27 3:00 PM - Wednesday, April 28 6:30 AM
Wednesday, April 28 3:00 PM - Thursday, April 29 6:30 AM
Thursday, April 29 8:30 PM - Saturday, May 1 5:00 AM

Read and then see the NBC4 TV News piece here.

Read the Washington Post article on the performance here.

Check out some videos of the performance here and here.

Location: 1318 U Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

POP-UP LIVING is Wodzianski's performance piece in a much larger collaboration and cause. Wodzianski partnered with The JBG Companies, Studios Architecture, and Coakley Williams Construction for the Cultural Development Corporation's Pop-Up Gala. An additional four partnerships were formed to create POP-UP structures across the region. Each structure is on display until May 1, when they will be relocated to the CuDC's Gala at Longview Gallery. More information about the Gala, CuDC, and the other POP-UPs can be found at this website.

New Drawing

This is only my second drawing of the year.

"Writing with her finger on the floor, she plotted her revenge against men."
8 x 40 inches. Charcoal and colored pencils on board. c. 2010

Writing with her finger on the floor, she plotted her revenge against men - by F. Lennox Campello

"Writing with her finger on the floor, she plotted her revenge against men". Detail.
8 x 40 inches. Charcoal and colored pencils on board. c. 2010

Wanna go to a Maryland opening tomorrow?

Artists Circle Fine Art has its first 2010 exhibition, featuring the works of five local artists who were selected for their "immensely diverse portrayal of different subject matter, unique use of materials and incredible craftsmanship." Artists Circle Fine Art considers these artists some of DC’s “hidden art gems”.

Francie Hester is a long-time resident of the Washington, DC area. Armed with a variety of power tools and refined palettes of paint, Francie tackles thick, waffled sheets of aluminum to create abstract, dimensional works that have a raw, industrial – yet aesthetically beautiful – look.

Angie Seckinger has thrived in the DC area as a corporate-industrial, studio product and editorial photographer for the past 25 years. Her little known secret? - She takes fantastic macro photos that are a testament to her technical mastery of the camera.

Alan Simensky is a self-taught artist residing just outside of DC. His bright, post-Pop-esque works incorporate recognizable imagery which have been referred to as both fanciful and witty. The show will feature several pieces from Alan’s Disgruntled series, portraying themes from the workplace.

Jessica van Brakle’s most recent body of work is inspired by construction in the DC area and an ongoing interest in nature and decorative textures. Jessica’s mix of precise, hand drawn lines with carefully painted organic patterns makes for an intriguing and striking body of work.

Pamela Viola began making photography-based images at the age of fourteen. Emerging as an outgrowth of her extensive experimentation with photographic transfer printing, her current photography work focuses on textural DC landscapes
The opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 22nd from 6 to 9pm.

Fierce Sonia at the Art League Gallery

The current “Paper Dolls” exhibition by photographer/model Fierce Sonia set all kinds of “new” for The Art League Gallery in Old Town Alexandria. For one thing, I am told that the opening reception and meet the artist function was one of the largest, if not the largest opening in the gallery’s long history.

And it wasn’t just the exceptional photography which caused all the “buzz” in the Greater DC arts community, but also the photographer herself (who is the subject of her own work), who contributed to the immense interest in this solo debut by one the area’s best known, drawn, photographed and painted art bodies. You see, Fierce Sonia is usually seen posing, rather than creating.

But a creator she is. Several years ago I came across her seminal photographic work, and even curated her into my WPA/Corcoran show "Seven", where her early photographs sold well. This new work, the first that I've seen since then, is a spectacular departure and growth from those early images of her nude body.

Ritual Repeat by Fierce Sonia

Ritual Repeat by Fierce Sonia

Her press release said it all:
“During her tenure as a figure model for The Art League School, Fierce Sonia quietly acquired a top-notch visual arts education. Motivated by the artwork she saw, she became eager to create her own work. She cabled her camera to her TV and released the shutter with an infrared remote. Sonia used herself as her own model, learning more about composition and technique based on what she saw on the screen.

Her figurative photography has evolved to a new and exciting place. The focus is on process. In Sonia’s latest series “Paper Dolls,” the same images reoccur with confident changes to the surface. Her work is no longer straight photography. With the integration of painting and collage into her images, Sonia’s work has reached a new level.

The black and white images of herself are often printed on paper that has been painted white, which creates a rich texture. Each piece is created in a unique way. Previous prints may be collaged to create depth. Multiple runs of the same print may be made on the same piece. More painting, layering might be necessary to create the desired effect. These alterations to the surface blur the identity of the original image, and make the series of work about the medium and the process, and not about the subject matter.

Sonia’s work has been exhibited and won accolades nationally. She is a professional art model and muse for artists and photographers and has worked with nationally and internationally known artists.”
And for years, this muse for artists has been absorbing, truly by osmosis, an art education that is truly remarkable.

For "Paper Dolls", Sonia used her camera like a weapon; trained it onto her own body, put a focused mind to work on the photographs, and created a memorable set of images that make her solo debut one of the best, if not the best, photography shows that I’ve ever seen at the Art League.

And Sonia doesn’t simply follow in the footsteps of those who have focused the camera to themselves; most notably Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin. She does that and then twists the weapon a little deeper into our visual cortex: she manipulates the image, she manipulates the paper, she manipulates our most primeval erotic thoughts with images of her body and imagery of bones, and repetitive imagery of thoughts buried deep inside our moist hereditary memories.

Fierce Sonia

Material Things 13x 29 inches.

This is an old soul being displayed on these 21st century images. We knew her in the caves of Altamira and Lascaux, and her image graced the walls of Egypt, Greece and Rome, and perhaps a standing stone or two in the ancient lands of the Picts.

Fierce SoniaBut this new 21st century imagery has been now manipulated, twisted, tortured, reworked and updated by Sonia.

She brings it to a delicious 21st century dialogue where her image is no longer about herself. It is now about ideas, about texture, about layers, and about the sensually cognitive act of repetition. It is also most importantly about the harsh de-objectification of her own figure, or perhaps the attempt to do so, while leaving tantalizing remnants of her presence.

This is an artist who uses her body to make a living as a professional model. And in "Paper Dolls" she makes a bold statement about her own physical attributes that demystify that ancient quality that she possesses and re-invents her figure as part of the whole of her art, rather than the sole commodified subject of the art.

In refreshing this ancient imagery through a fresh set of eyes, Fierce Sonia accomplishment covers many roads and ideas, and seldom have they been traveled so successfully in a photographer’s solo debut.

The show is "Paper Dolls" and it is on through May 3rd at the Art League, inside the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Don't miss it.