Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Happy Independence Day to Brazil

The giant South American nation declared independence from the Kingdom of Portugal on this date in 1822.

The 2010 Trawick Prize Exhibition

Milana BraslavskyI dropped by this weekend to see the current Trawick Prize show, now on exhibition at the former Heineman Myers gallery space in Bethesda. Since I was familiar with the artwork of several of the finalists, I was particularly interested in seeing the work of the new names in the finalists' list (new to me anyway).

Russian-born artist Milana Braslavsky won the "Young Artists Award" and her very interesting photographs follow Sigmund Freud's notion of the uncanny (unheimlich), or "the feeling one suffers when the familiar suddenly becomes foreign or the attractive becomes repulsive." Freud further adds by discussing "the idea of being robbed of one's eyes." This is a concept that repeats itself obsessively through Braslavsky's strangely elegant photos, specifically in the images where the subject covers her eyes with her own hair and other materials almost as if binding her face. This is a young artist to keep an eye on, and for beginner collectors, her work is a great starting place, and at $400 - $450 for a large framed photograph, are also quite a steal.

But perhaps the most interesting new discovery for me was Anne Chan's work which explores the slick metallic world that seems to surround us everywhere in this ever growing age of technology.

They are almost the photographic equivalent of David Smith's shiny metal sculptures from the 60's, but translated into a contemporary dialogue where technology manages to make its presence known in her almost abstract works.

Magnolia Laurie's four small oils on panel reminded me a little of Jessica Van Brakle's paintings, or perhaps what would happen if some of Brandon Morse's videos were collapsed into two-D paintings.

The $10,000 prizewinner was Sara Pomerance, whose Seinfeldian videos become the first of its genre to win the DMV's most prestigious art prize. It is a well-deserved award. I first saw Pomerance's video work when I was a juror for the Art DC fair (remember that?) a few years ago. Back then they stuck in my head, especially "Too Close."

Dan Steinhilber has now won the second prize at the Trawick's twice, and so I've got my money on Dan for next year. The minimalist beauty of his untitled piece of two plastic sheeting sheets stuck to the wall being held by static electricity is a prize to the eyes of followers of what a talented mind can do with nearly anything and everything.

The show is at the former Heineman Myers Gallery space at 4728 Hampden Lane in Bethesda. A public reception will be held on Friday, September 10, 2010 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. The Gallery hours are Wednesday - Saturday from 12-6pm.

The Trawick Prize was established by local Bethesda business owner Carol Trawick. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is the Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Additionally, the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation was established in 2007 after the Trawicks sold their successful information technology company. The prize was awarded well over $200,000 to DMV artists since it was established at the beginning of the decade.