Saturday, August 13, 2011

Art Gallery of Potomac

I finally dropped by the check out The Art Gallery of Potomac (10107 River Road, Potomac, Maryland 20854), which as far as I know is the only art gallery in uberwealthy Potomac, Maryland (more on that later).

The gallery occupies a huge space next to Walgreens, on a former store space of horse riding supplies. After they tore down the stalls and assorted other horsey stuff, what remained behind, an industrial shell of a large space, is perfect for an art gallery: white walls, industrial-looking and raw.

After the horse store closed and the space remained empty and vacant for a while, I was told that a couple of years the artists from Potomac Artists in Touch (PAinT), got together and approached the landlord, and offered to run a gallery in the space until a paying tenant could be found (the "for lease" sign hangs prominently on the front window).

So far they've managed to last a couple of years and instead of an ugly, closed up space, Potomac's only local source of original art is now a mainstay in the Village and the only art gallery in one of the nation's wealthiest barrios.

Most of the work on exhibit appeared to be from PAinT members (Judith Bourzutschy, Colette Calilhanna, Karin Colton, Terri Cunningham, Cherry Dearie, Felisa Federman, Claire Howard, Anne Martinez, Yolanda Prinsloo, Bess Rodiquez Richard and Martha Lechner Spak), although I know that other artists also show there (the current featured show is by Anne Martinez, and it is titled "Portraits of Love" and is an exhibition of pet portraits as well as works by Stephen Dell'Aria, Merry Lymn, David Therriault and others), and I recall that the very talented Jessica Van Brakle also once showed there a while back.

Like any big group show, there was some saccharine work on exhibition, and artwork that ranged from raw amateur -both in display and artwork itself - to accomplished pieces breathing with talent and skill.

Of all the artists in the gallery, the only one that I was familiar with was the work of Argentinean artist Felicia Federman, who is a very dynamic artist and who is always exhibiting somewhere around the DMV throughout the year. Her mixed media works are her strongest skill set and those mixed media pieces are some of the best on exhibition now.

I also liked some of the work by South African-born artist Yolanda Prinsloo, who (if her portrait in her business card is accurate) is a dead ringer for Frida Kahlo!

Overall, my kudos to this hard working group of artists who took an empty shell of a space in Potomac Village and turned it into Potomac's only art gallery, which tells you something about art collectors in the DMV. I only hope that Potomac residents continue to support this artist-driven effort and hope that the landlord never leases this space.