Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Three concurrent exhibitions in the Mansion at Strathmore

Artists featured in three concurrent exhibitions in the Mansion at Strathmore take their mediums in decidedly offbeat, unconventional, and surprising directions. On view from Saturday, June 16 through Sunday, July 29, 2018, visitors are first met with the 40th Anniversary Exhibition of the Washington Calligraphers Guild on the first floor of the Mansion, for which members were encouraged to mine ideas expressed through surrealism and the work of surrealist poets as inspiration. This is a complement to Visions on the second floor, in which four artists blend realistic components with fantastical elements and imagery, creating distinct and dream-like environments.

In the Invitational Gallery’s Buried Wild: Adam Griffiths, the Takoma Park illustrator and cartoonist creates an archeological capsule show that offers a glimpse into his artistic process and aims to question social conventions—with drawings and digitally altered illustrations alongside personal objects from his studio.

A free Opening Reception will be held Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.strathmore.org.

The 40th Anniversary Exhibition of the Washington Calligraphers Guild demonstrates that the most elegant and harmonious calligraphy can be a highly-disciplined act or gestural, capturing the impulses and emotions of a moment in time. Founded in 1976, the Washington Calligraphers Guild is an organization of more than 500 lettering artists from around the world. The juried 40th Anniversary Exhibition features works by 25 artists, combining compelling design with textual meaning to interpret the spirit of texts, poems, and quotes. 

Artists Kim Abraham, Kathryn Freeman, Jordan Franklin, and Elaine Thompson transport viewers into four separate worlds through whimsical, nonsensical, and trippy imagery in Visions. Their paintings, drawings, and digital prints are both playful and contemplative, rendered in oil, watercolor, graphite, charcoal, and digital tools.  In Visions, strange happenings contrast with familiar interiors, blurs of light suggest otherworldly horizons, a menagerie of beasts at play skew proportion, and celestial abstractions resemble microbes, creating a blend of earthly and cosmic realms.

In the Invitational Gallery— Buried Wild: Adam Griffiths

With an eye on the unbalanced and unjust characteristics of the world around him, illustrator and cartoonist Adam Griffiths uses the surreal and ridiculous to provoke societal examination. Skating the edges of contemporary art, illustration, outsider art, and underground comics, Griffiths imbues his work with various symbolisms and mutabilities of historical imperialism and class systems. Griffiths drafts caricatures, exaggerated gestures, luxurious interiors, and man-made objects in razor-thin pencil lines. By digitally coloring his illustrations in vivid hues and placing them against computer generated backgrounds, Griffiths places the familiar in strange settings.

Shelved among the work is personal ephemera from his studio, both made and found. Together, they frame Griffiths as an investigator, and his findings as archeological evidence of a flipside to the everyday world.