Saturday, April 09, 2016

Art in the New Plutocracy

Art is no longer the mere status symbol it was in the age of Morgan. Instead, as Cohen’s exploits show, art has become an instrument for generating wealth and political influence in the interests of an audacious plutocracy. In this sense, we are indeed being ruled by art in a way we have not been before, and its price now comes at a direct social cost.
Read the article here. 

Friday, April 08, 2016

DMVers: Go to Emulsion Opening Tomorrow!

You wanna know the definition of a hard working artist? 

DMV artist Judith Peck

She has work in three shows opening this Saturday, April 9 --- Emulsion 2016 at Gallery O on H in Washington, DC, at The Walker in Kansas, and the inaugural show at the Lemon Tree Gallery in Cape Charles, Virginia! 

Go Judith!

And now UVA wants to censor art...

And now it is UVA's turn to try to censor some artwork...
Some members of the University of Virginia community want a piece of art—a mural—censored, altered, or completely painted over because it depicts students and professors partying together.  
The behaviors of the fictional characters in the painting would likely violate Title IX, said UVA music professor Bonnie Gordon, a vocal critic of the mural, in an interview with 
Details here. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Downton Abbey Paintings

Like the Downton Abbey TV series? You you gotta see DMV area artist Marsha Stein's series of paintings on the subject.

See them here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Gallery censored by landlord in Lafayette, LA

You have to take down the nude pictures you have in your gallery. Part of the agreement to rent you the space was to not display nude pictures.
So begins the email received by artist Nicole Touchet, an email "signed by a project coordinator with Property One Inc., the company that manages Gordon Square, the historic hotel-turned-office complex at the Jefferson-Vermilion intersection in the heart of Downtown. The UL Lafayette alumna had opened her eponymous gallery, Gallerie Touchet, in a small side space facing Vermilion Street 11 months before, hosting exhibitions of up-and-coming local artists including her own work."

Many times in the past I have taken the side of "he who owns the walls" when these sort of issues come out.

However, in this case, as this article points out, the "condition" (No. 5 on Touchet’s lease with Property One) doesn't say anything about nudes, unless Property One thinks that Touchet's loosely painted nudes are so hot that they'd cause a fire:

Lessee warrants and represents to Lessor that the Leased Premises exclusive of common area shall be continually used and occupied only for the purpose of general office use. Lessee shall conduct its business and control its agents, employees, invitees and visitors in such a manner as is lawful, reputable and will not cause any nuisance or otherwise interfere with, annoy or disturb any other tenant in its normal business operations or Lessor in its management of the Building. Lessee shall not commit or suffer to be committed, any waste on the Leased Premises, nor shall Lessee permit the Leased Premises to be used in any way which would, in the opinion of Lessor, be hazardous on account of fire or otherwise which would in any way increase or render void the fire insurance on the Leased Premises or Building.
A lawyer might say that the lease says that the space will be "used and occupied only for the purpose of general office use," but then again, Touchet had used the space as a gallery for 11 months and Property One didn't complain.

In any event, she plans to close the gallery (her lease is up), but I wanted the prudes at Property One know that their ignorant, outdated, and assholish actions have been been heard in the nation's capital region and will forever be part of their footprint in Al Gore's Internet for now on.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Teresa Oaxaca at The Art League

Many years ago, I was at the old Washington Post building meeting with the then WaPo Chief Art Critic. He was going through dozens and dozens of postcards and letters (this was at the dawn of the email age), and he'd glance at them, and then drop them into a waste basket... there was a 99% rejection rate at first glance. I sat there, a little hypnotized by the sad reality of the event.

Years later, after having written about DMV area artists for almost three decades, like most art critics, writers and symbiots of the visual arts, I am also now bombarded with emails, news releases, post cards, letters (yep! old fashion snail mail) and other assorted paraphernalia designed to let me know that an artist is showing somewhere.

And like most people and that former WaPo art critic, time management is a delicate issue, and thus over the years I’m fairly sure that I’ve actually only seen about 1% of the shows that I have actually been interested in, or which have caught my attention.

A while back, one of those shows which snared my interest was an embassy show by a “new” – or at least new to me – artist whose work (at least online) seemed to be quite good.

 It wasn’t just that it “looked” quite good because of the subject matter (it did), or that it looked like the artist had some really good painting skills (it did), or even because it was eye catching in a different frequency from most works (it was) that I would usually be exposed to.

And thus, I decided to pay a visit to this embassy show (these days it involves arranging for baby sitters, planning the drive, and there's very little room for error, etc.), and to say that the work at the embassy show floored me is an understatement.

In fact, it forced me to put my nose close to the canvas; it forced me to step backwards and far away to see how the tight compositions worked together; and it even scratched my inner eye and forced me to look around to ensure that I hadn’t been transported to the past, or perhaps to the future of contemporary realism.

Teresa Oaxaca was the artist, and her paintings and etchings were the subject that dazzled my eyes, seduced my imagination, punched the solar plexus of my mind, and filled my curiosity with inquiries about all that revolved around the paradox-filled universe of this "new to me" artist.

"Pursuit" by Teresa Oaxaca
Oil on canvas with artist-made frame

Oaxaca... and this is clear to the most casual observer, and even clearer to someone who has seen the works of thousands and thousands of painters, is an artist with formidable painting skills.

Her energetic brushwork and fearless attitude towards an aggressive employment of color should be the first chapter in the lesson book to anyone aspiring to pick up a brush and apply anything to a canvas.

Look at the apple in "Pursuit."

It's not the brilliance of the fruit that makes it sing with erotic gusto; in fact it is too shiny - it is like a waxed fruit, prepared to sensualize the first bite by first decorating the visual senses.

It is not its stylized perfect shape, also designed to capture our human check points from the times that we shared the planet with Neanderthals and Denisovans.

It is in fact, those two delicate touches of white paint on the fruit, and it is also the manner in which the cloth caresses the fruit.

Oaxaca’s paintings and prints are at first sight a prism focusing the refracted colors back in time; or are they? To the fantasist, they could also be the work of an artist who has been traveling from a Victorian era to the present; or is it a future time traveler, bathing in the luxuries of the Baroque period, sending us her impressions from her latest voyage to the past?

Whatever the answer, the DMV gets an expanded opportunity to see her work, as her second solo exhibit at The Art League in Alexandria, “Misfits”, will be on view April 6-May 1, 2016.

According to The Art League’s news release, the show “explores the themes of clowns and dolls, human effigies, and painted faces, integrating human emotions and passions with allegorical storytelling. Oaxaca’s style has greatly grown and evolved since her first solo exhibit at The Art League in 2010. She’s interested in breaking the boundaries of traditional realism, and is succeeding through her choice of subject matter, compositional choices, and painterly style.”

Since I’ve just discovered this painter, I have no idea what her first solo show was about, but I suspect that it was but a bridge to her most recent work. Make no mistake, this is an artist who is deeply embedded in the world that she depicts through her art; she lives in that world.

“My work is about pleasing the eye. I paint light and the way it falls. Simple observation reveals beauty, which I often find in the unconventional. Because of this, I have learned to take particular delight in unusual pairings of subject matter,” she notes.

In that previously discussed apple, there are hours of work, but it is the final two applications of white which seal the deal.

"Laughing Queen" by Teresa Oaxaca
Oil on canvas with artist-made frame

 60" x 40"
Oaxaca’s compositions are described as spontaneous. “When a person comes to me, they occupy a space in my mind. Arrangements form from there until I excitedly see and conceive the idea for the piece. The design is both planned and subconscious. For this reason, I surround myself with Victorian and Baroque costumes, bones, and other things in which I find fascinating. I want subject matter to always be at hand, always around me.”

All of Oaxaca’s paintings will be shown within unique frames that the artist designed, built, and painted herself. She feels that the individually designed frames truly complete the one-of-a-kind piece.

Do not miss this show... More later.

Update: Ms. Oaxaca will be doing a demo in the Art League Gallery on the 13th and they will be live streaming on their YouTube channel:

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Tim Vermeulen opens in LA

Congrats to DMV artist Tim Vermeulen, whose solo show Alphabet, (inspired by the 1727 New England primer) opens April 9 at the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles
Tim Vermeulen, J. Job Feels the Rod, Yet Blesses God. 2016, oil on panel, 19 x 23 inches framed
 You can see the show online here.

Saturday, April 02, 2016


In NYC? Come visit us at the Affordable Art Fair, booth 1.54

"Ladybird" 2016 by Lauren Levato Coyne Colored pencil on blue toned paper 11" x 9"
"Ladybird" 2016 by Lauren Levato Coyne
Colored pencil on blue toned paper
11" x 9"

Cars I've owned

Fiat X1/9 (1977-1985)
Citroen Palas (1982-1985)
Seat (1982-1985)
Saab 900S (1985-1997)
Lada (1989-1992)
Dodge Caravan (1996-1998)
Ford Windstar (1998-2005)
Chrysler Town & Country (2005 - ?)

Friday, April 01, 2016


In NYC? Come visit us at the Affordable Art Fair, booth 1.54

"Reds" Oil on Linen, 14,11 inches by Rory Coyne

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Did President George W. Bush release a new series of dog portraits?

They almost fooled me with the below news release - a very clever April's Fool prank by Artfinder... it was when their CEO started referring to Dubya as "George" that I smelled a prank!

Following the high profile exhibition of his work at the Presidential Library and Museum in Texas in 2014:
Artfinder is delighted to announce that George W. Bush will join the site as an artist from 1 April 2016. To mark the occasion, George has released a new series of technicolor dog portraits, including a Scottish Terrier, in homage to his dog Barney, who sadly passed away in 2013. The portraits will be on sale from midnight GMT 31 March.
George W. Bush comments:

I wanted to make sure the last chapters of my life were full, and painting, it turns out, has helped occupy not only space but opened my mind.  
Dogs are a subject close to my heart, and frankly they make better subjects for portraits than politicians, who are all very much alike. I am delighted to have been accepted to join Artfinder’s vibrant community of 6,000 artists around the world.
Jonas Almgren, CEO of Artfinder comments:
 “We have long been admirers of George’s work and are delighted to see him join the site. Our mission is to create a world of art for everyone – and we anticipate George’s pieces being incredibly popular.”
Artfinder is the largest global marketplace for original art, connecting over 500,000 subscribers worldwide with 180,000+ pieces of art from 6,000 artists. 

To view Bush’s Artfinder shop please visit:
Update: Artfinder actually has a pet portrait painter who has joined them - Arizona based Alicia VanNoy Call a.k.a Dawg Art - she is the one behind these canine portraits.

Here's a link to her Artfinder shop:

Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center are open April 2 through May 29, 2016.

Popular and critically acclaimed Washington artist, Kevin MacDonald, gets a posthumous career retrospective in Kevin MacDonald: The Tension of a Suspended Moment. Created out of unorthodox materials like coffee and tea, representational paintings, lithographs and silkscreens, capture unpeopled interiors, still-lifes, industrial landscapes, and cubist and surrealist representations of daily life. At the time of his death from cancer in 2006, MacDonald, 59, was at the height of his artistic powers and planning an ambitious body of work related to the shared, unwritten, and personal history of Silver Spring, Maryland, where he had spent most of his life. MacDonald’s work is in the permanent collections of The National Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Coinciding with the retrospective of Kevin MacDonald, the Alper Initiative for Washington Art (AIWA) presents Twisted Teenage Plot. Besides being an excellent artist, MacDonald also played in bands, most notably Twisted Teenage Plot. Twisted Teenage Plot will showcase the work of visual artists who played in bands in Washington in the late 70s and early 80s, including Dick Bangham, Michael Baron, Jay Burch, Kim Kane, Clark Vinson Fox (aka Michael Clark), Steve Ludlum, Michael McCall, JW Mahoney, Michael Reidy, Robin Rose, Judith Watkins Tartt, and Joe White. Sound recordings, posters, videos, and memorabilia are also featured.

Free Parking, a new series of salon-style conversations, will host its second session in the AIWA space on the museum’s first floor at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 5. AU Museum Curator and Director Jack Rasmussen will lead a review of the life and art of musicians in 1970s and 80s D.C. The event, free and open to the public, features special guests Bill Warrell and Michael Olshonsky. RSVP is required:

William Dunlap: Look At It – Think About It is a survey exhibition of paintings, works on paper, constructions and sculpture by the artist from the 1970s through the present. Both found and fashioned objects reflect Dunlap’s interest in the narrative tradition in visual arts and modernist concerns with remote association and conceptualism. The exhibition coincides with the release of Dunlap’s book of short stories, Short Mean Fiction, Words and Pictures (Nautilus Press).   

Elsewhere: Southern Constellations is the third exhibition in Transformer’s four-part ‘Do You Know Where Your Art Comes From?’ series, presented in partnership with American University Museum. Southern Constellations profiles the work of Elsewhere Museum and Residency and highlights a curatorial initiative to extend experimental practices and creative networks in the South.

Elsewhere Museum and Residency is an artist-run non-profit contemporary art organization set in a former thrift store in downtown Greensboro, NC. Six artists, born or based in the Southern United States, are brought to the living museum and residency each year to create new site-specific works that explore the museum, its collection and communities. Connecting a regional network of experimental artists and arts spaces, Southern Constellations considers the conditions and context for experimentation in the south, as well as the resources that sustain and engage practitioners in the region. Victoria Reis, executive & artistic director of Transformer, is curator, in collaboration with Tim Doud, associate professor of art and coordinator of the Visiting Artist Program at American University.

MASTER OF FINE ART FIRST YEAR AND THESIS EXHIBITIONS features the work of Master of Fine Art candidates in American University’s Department of Art. The First Year MFA exhibition will run April 2 through 20, and the MFA Thesis exhibition will run from April 30 through May 29. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our booth at the Affordable Art Fair NYC - Wishing that I was there! Good luck to Lori Ehrlich Katz, Rory Coyne and Lauren Levato Coyne - make us proud! Booth 1.94 on the first floor.

Monday, March 28, 2016


As we have been for the last decade, we'll be doing the Affordable Art Fair New York again this Spring (March 30 - April 3 at the Met Pavilion). 

Because of my recent medical issues, I won't be there, but the gallery will be well-represented by DMV artist Lori Katz and Chicago-based artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne.

We'll be in booth 1.54 on the first floor; if you'd like some free passes to the fair, please send me a note.

Graphite on Maple
by Rory Payne

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Call to Artists

Saturday, March 26, 2016

John Kelly on Mark Felner

The rare DMV area visual arts article in the WaPo:
Mark didn’t want to read Fitzgerald’s classic tale, even though he gathered 50 copies. Like many of us, he read it in high school. Rather, he wanted to shred the books, soak them in water, grind them into a gray slurry and turn that slurry into a large, rectangular piece of thick, deckle-edged handmade paper.

Read the piece here.

The Second Annual Athenaeum Invitational

Underwritten by TTR | Sotheby's International Realty, The Athenaeum Invitational celebrates the arts of Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and West Virginia in the Athenaeum Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It is a theme-based event featuring the works of both specially-invited artists who have exhibited in the Athenaeum Gallery in the past, as well as works selected through a call for submissions open to anyone living or working in Virginia, the District of Columbia, or Maryland.  A $1500 prize for the best work will be awarded to an invited artist, and a $1000 prize will be awarded to an artist from the open call. 

The show is juried by Athenaeum Gallery Director, Twig Murray.  Prize winners will be selected by a noted art expert, who has yet to be determined.

Theme: Oh! The joy!
The theme asks artists to reflect on a moment of pure joy. It is inspired by the Lewis and Clark expedition across the unchartered North American continent to reach the Pacific Ocean. After an arduous, two-year trek, William Lewis crested a hill, saw the vast body of water and cried, “The Ocean in view. Oh! The joy!”
Entries might explore that singular burst of relief and satisfaction after enduring a difficult task, or the magic of being struck by something unexpected and delightful, or the sudden transformation that is experienced in sheer ebullience. It is the ephemeral and evanescent quality of a joyous moment we invite artists to respond to.

In fact, at the moment those words were uttered by Lewis, the expedition was actually facing an estuary of the Columbia River, not the open ocean. This presents another aspect of the theme for artists to consider, whether a moment of joy is ‘valid’ when it is later learned that the reason or impetus for the emotion was wrong or undeserved.

Selection Criteria
Works will be selected based on artistic excellence, innovation, creativity, and a demonstrated relevance to the theme as revealed in a brief artist statement.

The call is open now with a submission deadline of August 28, 2016.

The Athenaeum Gallery
201 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314
703 548 0035