Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

A listing of new openings, exhibitions and opportunities to show art.

Northern Virginia Photographic Society’s Annual Photography Exhibit & Sale

Friday November 10 through Sunday November 12 at Fort C.F. Smith Park (The Hendry House), 2411 24th Street, North Arlington VA, (703) 243-7329. Opening reception is Friday November 10, from 6-8 p.m.; regular hours Saturday, November 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, November 12, noon to 5 p.m. The Northern Virginia Photographic Society has over 200 members. Some of their best works will be on display, and for sale. Afterwards you can enjoy a walk along the nature trails in the park.  

 

Arts Council at ‘GRACE’

Through December 1 at Greater Reston Arts Center, 12001 Market St, Suite 103 (the ground floor corner suite), Reston, VA . Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m . For further information call (703) 471-9242  or see www.restonarts.org.

Seems the long suffering Fairfax Arts Council has found a home for it’s annual art show in the GRACE gallery. I can remember participating in one of these many years ago. That show was hung in the Fairfax City Court House complex. This show is miles ahead of that one, as it well should be. The new GRACE gallery space is beautiful and a proper art venue to be sure.

The show itself is made up of 49 high quality works from 49 DC area artists. Yes, it’s a Fairfax show, but like most of these organizations you don’t have to live there to join. It’s an eclectic mix as all of these themeless shows are. Travis Childers’ piece titled "Cultures" is especially entertaining. Here we find a two level, stainless steel rolling lab cart filled with glass petri dishes. Each housing several pinkish flat blobs. Upon close inspection you realize the blobs are Silly Putty, and have been used to lift the fuzzy faces of famous folks from what we can only assume were newspaper photos. And who said Kindergarten was a waste of time? It’s hard not to laugh at this one. If it has any fault it might be a tad too humorous. You tend to focus on the materials used and ingenious concept, and forget to think about the grander statement at hand. It’s the age old dilemma in advertising. You make a funny ad, people laugh, and remember the joke. But if you make them laugh too much they forget the product you’re trying to sell. If you can get beyond the humor of this piece, you start to wonder about the people presented. Are they simply infectious agents on society as a whole, to be contained, studied, and overcome? Or is it a case of famous people living in glass containers for our voyeuristic inspection and entertainment. Whichever it is, they’re totally exposed in these tiny glass enclosures. Something few of us would find comfortable. High art made of Silly Putty, you’ve got to love that.

The other end of the spectrum is occupied by works such as ‘Stick’ by Jessie Lehson. An abstract hanging sculpture comprised mostly of muslin, pins, and sifted soil. At first glance you aren’t really sure what it’s about. However, the 5,000 or so stick pins piercing the muslin leave you with the distinct impression pain is involved. In fact, she comments that it partly has to do with medical procedures. The other 47 works are somewhere in between these two.

 

Fall Solos 2006

Arlington Arts Center through November 25. Arlington Art Center. 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia. Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (703) 248-6800, or see www.arlingtonartscenter.org. Fall Solos 2006 features the work of six Mid-Atlantic artists. One from DC, Maryland, and two from Arlington, Va., and  Pennsylvania. It’s all serious work, but there is humor here. Trish Tillman uses children’s giraffe and elephant character squirt guns in two of her photos. No to forget the two penguin sculpture with one dumped on by some sort of  Pepto-pink fluid, much to his chagrin. All of which draw a chuckle. They’re so humorously subversive, and the veneer of childlike innocence so thick, you could live with them for years and still not get the serious messages underneath. It takes a deft touch to pull this off. Suzi Fox has some innovative works that are about half a step short of great. It’s like a fantastic joke in search of a solid punch line. Origami like works made of emory paper. A blue square knitted from a blue line reel used to ‘snap lines’ on every construction job known to man. That may in fact be the hook here, a contrast between the feminine and masculine side of things. If that’s the gag, it’s a old saw worn dull through years of use. An old joke well told, is still an old joke. The use of blue line for knitting purposes…pure genius! Candice Welsh has a series of pastel and graphite drawings in the Tiffany Gallery that are free, playful and wonderfully expressive, almost child like renderings of frozen TV dinners. Reading the intro card however, drains a lot of the humor from the room. Welsh’s husband incapacitated by an accident, left her to fend for both of them. Lacking driving or cooking skills. She was challenged to shop for frozen dinners and get them home via the bus before they melted. Sometimes the story helps the art, but I wonder if it doesn’t damage the enjoyment of these pieces. It’s either too much information, or not enough. You walk out wondering why she doesn’t learn to drive and cook, which has nothing to do with the art.

 

Artistic Opportunities

 
10th Annual National Juried Show at Gallery West

1213 King St. Alexandria, VA. (703) 549-6006. Postmark deadline for submissions November 16. Entry fee is $25 for three pieces. Judging via digital images. See www.Gallery-West.com for complete details and entry form.

The Northern Virginia Art Beat is compiled by Kevin Mellema. To e-mail submissions, send them to mulsane@aol.com.

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