Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

'Spring Solos 2008'

Through May 31 at Arlington Arts Center (3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington). Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For further information, call 703-248-6800, or see www.arlingtonartscenter.org.

The current round of solos at Arlington Arts Center offers a look at six new artists. The Tiffany Gallery houses a multitude of matchbox-sized art by Jennifer Mattingly. These three-dimensional collages are crafted from lone matchboxes. The Lilliputian works bump along at the limit of what people can be expected to take in without offering them a magnifying glass. A few pieces made me wish I'd brought my own.

Jeremy Drummond and Jennie Fleming both use photography to show us the built environment we've created for ourselves. Drummond concentrates on new subdivisions and the bizarre aesthetic thereof, while Flemming offers us a drive-by view of Maryland Route 1, and another such view of Charles Street in Baltimore. Though depicting the street-front urban facade we all see day to day in our travels, generally speaking, the photo assemblages are made up of sharp photos likely made while on foot.

Drummond seems to hit the ball a little further with his assemblage titled “Drive By,” made up of 74 still frames from video shot of the roadside as driven by. The photos, filled with motion blur, offer a sort of homogeneous smear, as we experience the space between where we were, and where we want to be on a dally basis. We rarely take note of the details between point A and point B, largely concerning ourselves with the simple act of getting there. Visually, it's the sort of fast-forward we do to leap-frog the commercials on home-recorded TV programs. The remainder of Drummond's work here deals with street names, how they are selected and juxtaposed with each other, and what that may or may not say about our suburban cultural milieu.

Jacklyn Brickman presents a room-filling piece titled “Flock.” Stringing kernels of corn together to resemble some sort of gigantic molecular diagram, and then sealing it off with scratched plastic panels. The whole notion dealing with the Starling problem for the feed industry and the enormous quantity of food they eat and foul every year.

Jacklyn Drogoul fills the room next door with her reverential military piece called “Invocation for The Last Full Measure of Devotion.” It's a darkened room filled with assorted military uniforms from the past and present. Projected on the back wall is a video of the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, and an image of the Pentagon projected on the floor while white gloved hands move within its inner courtyard. The background music plays a rather saccharine version of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which seems to reference the notion that many men go to war with a death wish of sorts. It's a simple, yet subtly complex piece.

No question, my favorite here is the work of Erin Williams. Oh, what a sly creature we have here in Ms. Williams. She has created a sort of Victorian parlor room exhibition. Comprised of four main pieces — a bear hunting net rifle, a recording/listening device, a time machine and a wheeled wedding dress form for a legless girl.

Describing the work is akin to telling the end of a movie. Folks, it's all a ruse. One giant elaborate, intricate and quite ingenious scam. The dress form seems 100 percent plausible. The thing looks like it's made of the right stuff from the Victorian era. The thinking is period correct. The notion is completely plausible and tears at our empathy. Who wouldn't want to be able to stand up and seem normal for their wedding day?

How well was this played off? Well, everyone I talked to was taken by it. Everyone. The time machine and Gramophone and homemade blunderbuss are pretty shaky as for execution. Gun powder would likely split the copper pipe gun with a few firings, if not the first time. The time machine looks like some twisted fantasy out of the movie Brazil, had Brazil been placed in the 1800s. The wedding dress ruse however, is by itself hook, line and sinker good. The girl in the photo? It's the artist.

The best story of opening night was how Williams displayed her work in her MFA show with tags that read “On loan from the Williams Museum.” Apparently everyone wanted to know why this stuff from the museum was here in the MFA show. Oh, sometimes we take ourselves entirely too seriously. Thank you Ms. Williams, executive director of the Williams Museum.

4th Annual Falls Church City Art Show & Sale

 

Opening reception Friday, April 25, from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday, April 26 from noon-4 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St., Falls Church).

Falls Church Artists, there is still time to get in this show. Artists living or working in Falls Church City may drop off up to two pieces for exhibition. The drop-off period begins Monday, April 21 and goes right up to noon, Friday, April 25 when the installation begins. On the back of each piece list your name, phone number and selling price if the work is for sale.

Volunteers are sought to help with the actual hanging of the show between noon and 3 p.m. Contact Jenny Elmore, City Art Show Coordinator 703-248-5199.

'Jung-Eun Kim; Circulation'

Through Wednesday, April 30 at Korea Monitor Art Gallery (7203 Poplar St., Annandale). For more information, call 703-750-9111 or see www.kmartgallery.net. Note: The web site is pretty tough to get info off of if you don't read Korean.

Just when I think I've got a handle on the local arts scene, a new venue pops up on my radar screen. Small, alternative art spaces are far more plentiful than one would first assume.

Korea Monitor is a weekly magazine published for the local Korean population. The gallery space turned meeting room within their editorial office building is quite nice as these spaces go. It's a large open room with gallery lighting that spotlights the individual works on the walls. Generally the art there is of a less-than-professional caliber. Like everything else in the world, the better the art, the better the venues it gets shown in. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the space and the art shown.

Jung-Eun Kim presents 22 sizable prints in this exhibition, mostly mezzotint, and aquatints, with three etchings as well. You never know what you'll find in these offbeat art venues. Kim's imagery is nature-based and deals with the cycle of life and how we are all a part of it, rather than separated from it.

For the most part, the prints shown here depict decaying logs in dark black tones. The more playful and lighthearted ones show vibrant red ladybugs crawling across the logs. They seem to say that from decay comes life anew. Oriental arts in general tend towards what we think of as modern design principals, simplicity in combination with textural, and abstract components. It's a fairly advanced notion that has influenced cutting-edge Western art and design for well over 100 years. These excellent works further that tradition.

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