Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

Art Gallery Nuptials

“Till Death Do Us Part,” at the Longview Gallery (1234 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C.). The exhibit

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“TILL DEATH DO US PART,” oil on canvas, by Dana Ellyn, now on display at the Longview Gallery.

runs from Feb. 5 – March 1. The opening reception for this art show will also feature the actual wedding of two well-known D.C. artists, Matt Sesow (www.sesow.com) and Dana Ellyn (www.danaellyn.com).

There’s no telling how crazy this one will get, but you’ll just have to find out. To join in the fun, send an RSVP to info@longviewgallery.com.

 

Coveted Sanctuary

Visiting Artists Program, at the Torpedo Factory (105 N. Union St., Alexandria). The application deadline is Feb. 28. For complete details and application forms, visit www.torpedofactory.org/vap.

There is no application fee, but artists will be required to cover the nominal rental fee for studio space.

The juror for this pilot program will be the director of American University’s Katzen Center, Jack Rasmussen. Studio spaces will be available for one to three months between June 1 – Aug. 31.

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“PRAISE,” ONE OF BARBACCIA’S sea-themed Styrofoam molds, in this case, a six-tentacled octopus-like creature.

With some inside knowledge here, I can tell you applicants better bring their A-game in a big, big way on this one. The Torpedo Factory has set a course to break loose of their somewhat staid reputation.

Having been one of the participants in the critique and ideation process, we can only say it’s good to see it all coming to fruition.

Several prime ground-floor studio spaces are being vacated for this period (one of which is right next to the front door), and will be occupied by the selected artists.

The call for applications is going out to just about every artist within a several state radius.

Competition for slots should be tougher than titanium, and Rasmussen is no push over. Anybody thinking this is all about safe decorator art, guess again: the principals involved are digging as hard as they possibly can to find fresh blood, and fresh thinking. This is a fabulous opportunity for any artist.

 

Neon & Styrofoam

Joseph Barbaccia / Craig Kraft / Judy Southerland in  Focus Exhibitions, at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) (12001 Market St., Suite 103, Reston). The exhibit runs through Feb. 20. The gallery is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday. For more details, call 703-471-9242 or visit www.restonarts.org.

Barbaccia shows another round of sequin-encrusted Styrofoam shapes. One of the finalists in the 2008 Trawick Prize competition, he’s also coming off a recent solo show at Neptune Gallery in Bethesda.
In general, Barbaccia sculpts Styrofoam shapes, which he covers with sequins secured with stainless steel push pins. The effect reminds one of Judith Leiber’s whimsical handbags. Mind you, Leiber’s bags are largely kitsch evening wear accessories for the uber-wealthy. Barbaccia is after a more sober, yet quite decorative end-product.

These seven sculptures called “Currents” deal with forms we associate with sea creatures. A

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“UNINTENTIONAL DRAWING I,” by neon artist Craig Kraft, uses neon lighting in intricate graffiti-esque patterns which can also be viewed from behind the Plexiglas.

six-tentacle octopus-like form titled “Praise” may be the most successful. The textured pattern design  of its sequins gives the finished work a visually seamless covering, allowing us to see beyond the surface decoration and tedious work. Only then are we able to take the work in as a unified marriage of form and color.

Neon Artist Craig Kraft is the one responsible for the giant neon “X” sculpture on the facade of the Arlington Arts Center.

Kraft’s three blue neon works here – argon with a mercury kicker if you want to be specific – are based on doodles Kraft did while on the phone, or otherwise engaged.

As such, they are nonsensical designs, aside from any subconscious reasoning that may have entered the artist’s process.

The largest piece, titled “Unintentional Drawing I,” incorporates words, numbers and quickly scrawled looping shapes. The final work has a graffiti-esque air about it. We linger over the semi-legible words, and find some order in the 1-2-3 notations at the lower right. While the final piece doesn’t have any grand message per se, the entertaining complexity of shapes, vectors, and notations hold the viewer’s attention. In the end, we’re comfortable letting the central word, “dream,” hold sway.

This piece also has a clear Plexiglas backing that allows the viewer to safely see the flickering business end of this 240,000 volt monster. Like a glass-backed watch, the novice can find just as much entertainment in the seemingly abstract workings as the finished facade.

Finally, Judy Southerland is a Corcoran instructor whose work was last seen at McLean Project for the Arts in their 2009 edition of the Strictly Painting biennial. Her print and painting work here continue her figurative depictions.


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

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