Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

Notes on this week's NoVa art scene:

'Visual Rhythms/Ritmos Visuales', 'Sultry Summer Nights' and more! 


Through September 3, at the Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St., Alexandria. Gallery hours Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. (703) 838-4565 (extension 4), or see

Hot salsa for the hot month of August. Visual Rhythms is a national juried show of art influenced by Latin American art and culture. Juror Lope Max Díaz, Professor of Art at North Carolina State University and former Professor of Art at the University of Puerto Rico, chose 26 diverse pieces by 22 artists from across the country.

The imagery ranges from the sort of vibrant paintings we typically associate with Latin American art, to abstracts, and the surrealistically bizarre.

Aviv Orly's digital photo “Ponte Negre 205” would definitely be in the latter category. Here we find a woman's bare foot in bucolic surroundings with red roses above and below, beside a curved tube form that is so wonderfully ambiguous, we can only say it might be a giant slug. The exact meaning of it all hinges on what you make out of the tube form beside the foot and the red roses. Viewers' impressions will tell you as much about them as the piece itself. The harsh lighting on the perfect and dainty foot seems to give it a somewhat reverently religious feel. The contrast between purity and reality perhaps. I keep recalling the scene in David Lynch's “Blue Velvet” where the human ear is found in the vacant lot. It has that sort of Lynch-ian graphic punch with dark surrealistic weirdness to it. It almost seems as if it's Eve in the garden of Eden, after all that apple business transpired. The idyllic suddenly no longer so. The lone red rose at the bottom of the image conveying a sense of having fallen from grace. On the other hand, the red rose has a multitude of traditional symbolism from love and passion, to Christ's blood on the cross in Christianity. All of which make exact readings of the images a little fuzzy. And there's nothing that says the artist can't make up their own symbolism.

Bob Davis's “Blue Dogs” painting shows a pair of blue dogs resting beneath a tree, as seen from above. Although the subject matter is static, the swirling flow of lines and diagonal forms combined with intense coloration give the painting an endless sense of visual movement that would keep your eye entertained for years. It's nice work.

Stephanie Maria's six-by-four foot multi-paneled painting “Curandera” deals with shamanism and the removal of malevolent spirits in an effort to heal the sick. Thematically about as traditionally Latin American as you can get.

The opening reception for Visual Rhythms is this Thursday night, August 9, from 6 – 9 p.m., coinciding with the usual Second Thursday art events in Old Town Alexandria. This one sounds like a real fiesta with live Latin guitar by Rich Amelang, free tango lessons by Generations Dance Studio, with Spanish inspired drinks and munchies rounding out the affair. Juror's talk will be at 7 p.m. All Free.

'Sultry Summer Nights'

Thursday, August 9, from 6 – 9 p.m. at Elizabeth Stone Gallery, 1127 King Street, Suite 201, Alexandria, Va. Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday Noon – 5 p.m. or by appointment. Phone (703)-706-0025, or see

Right in our midst we have, according to gallery owner Elizabeth Stone, one of only four art galleries dedicated to the art of children's books. I have to admit, I've never seen another one. Displaying a wide range of material, and a price range that goes from $100 prints to original illustrations in the thousands of dollars, there is surely something for every lover of children's book art. Not surprisingly the art of Harry Potter is on view at the moment.


Pathway to the Past 

This Thursday evening a free guided art gallery and historical history tour will be given by Footsteps to the Past, see for more information.


Artist Opportunities

• 'Taste of Falls Church' is still looking for artists to show and sell their work. The event is September 15, with artist registration due by August 15. For booth rental prices and further information contact Jenny Elmore, Senior Program Supervisor for the City of Falls Church Recreation & Parks Division, at 703-248-5077 or

• Arlington Art Center has a studio space available. This is a great opportunity. A slot is opening up in the four person studio. It's a two year lease, with your portion of the monthly rent set at $150. Must work in the studio 60 hours a month, and give four hours of your time to the Arts Center every month. Applications due by September 1, and the space is available September 15. Jurying process for applicants. Guaranteed exhibition space on a rotational basis in the top floor gallery — check with them for exact details on this part. The space includes a bath with shower and a mini-kitchen. Who needs to go home? Joking aside, it is work space, not an apartment. For application see “artist opportunities” at or contact them by email at