Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

 'Fall Solos 2007'

 

Through November 17, at Arlington Art Center (3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington). Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Call 703-248-6800 or see www.arlingtonartscenter.org for more details. Opening reception: Friday, October 5, 6 – 9 p.m.

For a group of eight solo shows, this is a surprisingly cohesive lot. It's a high quality show that's tough to pick a favorite from.

Rosemary Covey has been allowed to wrap the building with her Zero Project drawing, printed out on Tyvec. The 300×15-foot black and white image depicts an endless horde of bald people silently screaming en masse. It seems an Orwellian version of Munch's “Scream,” but leaves one wondering what is the source of such true horror so as to unify such a mass. Arlington Art Center events based around this work range from a mask making seminar, to a closing day open mic for anyone to speak their minds about what concerns them … that should be interesting. For more information see www.rosemarycovey.com.
Claire Sherwood shows a collection of black and white lace-patterned images on discs that dot the walls of the entranceway gallery. The first gallery off of that hall features the black ceramic sculptures of Laurel Lukaszewski, who had a highly acclaimed show at Project 4 recently. Lukaszewski's offering here is a unified collection of black ball-like structures comprised of interlocking ceramic coil spring-like forms — think of giant hair balls or dust bunnies and you've got the general idea. Mounted in two rows, the balls rise and fall along the walls of the gallery in a refreshingly free and active way that speaks to Lukaszewski's commanding sense of space. It's a notoriously tough room to fill, and Lukaszewski does so with such effortless aplomb that anyone familiar with the space has to give immediate credit for that alone.

Across the hall, Timothy Michael Martin presents a series of abstract paintings, the best of which seemed to be a birch board partially washed in green paint with blue line geometric structures on it. An interesting juxtaposition of the free-form, happy-accident and the deliberate mathematical construction.

One the other side of the room we find the ravages of war depicted by Chawky Frenn. Frenn's work is part of the Arlington to Aachen show traveling to Germany. With piles of shoes in several paintings, it's tough not to think of the Holocaust, yet these are modern shoes, not those of 60 plus years ago. A large triptych altarpiece shows the Christ child on a pile of shoes. Another shows a yellow caution tape in front of a shoe pile that puts a possible landmine spin to it. Frenn is, in effect, offering us his silent scream against the futility and sheer stupidity of war in general. Having spent six years in war-torn Lebanon, he knows firsthand the effects war brings about. His flayed man between Washington Monument and mosque minaret speaks the loudest as to his egalitarian beliefs that inform the works.

Alessandra Torres's largely black and white work occupies one of the two downstairs galleries. An interesting collection of paper cutout figurative works. Resembling armless versions of articulated childhood paper dolls, these figures seem frozen in midair as if caught at the apogee of some trampoline or trapeze maneuver. Employing sheets of magnetic material, most of these figures can be moved around by the artist. One piece allows the viewer to move the image at will by moving magnets on the face of the glass case.

The other downstairs gallery houses the masterful multimedia sculptural works of Gillian Brown. It's tough to pick favorites here, but I'm partial to the piece showing a man starting a fire in the brain, then the conflagration that rages in the heart. It strikes me as a sober and well thought out depiction of the way we fall in love. Another piece models the function of an eyeball. All of the four pieces have a certain three dimensional use of video. This is the way art video should be. Do something arty with it. Brown projects the video onto several planes with occasional focusing aides along the way. She's artfully forcing the two dimensional medium of film into the third dimension. This nifty trick alone is worth the time and effort to see Fall Solos 2007.

Heidi Fowler's work, last seen in this year's Bethesda Painting Awards show (reviewed here in the July 4 issue), has a far more extensive showing here. Fowler's series of paintings are executed on a ground of junk mail with other odd bits, such as a yardstick and shirt parts. Subject matter ranges from construction cranes to contrails left by passing planes, all of which deal with some variation of the “X” form. Two of the paintings carry the X form right down to the ground of junk mail, using the back of envelopes with their X formation of paper flaps. The work holds up at close range, as well as from a distance, which is more than you can say for a lot of work. It's nice stuff.

Apart from the Solos show, this month's feature artist-in-residence, Gilbert Trent, has a series of paintings on the third floor gallery that takes the X theme in a completely different direction. Here we find interesting, yet challenging and reasonably graphic works exploring the notion of gender, sexual orientation and sex. It's not always clear what Trent is up to, but it's fun to try and figure it out.

 

'Art on the Avenue'
The Del Ray section of Alexandria has its 12th annual “Art on the Avenue” this Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Over 300 artists will be showing their work from Hume to Bellefonte streets along Mount Vernon Ave. For a map and further information, see www.artontheavenue.org/index.htm.