Through February 16, at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St., Suite 103 — the ground floor corner suite), Reston, Va . Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For further information, call 703-471-9242 or see www.restonarts.org.
Focus Exhibitions features the work of Maryland artists Anne Fine Foer, and Sonya A. Lawyer.
On paper, the work of these two women would seem to be an odd pairing for an art show. Quirks in the working styles and materials used by each has brought them together in this venue for what seems a near perfect pairing, curatorial speaking.
Photographer Sonya A. Lawyer's current body of work deals with African American heritage on an individual level. She collects vintage black and white photos of anonymous strangers, which she uses as source material for her pieces. The work recalls the recent snapshot show at the National Gallery of Art, though the similarity departs there.
Lawyer scans the collected photos and prints them out digitally, then transfers that image into swatches of hand dyed fabric. The finished images on fabric are then stretched over backing boards and assembled in a sort of photographic quilt. Each piece generally features a repetition of one photo for emphasis. Sometimes working deliberately, but mostly working on an intuitive level, she chooses fabric colors she feels would represent that person's personality. In amongst these strangers are key members of her family, such as her grandfathers and great grandfather for example.
Lawyer has three series in this body of work, called “Limit of Disturbances.” A prior series dealt with African-American women. This series, titled “Finding Authenticity” (does anyone remember?) deals with African-American men. It speaks to all of us about our heritage and what we know, much less remember, of it. Few of us have ever met our great grandparents, and in fact few of us even know their names, never mind what they looked like or what they did with their lives. This is stark witness to how quickly all of us are forgotten once we depart. The third and future part of this series will deal with African American children.
Anna Fine Foer has what can only be described as an extensive background in textile conservation. Having worked at more museums around the world than we could keep track of, she then abandoned textiles and is now returning to them again at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. As such, it's little surprise that her paper collage works have a quilted repetitive quality about them.
Foer's collage works shown here use cut up maps for textural paternation and the basic jumping off point for the rest of the work. Her work tends to hit on three general themes — the three dimensional world, Jewish spirituality, and infinity in time and space — and how they are depicted in two dimension space.
The most incisive commentary comes in two pieces titled “The World is Flat,” and “Safeguarding the Sacred,” both of which deal with the detrimental distraction that television brings into our lives. “The World is Flat” offers up the notion that if we watch enough flat screen TV our thinking becomes two dimensional and we no longer need to think, create, or discover anything about the world around us. Thus the world does, in fact, become flat to us. It's a notion that reminds me of the plot line towards the end of H. G. Wells' “Time Machine.”
“Safeguarding the Sacred,” offers up a humorous, but no less damning commentary on TV in our lives. Here we see a sacrificial goat in holding, captivated by the screening of “The Ten Commandments” on the huge flat screen TV. Meanwhile, the Red Sea is parting outside. Foer is clearly calling for less TV and more actual involvement in the real world around us. I second that.
“Time and Space Continuum” makes another appearance here, last seen in the WPA 9×10 series shows at Nicholson's Frame Shop in D.C. Visually, it's my favorite of Foer's works, and depicts a roiling sea of waves made out of watches and infinity symbols.
Paintings and Prints Show
Through February 3. Jo Anne Rose Gallery in Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston, Va.). Community Center hours: Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. Call first to assure that the gallery space is open to the general public and not hosting a special event at the time. Call 703-476-4500 x 3000, or see www.restoncommunitycenter.com. Note: This venue is notoriously difficult to find the first time. See their web site for accurate directions.
Torpedo Factory artists Ann Barbieri, Cora Rupp and Connie Slack, along with Reston artist Dana Scheurer show mostly Giclee Prints, alongside some original paintings. The Torpedo Factory does not allow prints of paintings etc., so this venue allows these artists an opportunity to show these more affordable versions of their work. I especially liked two flower prints by Cora Rupp, titled “Celebration” and “'Fine and Simple.” Each has a nice asymmetrical composition with vaguely impressionistic coloration. Nice work.
F.C. Calendar Entrants
Falls Church Arts and Falls Church Frame are showing this year's entrants to the yearly Falls Church City Calendar competition. Seems no IB level Falls Church student artists entered this year … maybe next year? Falls Church Arts holds poetry events this month. Open Mike poetry night Saturday, Jan. 26, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. All events are at 111 Park Ave., Falls Church. See www.fallschurcharts.org for complete details.