Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Artbeat

'Winter Staff Show'

Through February at Black and White Photo Lab (1916 Wilson Blvd., Suite 201, Arlington). Hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., or by appointment. 703-525-1922.

 Black and White Photo Lab is currently hosting one of its Staff shows, this iteration being comprised of current and past staff. The people who work in art stores, photo labs and the like tend to get there via their own artistic efforts. You deal with them on a day to day basis, maybe they get to see your work along the way, but you rarely get to see what they're personal artistic vision is all about. So, rare as they are, shows of this sort are interesting to see. Quality and content wise you never know what you'll find.

B+W photography being the traditional choice of art photographers, coupled with the fact that Black and White lab is a serious photo lab, it's not surprising that the quality of their staff shows is quite high.

Digital photography currently has a choke hold on traditional wet lab photography. The effects there of can even be seen here in this last bastion of tradition. Some, if not most, of the prints on view here are some form of digital output. Unbelievable as it may be, Black and White Lab seems to be the last place in Washington where you can get a traditional fiber-based black and white photo print. However they too have changed with the times and added digital printing services, and are now able to provide color or black and white archival prints up to 42-inches wide. Printing on roll paper the length of the print is theoretically only limited to the size of your wallet and wall space … one of those things that was a nightmare to do in a traditional wet lab.

The owners of Black and White are reaching the end of their careers, and wish to sell the business to some interested party this year. Hopefully they will be able to find someone to take over the business. If this one goes down you'll need to send your wet lab work to New York.

 On to the staff show … Amongst a multitude of work here, I especially liked Kenny George's album compilation photos. They are achieved by scanning a plethora of album covers — remember those? — and then layering all the photos one on top of the other. The interesting thing is they come out with a red patina. So much for black leather jackets and the like, looks like the true color of adolescent angst is Rock and Roll Red.

One of the two images, “fifty-two pop albums in alphabetical order,” has an almost subliminal image of a dollar bill layered into it. It was one of the album covers, but offers an especially wry and cynical twist to it all. While decent sized at 22-inches square, these images are begging for a spin on that 42" printer in the back room.

Not surprisingly, George reports that his R+B album compilation image — not shown here — has a blue cast to it.

Tom Paradis presents us with the “Lost” series, three black and white portraits of his children. The images are tonally pushed to the absolute limit, flirting with total black. A couple steps darker and these would be flat fields of black devoid of all image. It's evocative work that shows how Paradis was thinking of his kids, and how they're becoming hard to reach, and are in a way fading from his life as they mature.


Artist Opportunities
The da Vinci Passport
Open call for curated show — Falls Church Arts is looking for artwork that evokes one or more of the seven da Vincian principles of genius, as explored by Michael Gelb in his book “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.” These principles are curiosita, connessione, sensazione, sfumato, dimostrazione, corporalita and arte/scienze. For expansive English translations, see

Best beat feet, the show opens February 1 at Art and Frame (111 Park Ave., Falls Church). Call 703-533-0775 or e-mail to make arrangements for pick-up, or if you have questions.

Bethesda Painting Awards
Fire up those jet powered easels. It's baaaaaack … the $14,000 Bethesda Painting Awards. Deadline for slide/CD submission is Friday, Feb. 15. Up to eight finalists will be invited to display their work from June 4 – July 5, 2008 in Bethesda's Fraser Gallery.

The competition will be juried by Timothy App, professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore; Dr. Anne Collins Goodyear, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery and Reni Gower, Professor in the Painting and Printmaking Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The first place winner will be awarded $10,000, second place $2,000 and third place $1,000. A “young” artist born after February 15, 1978 may also be awarded $1,000.

It is open to all artists over 18 years of age and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

All original 2-D painting, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, encaustic and mixed media will be accepted. The maximum dimension should not exceed 60 inches in width or 84 inches in height. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years and must be available for the duration of the exhibition. For complete details and entry form see

Photo 08

The annual open call photo show at Arlington Ellipse Gallery is fast approaching. Drop of work for judging by Tuesday, Jan. 29. For complete details and entry form, call 703-228-7710 or see