Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

 'Kinetic Image'

Through February 24 at Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 North Union St., Alexandria). Gallery hours: Noon – 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. 703-838-4565×4, or see  

Visual artists traditionally deal with static imagery, therefore kinetic art shows are a fairly rare breed. The easy and cheap access to video gear has changed things a bit along the way, and will no doubt continue to do so, however even in that realm kinetic artists tend to be a tinkers lot.

Art pieces of this sort are often experimental and when combined with electronics or mechanisms, the equation often equals “learning experience.” That of course is a polite way of saying “subject to breakdowns, and similar flawed outcomes.” As a result you have to give this genre a little slack when the experiment runs amok. Similarly speaking, the normal crisp fit and finished gallery standards often get over looked in an expedient effort to simply get the art to work.

The Kinetic Image show currently up at Target Gallery certainly has its share of the above, but it's not all that way. The 16 pieces shown range from a selection of short videos, to the esoteric interactive sensor driven work. Kevin Curry's (Carbondale, Ill.) short film titled "><" is a simple, yet wry and insightful, commentary on human nature. Ironically using a static camera throughout, we see a road side directional arrow set against a rural farmland. A man walks up to the road sign wearing a giant vintage blinking arrow on his back. Going against the directional flow dictated by the road sign, he stops.

Looking around to to figure out the sign, and see what anybody else in the vicinity may be doing, or watching, he finally decides to continue traveling in his original direction. A few moments later he returns, this time going with the directional flow dictated by the road sign. Going solo against the traditional flow of things is a tough thing to do no matter how sure we are of ourselves.

Try as we may, we are pack animals that find comfort in community — even when no one else is around. Owen Mundy's (Tallahassee,Fla.) piece titled “Keyword Intervention” was awarded
best of show. Here we see a radiant circle of words (popular keyword on-line search terms) projected onto the floor of the gallery. The individual words fade in and out fairly quickly. It all seems to be a commentary on the ephemeral nature of mass media and what pop culture focuses on.

A clear standout here is Bradley Litwin's (Philadelphia, Pa.) mechanized piece titled “The Sway of Public Opinion.” Six disembodied cyclists pedal six unicycles around an undulating circular track six times every minute. Beautifully crafted out of dissimilar metals, and working in perfect harmony, the piece has a strangely hypnotic effect. Mesmerizing would be the best way to describe it.

Running on a three minute timer, Litwin semi-jokes that he did so to keep people from just standing there gawking at it. It's a magical piece that frankly is worth the trip to see all by itself.

No amateur at this kinetic art thing, Litwin has 10 videos of his work playing on YouTube. You can get a sense of “The Sway of Public Opinion” from the online video clip (, but as always the art work is much, much better in person.



Joka is the featured artist through March 15 at Art Whino (717 N. Saint Asaph St., Alexandria). The opening reception/party is this Friday night, February 22, from 6 p.m. – midnight. Normal gallery hours are Saturday and Sundays, noon – 5 p.m. For more information, call 703-462-4135, or see

As the name implies, Joka can be a fairly humorous guy at times. Thematic devices vary, but generally revolve around sex, raw meat, flies and a general sense of surrealism. To be sure it's not for everyone, and can at times be a tad too much for even the well-traveled art hound. Taking pointillism to an extreme, Joka paints these high quality images with toothpicks — and only toothpicks.

Also check out the photo transfers on collage works by Michelle Caplan. Very nice.

Artist Opportunities

'MODERN + DESIGN + FUNCTION' Call for Entries


Application deadline: Thursday, March 13. A rare local opportunity for budding furniture designers. The two D.C. Design Within Reach (DWR) stores are hosting this competition and show. Selected pieces must be ready to exhibit before the show opens in mid April.

You can send them concepts, but you'd better be ready to fabricate it in less than a month. Complete details and submission forms can be found at

Note: The top 50 Champagne Chair contest entries are making their local stop on their nationwide tour at the Adams Morgan DWR store this Monday, Feb. 25. Reception begins at 6:30 p.m. … with chocolate tasting from Biagio Chocolates no less.

'Art and Addiction' Call for Entries


Postmark deadline is March 1. Art dealing with addiction and recovery is sought for book publication by the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. For more information, call 443-287-3915, or see


FC Arts Spring Show


Falls Church Arts is seeking artists to participate in their big annual spring show opening at Don Beyer Volvo in Falls Church City March 28. Deadline for submissions is March 15. For complete details see


Can You Handle The Truth?


Zemfira Stage will hold auditions for “A Few Good Men” by Aaron Sorkin Wednesday & Thursday, March 5 & 6 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. Auditions and performances will take place at the Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria (201 South Washington Street, Alexandria). Rehearsals will take place primarily in Reston. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. While not required, a two minute monologue is encouraged. Actors are paid a stipend covering rehearsals and performances at the end of the run.

Performance dates are May 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31. For more information, contact the director, Zina Bleck, at or 703-615-6626.