Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

With the holidays bearing down on us, it’s time to list some of the open studio events, and small works shows around town.


Nancy Sausser’ “Couplet,” ceramic, 14”x9”x2”, 2009

Seasonal Shindigs

Going Postal 2009, at the Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory (105 North Union St., Alexandria). The exhibit runs from Thursday, Dec. 3 – Sunday, Dec. 6.  The gallery is open everyday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9 p.m. For more details, call 703-838-4565 ext. 4, or visit

Several hundred postcard sized art works will be on display for this three-day quickie show. The works will be on view in art bins for some time after the show comes down. The opening reception is this Thursday, 6 – 9 p.m.

Shaun Van Steyn photography and Liz Day paintings, at Art & Frame of Falls Church (111 Park Ave., Falls Church). The exhibit runs throughout December. The opening reception is this Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 – 8 p.m. An artist talk will be held at 7:15 p.m., all part of the regular monthly FIRSTfriday in Falls Church events.

FCA Holiday Market, at the Farmers Market (300 Park Ave., Falls Church). The Saturday farmers market runs from 8 a.m. – noon. Falls Church Arts will be showing works by artists in the area. The dates are Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

The NEPTUNE Gallery Artist Marketplace, at Gallery Neptune (5001 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, Md.). The marketplace runs  through Dec. 20. The gallery is open weekly by appointment, and on Fridays and Saturdays from noon – 5 p.m. For more details, call 301-718-0809 or visit

This is the best small works show I’ve seen so far. Neptune has 10 artists in this one, each with their own wall space, not unlike Artomatic. The work shown is interesting and of high quality, two features not always seen in small works shows. Check out their Web site for special events.

Open Studios, at the Jackson Art Center (3048 ½ R St. NW, Washington, D.C.). Well over 40 artists have their studio space here, and will be showing their work, in their own work spaces. The studios run from noon – 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6.

WPA Icebox, at the Washington Project for the Arts (2023 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.). The event starts this Friday, Dec. 4, and runs through Dec. 21.

Twenty local WPA members will be showing their small works in this show. Works are priced from $4 – 250 (most under $100, many under $25). The opening night is this Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 – 8 p.m., and closing night is Dec. 21, from 6 – 8 p.m. The gallery space is otherwise limited to normal office hours, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., or by appointment.

Pointed Perspective

Doug Moulden – The Empty Landscape, Sharon Fishel and Nancy Sausser – Small Worlds, at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) (12001 Market Street, Suite 103, Reston). The exhibit runs through Dec. 23. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more details, call 703-471-9242 or visit



Sausser’s “Each One to the Other,” ceramic, 60”x60”x4”, 2009

Doug Moulden’s work makes up one of three focus exhibitions at GRACE. It’s difficult to pigeon hole Moulden’s work. Esthetically speaking, it’s akin to pointillism and needle point.

Working on shaped plywood forms, Moulden weaves a network of intricate lines applied with syringes loaded with acrylic paint. Working with one color mixture at a time, Moulden’s back and forth weavings also recall cross hatched drawing skills.

Dealing mainly with paintings of trees, Moulden uses a variety of focal ranges in the 18 pieces on view here. Some images read at say eight to 10 feet away, while others never seem to come fully into focus, no matter how far away from them you get. The fuzzier images such as (Abstraction I, II, and III) seem more resolved, and more true to the pointillist notion of color mixing within the viewer’s eye and brain.

Sharon Fishel provides us with a series of small, fairly loose botanical paintings of canoe shaped foliage, which play well off Nancy Sausser’s often pod-shaped ceramic pieces.

While Fishel’s paintings appear to be fairly literal compositions, Sausser’s canoe-shaped ceramics are clearly metaphoric in nature. They seem transitory vessels to be birthed from the soul, or to transport it to the next realm.

Sausser’s large assemblage titled “Each to the Other” is a ceramic collection of petri dish-like containers. While each dish seems subtly different from the next, the contents are alike within each container. Try as we might to mix it up, we are hard-wired to seek the company of people similar to ourselves. As such, Sausser’s piece seems the perfect metaphor for that ever so human quality.