By Mark Dreisonstok
A unique exhibition of artworks, “Collab: Conversations in Art,” is on display at the Falls Church Art Gallery. A perfect painting to emphasize the show’s theme of collaborations of two artists creating a single artwork can be found in “Have You Ever Noticed the Sunlight: The Barn at Cherry Hill.”
The right half of this canvas (executed by Lisa Green in oil) depicts a farmhouse painted in a somewhat Impressionist style with a blurred landscape and a tree overhead. Traditional color schemes are used to portray a blue sky, a brown roof and a wooden shed door.
The left side, however, by Maureen Minard in acrylic, is more modernistic in mode, portraying the remainder of the house in raw, vibrant colors with transparent walls through which are seen a yellow lamp and various shapes we presume to be furniture.
This left side of the painting also shows exaggerated and visible brushstrokes, drippings of paint on the house roof and shadowless forms such as the tree on the far left.
One of the exhibition’s most interesting works is “Abundance: Spring,” by Ruth Lozner and Kenzie Raulin, which depicts a flaring vegetable with many sprouting multi-colored flowers, springing out in all directions above ground. Literally popping out of the painting are additional fanned-out vegetables shaped like books.
Taking a closer look at the painting, musical notes on a staff can be seen almost translucent against the leaves. Underneath are scrambled letters which suggest viewers might do well to “unscramble” and put together their own meanings in the painting.
In “Look in Her Eyes” by Matthew Malone and Kurtis Ceppetelli, a female figure is depicted in deep thought as she stares to the right side of the painting with her left hand over her lip.
A consistent color palette is used with vibrant shades of blue, red and green. Undefined shapes are hinted at behind the blue paint.
At the left side of the girl, blue paint is seen dripping over red neon letters which spell out something undefined. Perhaps here is a lost thought or secret which lurks behind the blue drops of paint known only to the person within the portrait. The watercolor medium is generously represented in paintings by Bob Wentworth and Rajendra KC in “Blue Door and Chair” and “Rainbow Row, Charleston, SC,” the latter calling to mind the days of horse-drawn vehicles.
Other paintings in the exhibition include a Surrealist work by Samantha Van Heest and Nicole Ziesing, “Brand New!,” which presents three floating mattresses.
A maple syrup bottle can be seen emptying syrup onto these three mattresses. Although the objects appear to be floating lightly in the image, there is at the same time a sense of gravity with the downpour of the maple syrup.
“Flying” by Suzanne McIntire and Shannon Turkewitz depicts a montage in photography of an airplane flying above a boy looking up at the plane. Viewers might identify with the boy’s childlike wonder of looking up at the plane in amazement, perhaps thinking about his future summer travels, as he swings his right arm outwards as if waving the audience to come and look with him.
Here we should mention one aspect which makes this exhibition highly relatable for visitors to the Falls Church Art Gallery in July and August, namely: the many summer-themed paintings celebrating the season in which this exhibition finds itself. An example is Ruth Lozner and Kenzie Raulin’s “Abundance: Summer,” which features garden-like plants, water, and books, suggesting summer activities of gardening, water sports, and reading.
The summer theme is taken up again in the Expressionist “Summer Brew I,” in which Bob Tiemann and Rebecca Pelzer use acrylic and paint stick to come up with, according to the gallery card, “independent but compatible visions emphasizing line and color.”
Suzanne McIntire and Shannon Turkewitz have colored a photograph of two carnival-goers who have an amusement park ride “All to Themselves.” Then there is the ambiguous “Summer Noir,” in which Phil Rowe depicts monochrome faces in a crowd contrasting with Millie Jackson Rowe’s colorful painting of an abstract landscape.
There are more paintings to ponder, and enjoy than can possibly be discussed here. Visitors to the Falls Church Arts Gallery should explore for themselves the two invigorating themes of artistic collaboration and perspectives on summer in the “Collab: Conversations in Art” gallery show which runs through August 14. The Gallery is at 700-B W. Broad St, Falls Church. Hours are Tuesday — Friday, 11 a.m. — 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. — 4 p.m.