Arts & Entertainment

Falls Church Arts Gallery Displays “Bits and Pieces”

The collection currently at Falls Church Arts Gallery is of “Bits and Pieces,” but the whole may hold much more for the visitor than the sum of its bits and pieces. Collage in all media is what ties together this mélange of creative artworks, with a decided emphasis on the modern side of things.

The titles themselves reflect this cleaving of different things in the aggregate: “Sisters Glass” by Kathryn Nelson, “Artichoke Pieces” by Jennifer Murphy, “Remains of the Day” by Robert Wiener, and—inevitably—“Bits and Pieces” by Molly McCracken. There is certainly great insight in the title of Steena Fullmer-Anderson’s recreation of a room in miniature: “Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.”

Maria Temoltzin’s watercolor “Otra Catrina en Cholula” depicts a scenic view of warm orange colored flowers centering a woman’s pale and gaunt ghostly face whose empty black eye sockets gaze towards the viewers, giving us a sense of unease with its death-like stare. Yet there is a warm aspect of the painting, for the figure is wearing an orange cloak over the head, indicating that the now skeletal face was once human. Behind the field of flowers, a mountain-like path ascends towards the temple of Cholula.

Perhaps this is whence the skeletal figure has come to spend the rest of eternity in a field of flowers. The title card by the artist is helpful in piecing together the narrative, with a quote which seems to be taken from the world of story and myth: “You were leaving a temple one day” and “you’ll even see the path of the Catrina from the temple of Cholula through the field of marigolds[…]”

Casey Wait’s “Wild One” displays a “majestic white tiger” in a forest setting using mixed media. Visible brushstrokes and saturated green and purple colors can be seen throughout the canvas, giving the image a wild look. Clear outlines of leaves and the shape of the tiger reveal themselves to the viewer while abstract colors and opaque shapes are in the background, rendering the tiger more prominent. The tiger seems to have leapt out of the art gallery’s previous “Wild” art exhibition and may suggest to the poetically inclined William Blake’s famous verse :
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful

James Hengst’s “Temple Arts and Industries” (Remix Series) brings the art of collage into the digital world by the merging of photographs of two well-known edifices: the Mormon (Latter-day Saints) Temple in Kensington, Maryland, and the Art and Industries Building in Washington, D.C. They have been combined digitally with a checkerboard-style grid. Although the two buildings have different architectural styles, the two unify surprisingly well—according to the title card: “the statue of Columbia atop the Arts and Industries building resembling a religious icon perched among the [LDS] temple spires […] to show or hide various elements in each image.”

Less clearly delineated are two abstract collages by Helen Power, “Light Within” and “Reaching.” Picking up the “bits and pieces” theme, she writes in the title card to “Light Within” that this artwork “represents a search for balance and rhythm. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and process while searching. I move between intuition and logic, chaos and order, combining fragments of thought, feeling, and memory. My abstract work illustrates this journey in a way that words can never do.”

This collection, or collage, as it were, of “Bits and Pieces” would seem to disprove the quote widely attributed to Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke that ““shattered people are best represented by bits and pieces.” “Bits and Pieces” can represent, in the words of artist Powers, a “search for balance and rhythm,” both for the artist and the viewer, and visitors to the Falls Church Arts Gallery can enjoy putting together the bits and pieces created in this exhibition in a way unique to themselves and their lives.

This exhibition of pictures for sale continues through January 8, 2023. For further information, please visit