2024-07-17 6:23 AM

Finding Themes, Technique, and Humor at the All Members Show

More than one hundred fifty-five artists are being presented in an All Member Show at the Falls Church Arts Gallery from April 22 to June 25. There is no one unifying theme, so it is left to the visitor to find an interesting thread while touring through the exhibition.  We noted in particular the preponderance of works with the theme of the beach and ocean; perhaps this is so as we now find ourselves on the cusp of summer.  These include Al Krachman’s “Kauai Wavecatcher” (digital photography of a surfing scene on the Hawaiian Islands), a watercolor of a lighthouse and beach by Jinling Elliott in far-away “Vashon Island, Washington,” and the watercolor “Breaking Free from Tradition,” this last painting described by its artist Noreen Brunini as “including a surreal vignette within the hour glass of a child finding fun and freedom at the beach.”

One beach painting in acrylic presages the summer season with two girls  (perhaps sisters) in summer dresses looking out at the sea and the wispy clouds across the sky in the top half of the painting. In the foreground, sand-dune fences lean leftwards, giving this picture a windy atmosphere with the girls’ hair tossed rightwards by the wind. With this breezy atmosphere, the viewer can anticipate in great excitement the upcoming summer season. Surprisingly, however, the artist Roxanne Kaylor calls this painting “Winter Beach,” and notes “this scene was captured in late December in Virginia Beach.”

Rajendra KC’s “St. James Church, Falls Church” is one of many pieces featured at the Falls Church Arts Gallery’s All Member Show (Photo: Rajendra KC)

Leaving seascapes and beach scenes behind, an unusual acrylic painting caught our eye in Dave Curtis’ “Vincent Van Escargot’s Slimy Night,” depicting a clever reimagining of the classic work “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh with a slimy twist. Rotating swirls indicate stars akin to the original work but, lo and behold! Below a massive snail fills the space once occupied by the small town in Van Gogh’s original. What was once a mountain is now the pinnacle of the snail trail. Wriggly and slimy or unique and new, the choice is left to the viewer. While Mr. Curtis offers a humorous take on Van Gogh’s famous masterwork, he at the same time pays tribute to the original Impressionist piece with a similar blue-and-yellow color palette as well as thoughtful details such as the matching number of stars. Differing starkly in theme from the original, here we note the snail’s body is shaped like a brain. 

With a similar touch of swirls as the Van Gogh-like starry painting above, a radically different color palette can be seen in Samantha Labe Fiddy’s “Color Me Glad.” Here a swirl of colorful drops (or drips?) akin to raindrops form a spiral leading the viewer’s eye downwards towards a monarch butterfly at left which sits upon an alizarin crimson flower.  Visible brushstrokes can be witnessed throughout the canvas, hinting at the multitudinous colors in nature.  Sunlight appears to glisten in the yellows of the painting, perhaps signifying hope and happiness.  

Roxanne Kaylor’s “Winter Beach.” (Photo: Roxanne Kaylor)

Moving past intriguing collages such as Nick Gatz’ mixed-media work presenting popular culture of “The 90’s” and Dennis D’Bayan’s acrylic on watercolor paper of “The Last Days” (referencing the Passion of Christ), we alight on Deborah Conn’s watercolor portrait of a woman in “The Way She Sees It.”  The artist told Falls Church News-Press of her painting: “I love to paint hands, and the expression on her face was terrific—a no-nonsense, kind of challenging look. I also enjoy a challenge, and the reflections and her hair were both a little of that.”

For those looking for local scenes, the City of Falls Church is represented in the timeless watercolors of  “St. James Church, Falls Church” by Rajendra KC and “Cherry Hill” by Brian Aburano.  Moving towards Arlington and Washington, D.C., photographer Daniel Horowitz captures in photography a crescent moon intersecting the U.S. Air Force Memorial in an image he likens by title to “Jacob’s Ladder.”

Whether one comes for an appreciation of technique or new vistas on nature and life, the All Members Show has something for everyone. We note in closing that the current All Member Show only covers submissions from members with last names starting from A-K!  Submissions from artists with last names from L-Z will be on view from May 27 to June 25, and we look forward to seeing more intriguing works of art in various media at that time.

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