2024-07-13 9:50 AM

Themes Aplenty in Falls Church Arts’ All Member Show

Pete Corbino’s oil on canvas “Tallwood.” (Photo: Falls Church Arts)

The intriguing All Member Show is currently displayed at the Falls Church Arts gallery from June 15 to August 18. The exhibit will be held in two parts: submissions from members with last names from A-L are on view from June 15 to July 14, whereas submissions from artists with last names from M-Z will be on view from July 20 to August 18. The show covers works in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic, pastel, fused glass, oil, photography, and sculpture of various materials.

In such a show, members choose their best works, and sometimes unity between artworks is therefore lacking. What is special about this exhibit, however, is that one need not look far to find themes. One such theme is local scenery, exemplified by Pete Corbino’s oil on canvas “Tallwood,” a large, pleasant Falls Church house which was once owned by Mitton Eisenhower on East Broad St.. Yet many of the artists have journeyed farther afield, from the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i to the Grand Canyon, from the shores of Cape Cod to the Scottish Highlands.

For those who enjoy travel in summer, Jean Barrett’s “Moonrise on Kaua’i” (oil on board, but reminiscent of a photograph) captures the fluidity and magic of the ocean and the sky by night. This work is a beautiful showcase of a vast and clear blue sky that fades into a cloudy shroud, enveloping the moon as if two great hands had clutched it from below. The colors become almost ethereal and deeply enchanting, especially to the center right where purples and greens enter the mix. Below the gracious bands of clouds meet the great ocean as it rushes up the beach to meet us between the great stone cliffs left and right. For those who have not visited Hawaii, this majestic oil on board painting allows them to enjoy a bit of the islands as the surf and serenity of Hawaii is brought into the West Broad Street gallery.

In “Colors of the Cape,” Gretchen Damore has created in acrylic something not unlike the wild colors and flamboyant hues of Gauguin’s Polynesian paintings. Yet the setting is much closer to home—Cape Cod, Massachusetts! The artist explains that during midsummer, the sunset is such that it brings a special color palate to the coast of Cape Cod. The painting features a soft blue sky touched with glimmers of evening pink clouds as a church spire with cross and clock rises to the sky. Below this, rooftops aglow with the magnificent colors the artist has chosen to dapple the rest of the skyline.

In “Sky Meadows” by Anne Goaslind, we espy sets of leading lines. The central fence forms a sweeping “S” off into the distance as does the road in the upper left. In her exhibit card, the artist relates how much she enjoys traveling to places far enough from the hustle and bustle of urban life so that she may see the horizon. Her watercolor offers the viewer a “get-away” to a horizon before which are hills, farmhouses, and fences. Clouds dominate the sky above the horizon. This soft and dreamy work presents something of a children’s fairytale look, while nonetheless remaining dutifully faithful to realistic detail. The quaint barns and buildings bring the warm and inviting countryside to life.

Leaving behind the traveling theme, we go to paintings which play on classical and ancient narrative motifs. In “Flying with the Cranes,” a visual reenactment of Japanese mythology, artist Spoorti Dandridge paints with animated strokes that almost seem to move before the viewer’s eyes. A work rendered in oil with touches of crackled gold, Dandridge explains that the painting tells the story of a maiden who comes to earth from above riding on storks and becomes deeply in love with a man on earth, but conflict arises in the tale when our heroine confronts the reality that to be with her betrothed she must never return to her world. A fascinating use of “multimedia,” this painting offers the smooth and flowing nature of the cranes to the cracked portions which perhaps lend the maiden’s dress and the birds above.

We leave the world of Japanese mythology for the world of the Bible. Naomi Lipsky’s “Hineni” (The Prism), is a vibrant and skillfully crafted example of lithography. Above a rainbow of colors, we see the words “I am here” in Hebrew, the answer Abraham gave to God as he experienced the realization of monotheism.

Another theme to be found in the exhibit is nature: Gerda Lane’s oil painting “Delaware Marsh” and James Hengst’s photograph “Land of the Lost” of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley in New Zealand serve as admirable examples. There are also uniquely American themes, such as Jean Lauzon’s acrylic on canvas “Bison II,” which presents elements of the U.S. flag as well as “the diminishing size of the bison [to represent] the near extinction of this American symbol.”

Visitors attending the Falls Church Arts gallery All Members Exhibit would do well to explore these and other themes, prompted by the works of many skillful artists in our region. It is at 700-B West Broad St. (Route 7), Falls Church. Admission is free and the gallery is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Masks are optional.

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