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Depeche Art – October 2017

Charlene Nield, “Loretta: Pinstripes.” Acrylic, 30 x 22 inches. Image: Foundry Gallery

Foundry Gallery
Artists Ann Pickett and Charlene Nield collaborate on a joint body of work entitled “The Usual Suspects.” They seek to draw the viewer away from political figures who stereotype what many consider to be Washington’s people of interest. Instead, the artists offer a series of paintings representing their own cast of characters.

Both artists present individual and joint works with an emphasis on the figure. Nield’s work “provides an eclectic and intricate sampling of her representational style. Colorful figures, rich with texture, bring whimsy and joy to the banality of everyday life,” while Pickett’s “loose figurative style dances across her works, creating the impression of figure and form through line, shape and color, compelling the viewer to leave rigidity behind and move in concert, freely and entirely.” The joint effort offers the viewer an opportunity to discover where one artist’s work ends and the other’s begins.

Gallery Neptune & Brown
Gallery Neptune & Brown presents the work of David X Levine, who was born in Boston in 1962 and has been drawing full-time since 1998. Levine uses colored pencils to create drawings in a variety of sizes, small and large (“intimate” and “monumental” according to the gallery), with subject matter that blends popular culture with more traditional subject matter.

Levine explains, “It is both meditative and physical to create lush surfaces with colored pencils.” In “Giotto,” Levine’s palette references work from Italian painter Giotto di Bondone, known for his breakthrough paintings in Florence during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Adding contemporary flair, Levine also integrates pop art, including 1960s-era bright acids, into his work. 

Hamiltonian’s annual group exhibition “new. now” introduces the gallery’s newest fellows through a collaborative exhibition. This year’s group includes the following artists: Heather Theresa Clark, Patrick Harkin, Antonio McAfee, Helina Metaferia, and Ellen (Jing) Xu. Two from this group, Patrick Harkin and Ellen (Jing) Xu, bring new approaches to installation work.

Florida native Patrick Harkin grew up with hurricane preparation as a seasonal routine. The normalization of this experience in addition to witnessing the devastation wrought by tropical cyclones informs the artist’s work. Harkin’s installations refashion materials used in advance of hurricanes to protect property and the debris created in the aftermath. His work addresses the building, destruction, and rebuilding phases associated with these natural events. Like those who anticipate hurricane season through preparedness, Harkin’s work struggles to contain air and water, wind and flooding. However, the inevitability of the rising sea level, which threatens the flood plains of Florida, also makes its presence known in his work. Ultimately, the artist seeks to redefine the way we look at images. By taking consumer materials used for hurricane preparedness and the detritus created after the storm, Harkin challenges us to rethink of how we look at objects visually.

Installation view of recent work by Ellen (Jing) Xu. Photo: Ellen (Jing) Xu, courtesy Hamiltonian Gallery

Ellen (Jing) Xu’s work represents an outward manifestation of some of her innermost thoughts, through which she creates an outward public dialogue about her desire to reflect upon her own identity. Xu’s site-specific installations bend the perception of reality by combining a variety of media including painting, sculpture, and video to convey private thoughts to a public unversed in the artist’s inner life. Xu hopes that “the humble, honest manner of sharing the work serves viewers by opening up similar opportunities for reverie.” While philosopher Rene Descartes may have famously written, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am), for Xu, if one thinks it (or dreams it), it must actually exist.

The curation of Linling Lu’s current exhibition on view at Hemphill Fine Arts masterfully displays her series of concentric circles, “One Hundred Melodies of Solitude.” Circles have always held a certain mystery and have captured the imagination of artists for hundreds of years. The formula for calculating the area of a circle is A = πr², a formula known by civilizations as ancient as the Egyptians and the Mayans. Pi (π) is an irrational number with a decimal notation that continues without end. Linling Lu’s circles capture that sense of infinity and wonder through the deft understanding of color theory. Her works dazzle the viewer and render a complicated mathematical concept simple and revelatory.


Dana Brotman, “Woman with a Hat.” Image: Touchstone Gallery

The title of Dana Brotman’s new series of works, “Beg Borrow + Steal: Works on Cardboard,” aptly describes the intention of the artist’s solo exhibition. Brotman uses discarded items to create her paintings, and borrows subject matter from found and reused materials. The artist quotes from Picasso’s “Family of Saltimbanques,” Klimt’s yellow veil, and photos of Aretha Franklin. She uses that which we discard in our consumer culture such as iPhone packaging, boxes to ship Amazon orders, and cheap frames consigned to thrift stores. Brotman weaves the past with the present and captures the portraits of people, real or imagined, using unnoticed, unwanted, and discarded materials to witness the importance of life’s passage.

Exhibitions on View
Charles Krause Reporting Fine Art
NEW LOCATION: Dacha Loft Building
1602 Seventh St. NW, Second Floor
202-638-3612 | www.charleskrausereporting.com
Hours: Weekends, 1-6 p.m.
Exhibition schedule TBD

Gallery Neptune & Brown
1530 14th St. NW
202-986-1200 | www.neptunefineart.com
Hours: Wed. to Sat., noon to 7 p.m. | Sun., 1-4 p.m.
Through Nov. 18
David X Levine, “Painting with Pencils”
Opening reception: Sat., Oct. 14, 5-7 p.m.

Foundry Gallery
2118 Eighth St. NW
202-232-0203 | www.foundrygallery.org
Hours: Wed. to Sun., 1-7 p.m.
Through Oct. 29
Charlene Nield and Ann Pickett, “The Usual Suspects”

Hamiltonian Gallery
1353 U St. NW
202-332-1116 | www.hamiltoniangallery.com
Hours: Tues. to Sat., noon to 6 p.m.
Through Nov. 4
Heather Theresa Clark, Patrick Harkin, Antonio McAfee, Helina Metaferia, Ellen (Jing) Xu, “new. now. 2017”

Hemphill Fine Arts
1515 14th St. NW
202-234-5601 | www.hemphillfinearts.com
Hours: Tues. to Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Through December
Lingling Lu, “One Hundred Melodies of Solitude”

Long View Gallery
1234 Ninth St. NW
202-232-4788 | www.longviewgallerydc.com
Hours: Wed. to Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Through Nov. 12
Sondra Arkin, “What You See Is All There Is”
Opening reception: Thurs., Oct. 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Artist talk: Tues., Nov. 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Touchstone Gallery
901 New York Ave. NW
202-347-2787 | www.touchstonegallery.com
Hours: Wed. to Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. | Weekends, noon to 5 p.m.
Through Oct. 29
Gallery A & B: “COLORFEST” mixed-media group exhibition created by 50 Touchstone Gallery artist members
Gallery C: Dana Brotman, “Beg Borrow + Steal: Works on Cardboard”


Phil Hutinet is the publisher of East City Art, dedicated to DC’s visual arts. For more information visit www.eastcityart.com.

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