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Friday, April 19, 2024

Depeche Art

‘Washingtonian Mural’ Refurbished
On July 17, Sign of the Times Cultural Workshop & Gallery and U-Store Management Inc. unveiled the newly refurbished “Washingtonian Mural” painted in 1989 by Alex Matteron and restored in 2018 by Jerome Johnson and his team. Located on the side of a self-storage building on New York Avenue NE, just beyond the overpass, the mural looks west toward NoMA’s glass and steel high-rises. It celebrates renowned DC-native musicians Marvin Gaye, Denyce Graves, Roberta Flack and Davey Yarborough.

The contrast between old Washington (the mural) and new Washington (NoMa) could not be starker as the city’s musical legends, who harken to a bygone era, seemingly watch the unrelenting development across the Amtrak marshalling yards.

Supported by a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the owners of the U-Store self-storage company, the mural restoration came about through the efforts of James L. Greggs, executive director of Sign of the Times Cultural Workshop & Gallery. Underscoring the importance of the mural, Greggs said, “Young people need to be proud not just every February.” Artist Jerome Johnson added that “working on such a project is a dream come true for most two-dimensional artists.”

Nicole Hamam, “Waste Not.” Photo: Nancee Lyons

Department of Public Works
This summer, DC residents will have the opportunity to see 15 city recycling trucks adorned with the works of local artists. Each week, starting in July, through September 6, the city will put two newly “wrapped” recycling trucks into service. The initiative began in 2015 in a joint interagency effort between the Department of Public Works and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to promote recycling while supporting local artists. “Through the Design to Recycle project, we are able to support and showcase the talent of our local artists, further enhance the visibility of the city’s recycling efforts and add to the creative landscape of the District in all eight wards,” said Angie Gates, interim director for the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which provides funding for the project.

A public call this winter resulted in the selection of the following 15 artists and their designs: “Waste Not” by Nicole Hamam (see photo); “Recycle Now” by Michael Marshall Design; “Urban Jungle” by Jackie Coleman; “Nurturing Nature” by Kofi Tyus; “Untitled” by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann; “Untitled” by Dean Kessman; “Recycled Fish” by Carly Rounds; “Evolution with an ‘R,’” by Gordon Steve Spencer Davis II; “Mapping” by Santiago Flores-Charneco; “Inform, Reduce, Recycle” by Minsoo Kang and Andre Sanchez-Montoya; “Untitled” by Anne Masters; “Pop District” by Sarah, James and Parvina Gilliam; “Recycled Flowers” by Jon Gann; “Nuestra Tierra I Recycle DC” by Nicolas F. Shi; and “Fair Card Value” by Michael Crossett.

Malgorzata Jablonska, “I was 11.” Bark and Plexiglas, 47 x 23 x 8 inches. Image: Foundry Gallery

Foundry Gallery
Polish artist Malgorzata Jablonska has exhibited extensively in Poland, Germany, Russia, Portugal, England, Austria and Italy. Foundry Gallery invited Jablonska to present her first solo exhibition in the United States this summer. In “Imprints of Reality” Jablonska has created a series of sculptures, or masks, which seek to manifest unconscious influences a person stores in memory when encountering strangers. While masks have long been used to convey a wide range of expression including religious ritual, hiding one’s identity or for theatrical stagecraft, Jablonska’s masks materialize subconscious imagery, emotions and memories. The masks express a sense of fragility and ephemerality as they reveal fleeting slivers of the subconscious. The materials themselves are, according to Jablonska, “volatile, delicate, barely visible, openwork. This uneven structure reflects the idea of both elusiveness and self-image. A human being who is at the center of change and cannot see it, physically or mentally.”

Yuki Hiyama, “No. 1715.” Acrylic and oil bar on canvas, 1,000 x 727 mm. Image: Touchstone Gallery

“Delicate” aptly describes the figurative works that the artist shaped out of material such as bark and felt and then compressed with Plexiglas. The effect gives a museum-like feel, as though each work is an archeological find from the subconscious mind.

Touchstone Gallery
Touchstone Gallery presents Japanese artist Yuki Hiyama’s second US solo exhibition, “Journey to Yuki’s World.” Having sustained a brain injury at birth, the artist used art as a means to communicate with others. Now 40 years of age, the artist continues to refine her visual expression through painting, mostly on canvas, using mixed media including oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, oil stick and pastel.

Hiyama describes her work as “raw art” (“art brut” in French), a term coined by French painter Jean Dubuffet, which he defined as “works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere …” Such works, “because of these very facts, [are] more precious than the productions of professionals.” Hiyama’s brightly colored “raw art” creates new forms derived from hiragana and kanji characters as well as figurative subjects and numerals.

This Month in the Galleries
Sign of the Times Cultural Workshop and Gallery
605 56th St. NE
202-399-3400 | www.signofthetimesartcenter.org

Gallery Neptune & Brown
1530 14th St. NW
202-986-1200 | www.neptunefineart.com
Hours: Wed. to Sat., 12-7 p.m.
August programming TBD

Foundry Gallery
2118 Eighth St. NW
202-232-0203 | www.foundrygallery.org
Hours: Wed. to Sun., 1-7 p.m.
Through Sept. 2
Malgorzata Jablonska, “Imprints of Reality”

Hamiltonian Gallery
1353 U St. NW
202-332-1116 | www.hamiltoniangallery.com
Hours: Tues. to Sat., 12-6 p.m.
Through Aug. 11
Rives Wiley, “How to Be Photo-Synthetic,” and Ellen Xu, “Chimerical”

Hemphill Fine Arts
1515 14th St. NW
202-234-5601 | www.hemphillfinearts.com
Hours: Tues. to Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
August hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Through Aug. 10
Tommy Bobo, James Huckenpahler and Rachel Schmidt,CMD+F”

Long View Gallery
1234 Ninth St. NW
202-232-4788 | www.longviewgallerydc.com
Hours: Wed. to Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Through Aug. 12
Group exhibition “ReFresh VIII” (featuring new work by gallery favorites)

Touchstone Gallery
901 New York Ave. NW
202-347-2787 | www.touchstonegallery.com
Hours: Wed. to Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. | Weekends, 12-5 p.m.
Through Aug. 31
Yuki Hiyama, “Journey to Yuki’s World”


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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