At face value, there’s an able group show at the Washington Project for the Arts, filled with work that ranges from the aesthetically pleasing, to the conceptual, and the socially relevant. A 55-color lithograph, “Ramble,” by Benjamin Edwards, is a dizzying map exploding with color and shape. Margaret Boozer’s “Red Dirt Print,” a four-foot square patch of dirt, re-contextualizes the ground beneath our feet into an aesthetic object to hang on the wall. Naoko Wowsugi’s “Thank You For Teaching Me English” presents several photographed portraits against high-key color backgrounds: people mouthing English words for the artist to learn (English is her second language).
This week’s Art Watch is all about an important center for the arts that most of you have never been to. The Delaware Contemporary, or DCCA, is a fascinating art center with ever-changing art installations that is located just 24 minutes from Longwood Gardens, and is free to the public and open every day except Monday.
DCCA has a large parking lot, is easy to get to from I-95 or down Route 52, and offers a safe, light-filled, airy space full of new art to nudge the senses. Such a cool place, and most of us have never been there! Artists often sigh that there are not enough places that show contemporary art (that is, art that shows a new take on what’s going on in the world around us), but sigh no more because we have DCCA.
Amber Robles-Gordon’s “When a Honey Is Looking Just Right,”
East of the River
Although it doesn’t attempt to be comprehensive, Honfleur Gallery’s annual “East of the River Exhibition” usually offers a broad survey. This year brings a tighter focus, with only three contributors. Both Sheila Crider and Amber Robles-Gordon work with fabric and found objects. The art of painter Asha Elena Casey is less closely related, but she does inscribe textile-like patterns into thickly applied, mostly black-and-white pigment.
A view of the exhibitionÂ "i found god in myself," with works inspired by the choreopoems of Ntozake Shange's play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf." The show is on view at the Houston Museum of African American Culture through April 15.
often wonder how these times will be remembered. What will future generations learn from this moment? Which stories will historians archive? What experiences will be forgotten? Watching the insanity of this election cycle has confirmed for me the importance of knowing histories; not just your own, but the distant and contemporary, local and international happenings that have shaped our present.
The rhetoric employed by the extreme wings of the GOP has empowered and emboldened embarrassingly inaccurate and flatly supremacist depictions of American history. Slogans like “Make America Great Again” assume that the growth of America’s empire occurred without the toil of immigrants, people transported by force, or those who relocated in the hopes of accessing the freedoms of democracy.
A recent poll released by Reuters revealed that 38% percent of American voters continue to support the GOP’s candidate despite his blatant disregard for anyone other than white men and general dismissal of fact-based platforms. I dare not try to understand the irrational reasoning of deplorables, but urge critical thinking voters to remember the whole and diverse contributions that sustain America. Lest we forget all those that came before us, live among us– the laboring bodies that support the world.
The exhibition titled Lest We Forget curated by Deirdre Darden and Jarvis DuBois at Galerie Myrtis interrogates a legacy of historical cultural bias; the conceptions that determine a story’s archivism or omission from history. Artists Wesley Clark, Larry Cook, Shaunte Gates, Jamea Richmonds-Edwards, Amber Robles-Gordon, and Stan Squirewell, collectively known as Delusions of Grandeur, and Delita Martin all contribute their own reflections about forgotten experiences in order to build a richer, more inclusive, and more accurate vision of history.
When “i found god in myself: the 40th anniversary for Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls” exhibit premiered, Shange herself attended to view the 20 original works curated by Peter “Souleo” Wright.
By then, she had suffered two strokes and was in a wheelchair. But when she saw the life-size portrait of herself by painter Margaret Rose Vendryes, Shange tried to get out of her wheelchair to show how the tattoos on her body perfectly matched the ones in the painting.
Coinciding with the organization’s one-year anniversary, Otis Street Arts Project recently unveiled its newest exhibition The Critiqued featuring works by thirteen area artists. Artists on display have all participated in the Project’s Critique program, an ongoing series of critical dialogues open to the public and facilitated by area arts professionals. Several of the finished pieces on display in this current exhibition were shown and discussed in unfinished states during those earlier peer reviews, giving audience members a unique perspective into the artists’ thought processes as they work to determine when a work is indeed finished.
Robles-Gordon cobbles together sculptures and canvas collages from scraps of paper and fabric she finds in the neighborhood’s trash cans and storefront windows. She’s shown her work at the Honfleur Gallery. Right now, she has a striking wire and fabric mesh artwork on view near the Deanwood Metro stop.
But as ARCH Development Corporation continues to expand its constellation of arts destinations in Anacostia—the latest is the Anacostia Arts Center on Good Hope Road SE—Robles-Gordon wonders if her neighborhood will still have room for her.
There’s a tendency to see Anacostia, long on talent and struggle but short on just about everything else, as a blank canvas. With the right kinds of art and advertising, the thinking goes, Anacostia can become a hub for the creative class. But who gets left out?
Delusions of Grandeur seems about right for the name of an artists’ collective showing in a hole in the wall in Brentwood.
Located on the second floor of the Gateway Arts Center, the 39th Street Gallery is a 450-square-foot box that has been known to put on pretty cool little shows, including a recent micro-retrospective of the great D.C. painter Manon Cleary, who died last year. But the National Gallery of Art it is not.