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Free Space art exhibit invites audience to become artists

Jackie Hoystead’s ‘MixMatchV3’ at Betty Mae Kramer Gallery in Silver Spring. COURTESY PHOTOJackie Hoystead’s ‘MixMatchV3’ at Betty Mae Kramer Gallery in Silver Spring. COURTESY PHOTO  No two visits to “Free Space,” an interactive art exhibit at Silver Spring’s Betty Mae Kramer Gallery, are the same.

Each time a visitor walks into the eight-year-old gallery and looks at a piece like “MixMatchV3” by artist Jackie Hoystead, it is unlikely that the 780 acrylic discs velcroed to four different 4-foot-by-40-inch PVC panels will remain unchanged.

The constant transformation is not due to Hoystead being a finicky perfectionist constantly changing her work, but rather to the audience. She invites the viewers to alter the piece according to their own whims, to create their own patterns and designs.

“I think people don’t spend a lot of time looking at artwork anymore,” said Hoystead. “They come into an exhibition, and they think it’s daunting. But by integrating the audience into your work, they spend more time with it. They think about it, and they have a say in the artwork."

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Takoma Park artist Clara Cornelius turns ruins into art

 

Local artist Clara Cornelius showcases her outdoor exhibit “Caesura Obscura” at the Pump House Pop-Up in Takoma Park.  PHOTO BY MATT HOOKELocal artist Clara Cornelius showcases her outdoor exhibit “Caesura Obscura” at the Pump House Pop-Up in Takoma Park. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  TAKOMA PARK — Local artist Clara Cornelius transformed the stone ruins of an old Takoma Park garage into a wonderland Sunday afternoon as she debuted her outdoor exhibit “Caesura Obscura,” a collection of cloth banners at the Pump House Pop-Up on Hilltop Road in Takoma Park. Children viewed the site with amazement, as they ran through the cloth tapestries with abandon while a drum circle played behind them.

The cloth featured bright shades of blue, green, and red to help the art standout in the beige ruin. Cornelius would take photos of everyday objects, like sidewalk cracks, leaves, and signposts, and create patterns out of them that she would transfer to the cloth banners. Cornelius also used digitized cut-paper shapes for some pieces.

A big inspiration for the Takoma Park resident is transient moments, like puddles in the sidewalk or raindrops on a windowsill, since those moments will never be experienced in the same way again.

Cornelius encouraged people to get involved in art, laying out an activity called “magic carpets.” In this activity, people cut out paper shapes and add them to a large banner, so they form a new piece of art at the end of the exhibition.

“I like for there to be an immersive element or an engagement, where they can be part of it or build into it or touch it or feel it, then have some way to have some self-expression so they can respond to the thing they have just seen,” Cornelius said.

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Silhouettes are an outline of an ancient art form renewed

Partially three-dimensional maypole dance by a contemporary artist is a part of an exhibit on silhouettes currently featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTOPartially three-dimensional maypole dance by a contemporary artist is a part of an exhibit on silhouettes currently featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO  Silhouettes have been around since ancient times – think of those shadowy figures on Grecian urns.

But it was in the 19th century that the art form of cut-paper profiles took on new life. “They were a hugely popular and democratizing form of portraiture, offering virtually instantaneous likenesses of everyone,” said Asma Naeem, curator of an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery devoted to silhouettes.

“Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” reveals the complexities of an art form that was once ubiquitous but is little known today, Naeem added.

The exhibit explores the historical roots of silhouettes and contemporary iterations.

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Exhibit pays tribute to laborers with extraordinary art

Woman Cleaning Shower“Woman Cleaning Shower” by Ramiro Gomez from National Portrait Gallery exhibit on work. COURTESY PHOTO  “The Sweat of their Face: Portraying American Workers,” an exhibit on view at the National Portrait Gallery, contains well-known, even iconic, images.

These include “Power House Mechanic,” a black-and-white photograph by Lewis Hine; “The Miner,” an oil painting by Pat Lyon; “American Gothic,” by Gordon Parks, oil on beaver wood; “Mine America’s Coal,” by Norman Rockwell, “Cotton Pickers,” oil, by Winslow Homer, and “Migrant Mother,” a print by Dorothea Lange.

Other images are less known and even surprising, such as daguerreotypes by Joseph T. Zealy of semi-dressed slaves. Richard Avedon, best known for his work with celebrities and fashion icons, portrays migrant workers in a series of photographs.

But co-curators Dorothy Moss and David C. Ward are hoping that regardless of the individual images, viewers understand the exhibit’s goal.

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Fringe festival has enough for everyone to find a niche of pure fun

Only five more days remain in the vast, multifaceted, and overwhelming (in a good sense) Capital Fringe Festival 2017.

Though only in its 12th year, the annual event founded by artist and community organizer Julianne Brienza seems to have been around forever.

Its goal according to the web site, is “expanding audiences’ appetites for independent, Fringe theatre, music, art, dance, and unclassifiable forms of live performance and visual art – and serving as a catalyst for cultural and community development.”

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Plath and Dietrich take a new turn in the limelight

Marlene DietrichMarlene Dietrich. COURTESY PHOTO  The two women couldn’t have been more different.

Marlene Dietrich was an internationally known movie star who radiated sexual magnetism. She was also unapologetically androgynous and bisexual, at a time neither was openly accepted. A married woman whose list of lovers seemed endless, Dietrich was defeated only by aging, which made a dent in her prodigious selfconfidence.

Sylvia Plath was a shy but influential poet and novelist. While she captured the public imagination of other artists and lovers of her art forms and won a Pulitzer Prize, she never became the household name Dietrich was. Plath is also known for her turbulent relationship with husband and fellow poet Ted Hughes. After several bouts of depression and suicide attempts (possibly due to bipolar disorder), Plath took her own life at the age of 30.

Dietrich and Plath are now posthumously “sharing the same space,” in exhibitions dedicated to them at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

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Center Stage: Bill Viola’s art slows time to create mindful contemplation

Bill Violas The Fall into ParadisePerformers John Hay and Sarah Steben take part in Bill Viola's video art piece "The Fall into Paradise," part of his exhibit "The Moving Portrait" now featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO

WASHINGTON D.C. — Moving pictures meet portraiture. Video, a popular media form used for almost any purpose, is rarely utilized for slow, perceptual contemplation often achieved in paintings or music.

Bill Viola’s work “The Moving Portrait” does exactly that. His work is more akin to portraiture rather than narrative stories often seen in video. His work focuses on facial language and slow-motion to allow a calmer, meditative attention to his footage.

These videos focus on the physical actions of his subjects rather than the promise of a narrative climax or conclusion to maintain interest. Examples include “The Raft”, a high-definition video projection of nineteen people suddenly hit by a high-pressure stream of water.

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Bethesda business hosts ‘A Toast to Art’ showcase

BETHESDA — Two entrepreneurs held an open house art exhibit in their own Bethesda office entitled “A Toast to Art” on Tuesday.

Sean Saidi and Sabine Roy helm Saidi-Roy Associates, or SR/A, a private business that is partly architectural and partly interior design.

SR/A is contracted to design new multifamily homes and renovate old ones in the area. Saidi and Roy’s art exhibit showcases local work from artists they know personally.

“We talk to local artists to help Bethesda because there’s not enough exhibits, and the ones available are very expensive,” said Saidi.

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BlackRock features political and social art of local artists

blackrockOne of the artworks presented at BlackRock. PHOTO BY REECE LINDENMAYER  

GERMANTOWN — The BlackRock Center for the Arts opened their first day of the year with an art exhibit featuring the work of three local artists.

In the Kay Gallery, the work of Linda Colsh and Julia Dzikiewicz is on display. Colsh’s work, entitled “Seeing the Unseen” focuses on elderly subjects, whom she believes are marginalized in society.

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