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Gateway artists unite


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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Laurie Breen’s still life “Bouquet d’hiver,” a 24-by-24-inch mixed media work, is priced at $950.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Laurie Breen’s still life “Bouquet d’hiver,” a 24-by-24-inch mixed media work, is priced at $950.

Published on: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

An edgy, new art exhibition at the ArtWorks Studio School in Mount Rainier features paintings and sculpture by 15 artists from Gateway Community Development Corporation studios at the EZ Storage Building and the Gateway Arts Center along U.S. Route 1.

“We the Artists,” which runs through March 9, is being presented by artmatters, the gallery project of ArtWorks Studio School and the Gateway CDC.

Gateway CDC is a non-profit organization that “drives economic revitalization along the U.S. Route 1 Corridor through business and neighborhood development initiatives including promotion of the arts as a community building strategy” in Brentwood, North Brentwood and Mount Rainier.

The exhibition features contemporary and traditional works in a variety of mediums including acrylic on paper, canvas or wood, oil on linen, digital photography, collage, mixed media and sculpture. It includes abstracts, portraits and still lifes.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. In her 18-by-24-inch oil on linen portrait, “Preacher Desi,” artist Annie Compton displays remarkable technical skill. The work is priced at $600.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. In her 18-by-24-inch oil on linen portrait, “Preacher Desi,” artist Annie Compton displays remarkable technical skill. The work is priced at $600.

The artists — some established, others still experimental — whose works are featured in the exhibition are: Laurie Breen, Tom Cardarella, Annie Compton, Melissa Glasser, Tom Hill, Wayson R. Jones, John Paradiso, Charles Reiher, Shahin Shikhaliyev, Ann Stoddard, Valerie Theberge, Linda Uphoff, Denise Wamaling, Mark Wamaling and Valerie Watson.

They express themselves boldly and surprise onlookers while exploring themes that range from celebrating the human spirit, masculinity and femininity to religion, and still life works filled with signs of hospitality, and celebrations of the seasons and of life.

Breen, whose studio is in the Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood, described her work as “a personal journey of discovery.” 

Breen said that she starts with a general concept and then works “directly with the piece to facilitate the release of its own truth.”

“I enjoy the process of drawing and painting, making marks, putting down new layers over old, leaving pieces of the original layers showing through. The multiple approaches on this path are visible in the final piece, giving it a depth and complexity it would not otherwise have.

“Much like in our own lives we are the accumulation of the steps we take both right and wrong, it is the journey and the process which creates meaning,” Breen said.

In his artist statement, Hill described his works as “stories that project beyond a linear narrative” to provoke a reaction. Viewers might see layers of bright, lurid colors mixed with glitter, images from mainstream advertising, elements of “gay male erotica and words that evoke a cheap approximation of poetry.”

“The studio continues to be the place where I feel most at home … a learning laboratory where I can launch ideas, test equations and attempt to create magic,” said Hill, whose studio is in the EZ Storage Building in Brentwood.

“We the Artists” is an opportunity to view a wide range of artistic styles and mediums and the work of talented artists in studios along the U.S. Route 1 Corridor.

ArtWorks Studio School is located at 3711 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier. For directions and exhibit information, visit artworksnow.org and call 301-454-0808.

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