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Prince George's artists explore their influences


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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Acquaetta Williams’ sculptures “Spare Change” and “Penny Man” loom large against an equally powerful backdrop of photographs, mixed-media silkscreen works in Harmony Hall’s “Under the Influence” exhibit.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Acquaetta Williams’ sculptures “Spare Change” and “Penny Man” loom large against an equally powerful backdrop of photographs, mixed-media silkscreen works in Harmony Hall’s “Under the Influence” exhibit.

Published on: Wednesday, November 28, 2012

By Wanda Jackson

Right away, juror, artist and Washington, D.C.,-based art critic F. Lennox Campello will tell you that the jury process for the current exhibit at Harmony Hall’s Art Gallery in Fort Washington “was an especially difficult show to put together.”

Why?

“Because there were so many powerful entries competing for limited wall space and because the vast majority of submissions reflected an amazing variety of genres, media, approaches, ideas and processes,” Campello explained.

“Under the Influence” at Harmony Hall Regional Center is the 24th Annual Prince George’s County juried exhibit.

The exhibit, which runs through Dec. 28, features photography, mixed-media, watercolor, sculpture, textiles and ceramics by artists 18 years and older who live, work, attend school or have studios in Prince George’s County.

The exhibit explores the idea that throughout the ages, artists have, at one point or another, experienced and incorporated into their work, social, political, aesthetic and even artistic influences that they consciously or subconsciously may have been exposed to.

In his juror’s statement, Campello points to several artists’ works.

“There was a mastery in painting such as Peter Ulrich’s breath-taking watercolors, each one a lesson on how the ability of watercolor to capture light and freshness simply sings at the hand of a master.

“Ellen Cornett’s powerful pastels take a mundane subject and then the artist adds an enthralling sense of the surreal to them.

“And, Charles A. Sessoms’ lusty photographs are a triumph of the human presence never-ending ability to engage, surprise and warm our mind and body,” Campello wrote.

Acquaetta Williams used clarinets, red oak, Poplar and Brazilian wood, steel, milk paint, and glass to create tower-like sculptures, called “Spare Change” and “Penny Man.”

Her work starts a conversation about “street musicians” and how if you put on a great show you could join the ranks of famous performers — Jimmy Buffett, Bob Hope and the founders of “Cirque du Soleil,” just to name a few who started out performing on the street.

On the other hand, Williams’ sculpture is a clear statement about “man’s humanity to man.”

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