VisArts at Rockville Blog

VisArts Resident Artists in the News


Nanette Bevan and Jane Hartman and have been selected to be included in National Capitol Art Glass Guild's (NCAGG) upcoming juried glass exhibition, The Secret Life of Glass, to be held at Glenview Mansion from Sunday, March 30 through April 27.

Opening Reception: Sunday, March 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

NCAGG organizes a juried show titled "The Secret Life of Glass" at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in Rockville, MD. The show is juried by Giselle Huberman, President of the James Renwick Alliance and collector of contemporary glass, wood and ceramic art, Susan Klauk, former Director of the Arts Afire Gallery, and Julie Farrell, Director of the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery. The exhibition will showcase about 120 works of glass art by NCAGG members and also includes "The Secret Life of Glass Artists", a smaller exhibition that celebrates creativity and inspiration by bringing a glass artist's studio to the Glenview Mansion. http://www.ncagg.org/show.htm

Glenview Mansion Art Gallery
Rockville Civic Center Park
603 Edmonston Dr
Rockville, MD 20851

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Gathering Branches: Xiaosheng Bi - Discovering a Porcelain Garden

The Gathering Branches blog recently did a great piece on Xiaosheng Bi.  The following is an excerpt from that post.  You can read the entire post by clicking on the link at the bottom of the post.


I don't know about you, but I have a weakness for glass in its myriad forms. I love how the light reflects off of it and how color is so deep and shallow and layered all at the same time. And I like how it feels to the skin: cold, smooth, hard.

When I get in my glass revelry, I usually don't think of ceramics. While I love a good turquoise or cobalt blue glaze, things fired in a kiln and made of dirt fill a different spot in my mind. I generally think of them in terms of "texture".

Xiaosheng Bi desk detail

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In Limbo

The Washington Post
Published Sunday, February 9th, 2014 in The Washington Post print edition and online at www.washingtonpost.com

By: Mark Jenkins, Freelance Writer

There are plentiful ways to make an art print, which almost guarantees diversity in a survey such as “Hoi Polloi,” whose title is Greek for “the many.” But the exhibition, at VisArts’s Kaplan Gallery, doesn’t simply showcase ink--on--paper techniques. The selection, chosen by Maryland College Institute of Art professor Brian Garner, includes work that pushes beyond line and color.

This can be as simple as Eva Wylie’s screen prints of flowers and leaves, which break the surface with collaged paper elements. Also modest in scope, if not in theme, are Jamaica--born Rachel Henriques’s small historical images of colonialism and slavery, displayed inside clear plastic bags that usually contain Jamaican food products.

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Galleries: Wolf Kahn, Lauren Boilini, Michael Sellmeyer, Kesha Bruce, Helen Zughaib

The Washington Post
Published Friday, January 3rd, 2014 in The Washington Post print edition and online at www.washingtonpost.com

By: Mark Jenkins, Freelance Writer

Landscape maestro Wolf Kahn, a German-born artist who fled the Nazis as a child and arrived in the United States in 1940, is best known as a painter whose realism is informed by color-field abstraction. But of the current paired Kahn exhibitions, oils and pastels at Addison/Ripley Fine Art and prints at Neptune Fine Art, it’s the print selection that shows him at his most assured.

The artist has employed various printmaking techniques, including drypoint, etching and aquatint. The show’s oldest items, two cross­hatched 1969 images of barns, are lithographs. Many of the pictures are monotypes, drawn directly on a plate and printed a single time. These have a soft texture akin to pastel, which Kahn also used to finish “Mount Pinatubo,” a lithograph that depicts the Philippines volcano in suitably igneous tones.

Kahn usually paints scenes closer to his New England home, and he doesn’t need brash colors to hold the eye. “Springfield Memorial Bridge” is black and white, and more precisely rendered than the color pieces. And one of the show’s marvels is “How Low the Mighty Have Fallen,” a lithograph of lavender tree trunks — all but one upright — against a pale-green field. The spring-like colors are hardly literal, but the sense of a hushed, moist forest is altogether real.

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Mud and Merlot classes at VisArts mix pottery and wine for a good time

The Washington Post
Published Friday, May 31st, 2013 in The Washington Post print edition and online at www.washingtonpost.com

By: Moira E. McLaughlin

mudmerlot11278l1360850706Photo Caption: Photo by Craig Hudson for the Washington Post - Jennifer D'Agostino, right, and her mother-in-law Judy D'Agostino apply paint and imprints to design their coffee mugs during the "Mud and Merlot."

The 1990 movie “Ghost,” starring Demi Moore as potter Molly Jensen, put pottery on the map while making it look sexy and easy.

“Ever since that movie, everyone wanted to do the wheel,” said Karen Askin, who works at VisArts, a gallery and art education center in Rockville. “Working on the wheel is very, very challenging. It takes relaxation and concentration.”

But a would-be potter has to start somewhere. That’s where the VisArts class “Mud & Merlot: Impressions” comes in. It’s a beginner pottery class in which participants decorate an already made, yet not quite dry, mug with lace, buttons, cloth pieces, seashells or whatever else they want to bring.

“This is really for people who have mostly never touched clay in their life,” Askin said.

A recent class was relaxing and easygoing as the red or white wine mixed with the creative juices, and teacher Kate Westfall, 22, who has her BFA in ceramics, quietly instructed.

“Just remember all your paint brush strokes will show,” she told the small class of women, as they painted their mugs.

The Mud & Merlot classes begin with a short wheel demonstration that would be enough to whet most people’s pottery appetite. An experienced potter becomes one with the wheel, molding and shaping the clay as it spins around and around and slowly starts to become a form.

The recent class worked with molds called sprigs, an ancient way of decorating clay by pressing prices of textured clay into the mugs to create an impression. They also pushed pieces of lace onto their mugs and then took them off, to make what Askin called a “delicate texture.”

“This gives people the chance to see where they can go,” Askin said. “We hope it’s the gateway drug for people to say, ‘Wow, I really want to do this.’ ”

The VisArts building itself, which the nonprofit group moved into six years ago, might be enough to inspire a future artist. On the street level is a gallery where mostly local artists display their work in a bright, open room with big windows. Upstairs, the classrooms showcase concrete floors, high ceilings, industrial sinks and metal shelves lined with art supplies. There are long tables with metal stools, trash cans full of leftover clay that will be reblended and used again, buckets of paint and, of course, wheels and kilns. The whole space has an industrial feel that seems to call out to artists to get their hands dirty, experiment, explore and create.

“I think this place is fantastic,” said Rockville resident Jenny D’Agostino. She attended a class recently with her mother-in-law, Judy D’Agostino, a teacher who also lives in Rockville.

“This was fun. I’ve always wanted to take a pottery class,” Judy said as she put the final touches on her mug. “I’d really like to do the wheel. I think I would come back and do that.”

The Mud and Merlot classes draw mostly women and often groups of friends. But people come solo, too. And for some couples, it’s made for a good date night.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for people to try to do something they’ve always been interested in, without doing a six-week class,” Askin said. “Yes, you can live without it, but why would you want to?”

Mud & Merlot
VisArts, 155 Gibbs St., Suite 300, Rockville (Metro: Rockville). 301-315-8200. www.visartsatrockville.org/mud-merlot.

Source: washingtonpost.com

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