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VisArts at Rockville Blog

In the galleries: Glowing 'Markings' and attractive 'Abstraction' at VisArts

The Washington Post
Published Friday, April 11th, 2014 in The Washington Post print edition and online at www.washingtonpost.com

By: Mark Jenkins, Freelance Writer

Craig A. Kraft, Ground Zero I, 2013, Found graffiti, neon, 2’ x 3’ x 3.5”

Artists have used neon in many ways, but it and other glowing gases — more than just neon is required to produce various colors — are most associated with signs. D.C. neon artist Craig Kraft has returned to that tradition, but with light works based on jottings rather than elegant logos. Three of Kraft's "Unintentional Drawings," based on his own doodles, are included in "Markings," at VisArts's Gibbs Street Gallery in Rockville. But most of the pieces derive from someone else's scrawls. Or rather, a whole bunch of other people's, since the pieces riff on years of graffiti at Ground Zero Blues Club, a joint in the Mississippi region that gave the Delta blues its name.

Kraft photographed the intentionally shabby club's interior and mounted the images on wood. He then fashioned neon tubes in the form of shapes seen in the photos, usually but not always spotlighting words. For one piece, the artist outlined a rip in a seat cover; in another, a sketch of a lizard.

The tubes burn white, but are partially covered in scratched black paint, so they appear as ragged as the surfaces of the graffiti-covered club. The effect is subtle, designed to complement rather than upstage the photographs. Kraft is writing with light, but only to underscore what others scribbled before him.

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VisArts Resident Artists in the News

ncagg

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.

GatheringBranches

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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