Don’t Miss our Spring Shows!

Our spring exhibitions opened this weekend with resounding success – over 1300 visitors attended our opening reception!

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

The Alper Initiative for Washington Art comes close to home this season with Summerford Legacy. The show honors former American University professor, Ben Summerford. Summerford taught at in the Art department at American University from 1951 to 1987, and this show presents the work of students that studied with him, displaying a wide range of influences.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Also on the first floor, Sharon Wolpoff and Tammra Sigler: Geometry and Other Myths presents an unlikely pairing. Tammra Sigler’s work is deeply expressionistic, while Sharon Wolpoff creates carefully composed, lifelike scenes. However, looking at the work of both artists together reveals similarities. Both artists incorporate geometry, psychology and echoes of spirituality into their work. While they approach their work from vastly different places they seem to meet somewhere in the middle.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Foon Sham: Escape – in the Sculpture Garden and inside on the first floor – was ranked number one on the Washingtonian list of things to do in the District this month. These beautiful wooden sculptural installations are mean to be entered and experienced. The structures evoke the landscape of the American southwest and may call to mind the theme of borders and immigration.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Works by current MFA first year students in Studio Art are on view on the second floor. This show presents works from talented and cutting edge artists. Be sure to come back after April 29, when the MFA Studio Art Thesis show will be on view.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

On the third floor Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna presents visitors with a taste of Cuban folk life. His bold forms and colors will engage visitors and prompt them to consider how Luna draws on his Cuban upbringing but also sheds light on more universal aspects of the human condition.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Time Stands Still: Elzbieta Sikorska is also on view on the third floor. The intricate landscapes presented in this show evoke the notion of the passage of time. These large-scale multimedia drawings invite viewers to look closely and become immersed in scenes of the forest floor and to contemplate how time passes and how a single location can be affected.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

The museum is also participating in the citywide Stations of the Cross art exhibition presented by Coexist House. On view through April 16, American University is the Twelfth Station, represented by Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib 73, on view by the entrance to the museum. For more information on the city-wide exhibition visit artstations.org.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

In the Kreeger Lobby Maya Alphabet of Modern Times, artist Frida Larios presents an update on the ancient Maya logographic alphabet, intended to make this important element of pre-Columbian culture relevant in today’s world.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Check out our calendar of events for information on upcoming gallery talks with this group of diverse and talented artists!

 

Come Visit Our Winter Shows!

This season, we celebrate abstraction in its many guises. From the delicate allover paintings of a young Howard Mehring to the eccentric installations of Julie Wolfe, we are happy to present four shows that feature local artists, as well as one curated by AU faculty.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

The Alper Initiative for Washington Art space features the work of Joe Cameron. Cameron pushes the boundaries of photography. He approaches his work mathematically; opting to number his photographs, rather then title them and to work in stark black and white. And yet, there is a lyrical, poetic quality to his work. Although the viewer can recognize individual objects within the image, the compositions border on the abstract, fading the focus on each object and concentrating instead on the entire composition.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Also on the first floor is the early work of Washington Color School artist Howard Mehring. Mehring took the ideas of Abstract Expressionism and his teacher, Ken Noland, and created his own “allover” paintings of great subtlety and beauty. The works are calm and cool, mimicking the effect of dappled light, before he began changing his approach in the mid-60s due to the influence of critic Clement Greenberg. The grand scale of these canvas envelope the viewer in a field of color.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Featured in the stairwell and out in the sculpture garden, Towers and Monuments presents sculptures and paintings by Mike Shaffer. Ranging in size from diminutive to monumental, these structures play with line. Some are rigidly linear while others seem almost unstable, held together only through a perfectly achieved balance. The show explores the impulse to memorialize and create architectural tributes, proving that no structure is too small to be considered a monument.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

On the second floor, New Ruins, curated by AU Studio Art faculty Danielle Mysliwiec and Natalie Campbell, presents the work of six artists working across various modes of abstraction. The artists employ a variety of unique media, as diverse as marble, wood, and clay, handled in unexpected ways. The rich materiality of the works heightens the power of the abstraction. They expand the language of painting and its traditional viewing modes.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

On the third floor Julie Wolfe’s Quest for a Third Paradise investigates and plays with the systems through which we order and categorize the world. Wolfe uses both organic and technical imagery, combining them in imaginative ways to explore the idea of the Third Paradise, a world where nature and manmade technology exist in harmony. Her use of bright colors throughout the show lends a whimsical feeling, while maintaining a sense of order and of curiosity.

We hope you will come visit us and enjoy these works in person, exploring these vibrant and intricately abstract shows.

 

Our Late Fall Exhibitions are Open

I had fun with the exhibitions this season. You have the calm, cool, and very collected black and white prints by Alex Katz on the 2nd floor, surrounded by four One-Woman shows presenting colorful, emotional, and provocatively expressive paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos. While some of these artists focus on the symbolic associations of their images, others are more concerned with the medium; the texture of paint on a canvas, the documentary capacity of photography, or the provenance of found materials used to make multi-media sculpture. These shows examine the potential of art to be both aesthetically beautiful and emotionally powerful, examining the depths of human experience even to the point of being used as a form of protest.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie
Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

The first floor features Martha Wilson and Franklin Furnace. Martha Wilson is a feminist artist and the gallery director of Franklin Furnace. The exhibition explores the possibility of multiple versions of femininity and feminism. It challenges the stereotypes that women so often find themselves confined to and suggests that femininity can be what each woman wants it to be, not what society tells them it should be.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie
Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Also on the first floor in the Alper Initiative for Washington Art space is Melissa Ichiuji: Make You Love Me. The show features doll-like sculptures, made from fabric and mixed media. The show highlights female sensuality and challenges conventions of the taboo. The dolls are beautifully constructed from fabric and mixed media, using found objects to create multifaceted sculptures. Ichiuji will be hosting a two-day workshop during the exhibition teaching participants how to make their own doll-like sculptures.

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Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

On the second floor Alex Katz: Black and White Project features large-scale black and white prints by internationally recognized artist Alex Katz. By removing color from his images Katz is able to emphasize his intelligent and elegant line and design, reducing them to their essential structure.

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Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

On view on the third floor is Squeak Carnwath: Crazy Papers and Sister Objects features paintings and sketches. The show features paintings and prints from 1982 to this year. She uses words and symbols to add levels of recognition and meaning.

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Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

Joining her on the third floor is Sylvia Snowden: The Feel of Paint. This is an exhibition of large-scale, highly textural mixed media paintings. The canvasses, painted in vibrant colors convey a richness of depth and texture with thickly applied paint over canvas, cans, paper and other small objects, which gives the works an almost sculptural quality.

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Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

In addition to these shows we have two special exhibitions in the Kreeger Lobby. A photographic mural by Carol Brown Goldberg entitled The Studio: A Transformation, gives viewers a glimpse into the artists studio, providing a larger-than-life-sized metaphor for artistic transformation. The mural format allows visitors to step into the mind of the artist.

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Photo Courtesy of Bruce Guthrie

The High Stakes of Macedonia’s “Colorful Revolution” features photographs of the current protests taking place in Macedonia’s capital city Skopje, where citizens are taking a stand by throwing paint on landmarks and monuments. These powerful photographs capture the problematic prospect of artistic vandalism for achieving good ends.

These exhibits will be up until December 18. Check out our calendar for more upcoming events and follow us on social media for regular updates.