Feb 232011

In February of 2009 we decided to start the artdc gallery. Before we had access to our space we decided to begin with an auction at our friend’s space, the Wohlfarth Galleries.  The owner, Lavinia Wohlfarth, was very generous in helping us set up an auction to raise well-needed funds.

The event was packed with art collectors and artists who bought art. It was a very positive event.

Since our space opened we thought about doing another auction, but we held off. We wanted to grow and increase our connections with more artists and art lovers who want to support our community.

In December 2010 we held our second auction.  Again, we had a good number of people attend who were passionate about our community.

We invited Cheryl Edwards to be the auctioneer for both events.  Her energy and passion for our project can be felt as the night’s event moved on.  We’ll introduce more details about her excitement for art as this site grows.

With lust for art and zeal for excitement, the bidding started. I wanted to get in the mix and bid on two or three items for my personal collection.  Cheryl ignored my bids!  She knew this was about bringing in external bids rather than letting me raise funds for the gallery from my bank account.

Piece by piece, great work from tremendous DC-area artists including Alexandra Zealand, Christopher Brady, Lisa Rosenstein and Barry Schmetter were sold to collectors.

Toward the end, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I placed a bid for the gallery on a work by Stephen Boocks.  Stephen and his wife Lori are both artists.  I know her work from the Studio Gallery in Dupont Circle, and I’ve watched Stephen’s work grow as he’s submitted art for a number of our group shows. I knew it was time to acquire one of his pieces for the Gallery’s collection.

Going once. Going twice. Sold to the highest bidder, as the gavel smashed down onto the steel pedestal.

Stephen does an excellent job of juxtaposing his surfaces with objects.  You can tell that he cares about his paint.  There’s a very subtle rhythm to the tonality, while his choice of a coat hanger is definitely a non-traditional subject.

His core image evolved through his personal quest of healing and a resulting epiphany of structure, which occurred when he dropped a stack of hangers on the floor.  Stephen found beauty in this simple accumulation of objects, and decided to study it.

As an artist, I appreciate his obsession with an idea.  He has put in effort working his images.  He’s developed a habit honing his technique, which takes tremendous effort to work the image, and re-work it till he gets what he wants.  He’s created a solid series based on a set core subject idea.


 Posted by at 9:32 pm
Feb 082011

With the goal of expanding our gallery’s community we offered two spots for internships to the University of Maryland.  We invited our interns to select art. We thought this was an extremely unique opportunity for the both of us.  We earned the view of “art to come” through eyes of new artists, and they acquired the opportunity to plan a gallery show outside of the university.

To start, our interns met with gallery Neptune owner Elyse Harrison to discuss the process of selecting work.  The show was a team effort where our two interns, Owen Duff and Sahar Somekhian worked together to develop their first curatorial experience.  They gave the show an appropriate title of, “Square One.”

Both Sahar and Owen had very different views of art, however they worked extremely well together and picked a cohesive group of works with a wide range of styles.  Their differences allowed the show to grow.  The artists included Jay Chmilewski, Erica Federhen,  Timothy Horjus, Christie Liberatore, Kunj Patel, and Fawna Xiao.  Square One was bright and packed full of color.  See the link above for more information about the show.

Walking into the reception after the installation was an exciting experience since I had been out of town the week before the final selections and install for a tour of LA area galleries.  We took the city apart running from Culver City to Bergamot Station and Abbot Kinney to amazing museums like LACMA, the Getty, and beyond.  However, that in itself is a story for another time.  After living in a LA state of mind for over a week, it was so wonderful to see the choice works of art that our interns had selected.  “Square One,” definitely fit with my west coast state of mind.

I knew we were going to buy art from this selection of work; it was just a matter of what suited the future of our collection. It was an extremely difficult choice.  Each artist’s work spoke to me on a personal level from Timothy’s extreme attention to detail and bright colors, to Fawna’s screen prints.

The entire show was strong, but I was really attracted to Erica Federhen’s acrylic works on canvas.  At first glance, I wanted the entire collection of her works, which made the choice difficult.  It was going to be the alphabetical work with the letters  r, e, and d in red.

It looked like we had a buyer for that work, so I spent more time with her other paintings since I didn’t want to prevent a collector from purchasing a work.

Then “poco a poco,” which means little by little caught my attention.  By the time the show ended our collector who was interested in the “red” work had commitment issues.  I decided that “poco a poco” was really a statement about our/artdc’s efforts in the art scene over the years.   We do things little by little, so as much as I thought the red work was an homage to Jasper Johns, whom I love, the gallery decided to purchase poco a poco.  See it here:

See the artist with her work in our gallery:

 Posted by at 8:00 pm
Feb 062011

For our exhibition, “Coverage” in July of 2010, we worked with Sam Scharf who is an exhibition’s specialist for the Hirshhorn.  We were extremely impressed with his detailed work, specifically with a found object installation based on a suspended ostrich egg in our 12×12 show.  His view of art is unique so we knew he’d bring an amazing collection to the gallery.  He introduced us to the work of Megan Mueller and Sabeth Jackson.  Days were spent with installation.  We’re not talking about a day of painting and hanging work, there was serious planning and effort involved.   The show was a site-specific installation of museum quality.  Sabeth’s linocuts were suspended raw with magnets.  I find it extremely exciting and contemporary to let the work breathe, and live on it’s own with a very simple presentation.  Her series is entitled “Wox Stalker” which explored different inks and print styles in the German expressionist style.  The emotion is stark with great control of a multi-color process. The imagery spoke to us. Each print was produced in an edition of 5, on a thick wonderful sheet of paper.  We purchased one for the gallery, number 2 of 5.  From the collection, in the coverage show, it’s the print on the top, at the far right.

After several trips to the gallery we were unable to get a representational shot of her work, even with a polarizing filter.  The conservation glass reflected an unbelievable amount of light.  There are a few artifacts of the gallery background visible, and the black should appear black, but it does not appear in the snap shot.  Aside from the picture quality, you can get a feeling for her work.  Face-to-face, there’s a significant contrast between the black and grey tones.  One day, we’re going to need to disassemble the frame and remove the glass so you can get a real feel for this work on-line.  This is actually an increasingly difficult task for galleries and artists.  That is, it’s difficult to really convey the feeling of a work of art through an image on a website.  We’ll post an update as we acquire cleaner images.

We decided to frame the work, to protect the print from dust and UV light.  We used a very simple frame so that we didn’t distract from the image.  Lately, for my personal collection, i’ve gone a little crazy with silk covered mats and intricate mouldings, but this wasn’t right for this work.  We selected a white mat that suited the tonality of the paper.  Not an off white, but we also staid away from a very bright white.

At this point, our collection was off to a great start, and as we’re moving forward, we’re developing a greater idea of where things are going.  The collection will represent both our activity in the gallery, and growing connection with our artist family or stable of artists.  I’ve often heard folks use this term, a stable of artists, but for us, it’s much much more personal.  It is a family, and we are developing a community through our activities as we see several families of artists merge and grow.

 Posted by at 11:04 pm