Feb 062012

In 2010, we held our first show inviting UMD undergrad interns to act as our guest curators. The show was tight, and well attended. We bought our first undergrad work for the artdc collection at that show. A year later, we recently closed our second UMD undergrad show for 2011.

It was an excellent event, an opportunity for students to network with more seasoned artists, and experience their work in a gallery off campus. The energy in the air reminded me of my first New York solo show, at Tracy Causey’s gallery. I was so excited to be in NY, I slept under my art in lieu of a hotel. Maybe this energy is part of my attraction to doing undergrad shows. We’re offering the public an opportunity to view the work of new artists selected by a first time curator. Again I’m stuck with the limited number of explicatives to describe the event, so tremendous fits.

As in 2010, we decided to expand artdc’s collection by adding another work from our UMD series.

We purchased Melanie Fischer’s “Jetski Accident.” It’s full of energy, and I can visualize the title in the piece.  I see the red and black representing blood and oil, blue for water It’s exploding energy with motion in the paint and scratches in the surface. The art stands on its own, but in such an abstract work, it’s nice to cheat with a little insight into the artist’s mind by reading the title. I liked that for a young artist, she’s using quality materials like museum wrapped stretcher bars supported with cross bars in the back. Little details matter.

With a title like “Jetski Accident,” I do want to know more about its history, and the thought behind Melanie’s process. There’s history in a title like that.

Recently, I produced some work that pushed my limits in the abstract world. To develop titles, I had to dig deep into why I was creating my images, the process and thoughts behind them. I can’t wait to find out how Melanie’s work develops, and what it means to her.

 Posted by at 11:13 pm
Jun 052011

The artdc Gallery has represented Grayson Heck in several exhibitions since April of 2010.  His positive energy as an artist and guest curator has had a bright impact on our experience in our space.

Grayson works in a wide variety of media from painting to sculpture and beyond.  I find strength in his ability to transform metal from raw material, giving it life and form representing an idea.  He doesn’t just bend metal; he creates emotions and reactions.  Since his work in “Don’t Feed the Art,” (DFTA) I’ve been impressed, and I knew we’d eventually purchase some of his work.  His sculptures maintain electric energy, even without the wall plugs of the kinetic works in the DFTA show.

In January of 2011 we put together a show titled “structure, energy,” exhibiting the works of Peter Gordon, Grayson Heck, and Lisa Rosenstein.  Over the years, they have all produced a solid base of work, so we were excited to display their creations.

Grayson included six works ranging from found object-based instruments and stationary sculptures.  An artdc patron purchased one group of sculptures simply titled “spikes.”  The spikes are tall triangular based works.

(Structure, energy spike and kinetic instrument installation shots by Tom Cardarella).

See the kinetic instrument sculptures:

After circling the show for several days, I decided it was time, and I dropped Grayson an e-mail to let him know that we’d purchase his “knots” for the gallery collection.

The knots are sand cast iron made from a foam burn out.  To create texture, Grayson coated the foam with a faux ceramic surface. Grayson writes, “The knots represent our frustrations and anxieties that build up inside of us. As we try to repress and control these emotions/thoughts, our ‘insides’ get tangled, contorted and tied together.”

See a knot close up here:

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
Apr 062011

In August of 2010 we hosted a popup show in Arlington, VA entitled suddenspace, which developed from the idea that we planned this show with less than 30 days notice.  Suddenly, we had space.  Sam Scharf and Megan Mueller selected the work for the exhibition.  The show consisted of a wonderful group of artists many of which were from American University.

We filled a 5000+ square foot space with an amazing selection works from Emily Biondo, Tim Campbell, Bobby Coleman, Kate Demong, L. Kimberly Gillespie, Victoria Greising, Adam Hager, Sabeth Jackson, Sarah Laing, Stuart Lorimer, Lindsay McCulloch, Sarah Miller, Camden Place, Katherine Sable, Ben Tolman, Jenny Walton, Stewart Watson, Megan Mueller, and Samuel Scharf.

The show crossed the range with a wide variety of works including a number of unique installations art.

During setup and installation, I felt a great attraction to Jenny Walton’s monotypes.   Her work is tight and fluid at the same time with ghosts of bones.  You can see pain in her abstracted images.

We invited her to do a show at the artdc Gallery.  I paired her work with the film-based found objects of Alexandra Zealand.  We named the show, “in the present.”  Their work matched well with a contrasting edge as they both grappled with thoughts of human life and its evolving relationships to the world, which they expressed through organic curves using stark black and white combinations.

As our collection grows, I realized that one of Jenny Walton’s works would fit nicely, so we purchased a small work.  See it below:

 Posted by at 11:46 am
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
Jan 062011

One dealer said through a sigh, “if only I could buy stock in an artist’s career.”   I always thought that was a profound idea, and maybe some entrepreneurial art dealer will figure that one out.  But with out any scheme, we can.  Buy art!  While you don’t own shares of a company, you do hold percentage of the works produced in a lifetime.

After I bought Zac’s work for my person collection, it became clear that this was going to be a habit.  So we (the gallery) decided to start buying the work that we exhibit.  We plan to build a collection based on the shows that we hold.

As the collection grows, we’ll hold periodic exhibitions of our collection to bring a sense of history of the gallery into the public’s view.  We are making a statement on artists that we beleive in, and this allows us to get in at the ground floor as the artists grow.

So we embraced this and moved forward, the gallery purchased a work.  We bought a 48″ x 48″ oil on canvas painting by Peter Gordon, entitled “No Assurance As To The Accuracy Of The Information Provided Herein.”

This painting has another image under the surface.  He’s used this canvas multiple times, and you can see he’s started to reveal bits of the underlaying image as a part of the current work.  The painting’s colors work, and it has depth.  The thickness of the paint is quite attractive, and the work has a sense of history with it’s revealed under painting.  When you see it in person, it does have a commanding presence.

The work stands on it’s own, but I will always see it in context of the original show with  Christian Benefiel’s inflatable, Grayson Heck’s found metal piano, Zac Jackson’s What, and Sarah Martin 6ft paintings.  At the close of the exhibition, we couldn’t let him take it home.  Currently the painting lives in the private room of the gallery on a wall, and every show since July 2009, we’ve had comments from artists and collectors as they take a tour of our back room.  You must see his work in person.  His work is growing.  Visit his site, and check out his installation work, particularly the smart grid which he did at the Gallery.

 Posted by at 7:09 pm
Jan 032011

We’re very excited to bring artacquired.com to the web.  We will chronicle and discuss collection of art which is incredibly important  to society and the art economy.  Anyone can collect art.  We think that everyone should own a work of art!  Anyone can.  If you haven’t yet, start your collection now.  Go to a gallery, an art non-profit, a university art program, do some research and you’ll find that there’s amazing  work available to any budget.

 Posted by at 8:28 pm