Queen Anne’s County Arts Council Offering a Variety of Classes in Visual Arts

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The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council has a variety of Visual Arts Classes available in our Summer Class schedule. Our skilled instructors are offering classes designed to renew existing artistic interests and develop new skills. Classes are limited in size to ensure quality individual instruction.

Learn to paint birds. The journey begins with information on avian anatomy as an aide to understanding their characteristics. Instructor Ric Conn will teach a variety of painting techniques with an emphasis on “Painting Birds in Gouache”. Classes will be held Tuesdays May 6 – June 3 from 10-noon.

Enjoy the fun of learning the basics of “One-Stroke” painting, loved by beginners and experienced artists as well! Ann Pyper will provide step-by-step instruction in the painting techniques of using One-Stroke to create beautiful designs…to decorate your home, paint a gift for a friend, or even start your own business. One-Stroke blends, shades and highlights all in one stroke. Painting with acrylics allows you to paint on almost any surface including mirrors, glassware and ceramics, mailboxes, slates, wood, walls, fabric, and canvas. You can find examples of Ann’s work on display at The Creamery. Classes will be held Wednesdays from 1-3 pm May 7-21.

Wye River Designs, Candice Liccione, will offer several classes including her popular “Clay Mosaics”. Take mosaics to a different level by creating your own mosaic pieces and combining them with other elements to create a 12”x 12”mixed media mosaic. Making clay mosaics allows you to personalize a mosaic with names, favorite words or symbols. Join Candace Liccione for an afternoon of rolling out clay, stamping it, painting and embellishing your clay creations for your project. The workshop is June 8 from 1-3 pm.

Make a work of art to wear and learn” Epoxy Clay Jewelry Making”. For those who didn’t win this much sought after piece during Small Works, come and create your own amethyst jewelry with Instructor Janice Colvin. Using two-part epoxy clay and crystals you will design your own incredible necklace and earrings. Class will be held June 14 from 1-3 pm.

Learn to weave a beautiful woven vase with a glass liner in a matter of hours. This is a great project for a group of friends! Award winning local fiber artist and basket weaver, Instructor Heidi Wetzel welcomes all skill levels. Spend an afternoon learning this timeless technique. Class will be held July 26 from 10-2 pm.

Receive discounts on events and classes by signing up for a yearly membership now – $25 individual/$35 family. Visit queenancescountyarts.com for our full listing of classes and events. You can register on our website or call the Arts Council at 410-758-2520. Classes are held at the Queen Anne’s County Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD 21617 unless otherwise noted.

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, Inc., is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, expanding and sustaining the arts.

Arts Snapshot: The Lines of Linn Meyers

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The love of lines for Linn Meyers started, at least at the subconscious level, when she would watch her father, an architect working in the days before CAD software, draw thousands of them when she was growing up. In later life, she has skillfully used her own mix of thousands of painstakingly drawn lines to create striking images on both the micro and macro points of contact with her art.

The Spy spoke to Linn last week about her approach to her work, now on display at the AAM, and how she always needs to navigate carefully between beauty and preciousness.

The video is approximately two minutes in length.

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The Troika Features Lou Messa in “A Wall of Small”

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Troika Gallery in downtown Easton presents “A Wall of Small” during its March show, which runs March 1-April 1. The exhibit features a collection of small paintings by Lou Messa, one of the gallery’s most popular artists. The gallery will host an opening reception on March 1 from 5-8:30pm during Easton’s First Saturday Gallery Walk.

“Meadow” by Lou Messa, featured artist during Troika Gallery’s March exhibit, “A Wall of Small.”

“Meadow” by Lou Messa, featured artist during Troika Gallery’s March exhibit, “A Wall of Small.”

Lou Messa is a master painter whose works can be found in collections throughout the United States. Messa discovered his artistic talents at an early age, growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. “It was the late 1950s,” he recalls, “and I was one of countless artistically-inclined teenage boys who honed their skills by drawing pictures Rat Fink [an anti-hero to Mickey Mouse], the risqué, hot-rod driving rodent.”

Messa’s art teachers encouraged him to pursue his artistic talents, and he went on to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Messa was drafted into the service during the Vietnam War, and trained as an illustrator for the Army. Following his discharge, he continued as a government illustrator creating training aids at Cameron Station in Virginia. Three years later, he started his career as a professional artist.

Messa and his wife made their home in central Virginia. “I am constantly reminded of the beauty of nature around me,” he says. Messa is primarily a landscape artist, but he also paints vintage aircraft, old cars, and motorcycles. “I paint what people would like to see in their homes,” he adds. “My objective is to portray something that strikes a pleasant memory, something my clients will never grow tired of seeing.”

Troika Gallery is located at 9 S. Harrison Street in downtown Easton. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm and Sunday by appointment. Artist portfolios and gallery information are available online at www.troikagallery.com. For more information, email art@troikagallery.com or phone at 410.770.9190.

Review: artNOW Philadelphia at the Kohl Gallery by Mary McCoy

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On the same day that “The Monuments Men” started playing at the Chester 5 Theatre, a new exhibit called “artNOW Philadelphia” opened at Washington College’s Kohl Gallery. The two could hardly be more different in their approach to art but they both make you think a lot about its nature and value.

The movie is an entertaining story that would warm the heart of any art lover. It’s a film based on the true story of the rescue of thousands of masterpieces of art stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Over and over again, you gasp as the actors discover a Michelangelo, Van Eyck or Rodin hastily stashed in a mine or a castle, and more than once the question is asked, “Is art worth dying for?” Of course, the answer is yes.

In the Kohl exhibit, the questions are very different and the answers far more elusive. On view through March 7, artNOW Philadelphia is the third of the College’s series of exhibits featuring work by prominent young artists from nearby cities. It’s a show that asks a lot from the viewer, probably more than most will want to bother with.

Assistant Professor Benjamin Bellas makes his aim in curating artNOW abundantly clear in his accompanying essay. Set in the form of a detailed definition of the words “challenging” and “challenge,” it’s a provocation to do your best to comprehend the assembled work by these seven artists from Philadelphia, work that is by turns discomforting, humorous, irritating, inspiring, opaque, and highly thought provoking.

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Amze Emmons’ “Modern Popular Movement,” graphite, gouache, acrylic on panel, 20 x 24”, 2011.

“The Monuments Men” presents art that’s breathtakingly beautiful (as well as familiar to anyone who’s taken an art history class) but in this exhibit, even when it’s present, beauty isn’t the issue. Julianna Foster’s photography-based images are eerily lovely, and Amze Emmons’s illustrative drawing style is exquisite in its clarity and simplicity. On the other hand, Leslie Friedman’s neo-Pop Art installation is purposefully crass and annoying. As if Andy Warhol was still alive and well, its row of silkscreened green nudes line up across from a pile of oversized multi-colored Coke cans and sugar substitute wrappers where an endlessly repeating video loop shows a masturbating woman.

Like the other artists in this show, Friedman is less concerned with the aesthetics of art than with the ways we communicate and build our belief systems. Her in-your-face look at consumer culture’s passion for overstimulation and vacuous pleasure is fairly predictable, but it offers a cursory nod to the fact that in a world of titillating underwear ads, graphic news videos and online pornography, art long ago lost its power to shock.

Tim Portlock’s work also considers consumer culture but in a more penetrating way. His urban landscape sprawls into the distance under windswept clouds bathed in the kind of transcendent light you’d find in a 19th century painting by Albert Bierstadt or Thomas Cole, artists who celebrated the scale and rugged beauty of the American landscape. At six feet wide Portlock’s archival inkjet print, “Clone,” shares the expansive quality of their inspiring vistas, but under its heaven-lit sky is a flat, gray landscape of empty buildings. Houses, restaurant and big box stores are all up for sale as new construction waits unfinished. Reacting to the thousands of buildings standing abandoned in Philadelphia, Portlock reconsiders the American dream, suggesting that in the postindustrial age, capitalism’s faith in unlimited growth is no longer viable.

Ryan Wilson Kelly and Marc Blumthal also play with how our perceptions of America’s history and values have been shaped. Blumthal impishly cuts and pastes a speech by George Bush into a rousing jumble of nonsensical phrases that retain a very American-sounding flow of political rhetoric, while Kelly has great fun turning our nation’s history into myth. His video, “The Wizard Franklin,” is an engaging little story that retells the American Revolution in condensed form, turning three of the founding fathers into beings of mythological stature.

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Leslie Friedman, “Tastier”, 2013

In many ways, there’s a wide gap between “The Monuments Men” and “artNOW,” but both make you ponder art’s raison d’état. Many of the paintings and sculptures in “The Monuments Men” were commissioned by patrons of the church with the purpose of educating and inspiring by illustrating stories from the Bible for an illiterate congregation. Some might also call it propaganda or even brainwashing.

The artists in this show all use art as a method of investigating the impact of how information is presented. Living as we do in the Information Age, we see images of disaster constantly. Amze Emmons borrows such images from the media, honing, editing and splicing them to suit his purposes. His work distills instantly recognizable signs of poverty, environmental degradation and refugee displacement into engaging, beautifully drawn and cheerfully colored scenes. Disaster is commonplace, they seem to say, but it’s okay, life goes on. We’re constantly bombarded with this message, so why should we not believe it? Why worry?

Whether in terms of politics, culture or human nature, artNOW is intended to raise questions. If you want to get something out of this exhibit, you need to spend time with it. If you don’t, you won’t begin to understand the layers of meaning and intercultural discourse that went into Ruben Ghenov’s work. His paintings are consummate exercises in spatial gymnastics, abstractions that promise glimpses into complicated realities without offering specifics. You can simply appreciate his prodigious skill, or you can take the sparse clues he and Bellas offer in the catalogue and do some research. The internet is the perfect place to start. For Ghenov, as for all artNOW’s artists, you’ll find websites and links to articles and interviews, as well as to related work by other artists, poets and writers, and you’ll be launched into a process of reading, investigation, consideration and synthesis.

This show is all about being willing to explore and go beyond the boundaries of convention to open to new ideas. Julianna Foster has a magical way of questioning conventional thinking. She “documents” what she terms a “fantastic event that allegedly occurred” with images of patterns of lights suspended in the night air, strangely shaped clouds over water or low hills, and a house apparently floating in the sea. Obviously, whatever this mysterious occurrence was, it can’t have been real, yet allegedly there were witnesses.

Foster is asking a series of questions. How do we take in something that we can’t conceive of being true? Why is it so difficult to admit the existence of something outside the bounds of accepted knowledge? And if it’s a challenge to an individual’s belief system, how much more so for the established institutions of government, science and religion?

In assembling the work of these artists, Bellas dares students, viewers and citizens in general to take the initiative in searching out greater knowledge and widening our perspectives. The rescue efforts of “The Monuments Men” were aimed at not just at recovering beautiful objects but also the ideas and ideals spawned during a thousand years of culture. ArtNOW challenges us to practice learning and thinking creatively, for these are the most necessary skills we humans can possess in these times of unprecedented global change.

SpyShots: The Academy’s Anke Van Wagenberg on Chul Hyun Ahn’s Infinity

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While it might not be a certified blockbuster for the Academy Art Museum, the exhibition of South Korean-born Chul Hyun Ahn’s work has become one of the museum’s most popular shows in recent memory. So much so that the AAM has extended the exhibition until February 23.

The Spy talks to Academy Art Museum curator Anke Van Wagenberg about why Ahn’s work is so unique and how he uses several tricks of illusion to successfully, as the title of the exhibition suggests, allow viewers to perceive infinity.

The video is approximately two minutes in length

Chul Hyun Ahn: Perceiving Infinity
November 16, 2013 – February 23, 2014
Academy Art Museum
106 South Street
Easton MD, 21601

Academy Art Museum March 2014 Events Released

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EXHIBITIONS
The following Academy Art Museum exhibitions are sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Oxman. Other Side of the Air. 1986. Koh collectionKatja Oxman: Aquatint Etchings
Through May 4, 2014
Munich-born, Maryland artist Katja Oxman (1942) has been creating richly textured color etchings in her precise signature style for over twenty years. Oxman’s multi-plate aquatint etchings present complex still lifes of richly patterned Oriental rugs upon which rest an overwhelming array of the artist’s treasured objects: opened letters and envelopes; picture postcards from museums; birds, feathers and nests; potted plants, oriental boxes, fruits and vegetables. Steven Scott Gallery in Baltimore has represented the artist since its opening in 1988.

Caption: Katja Oxman, Other Side of the Air, 1986 Color etching with aquatint, diptych On loan from Susan and Barry Koh, Easton, MD

Greg Mort workingThe Art of Greg Mort:
Selections from The Hickman Bequest II
Through May 4, 2014
Greg Mort is an internationally-acclaimed, self-taught artist who hikes the rugged coast of Maine and travels the rural trails of Maryland with his brushes, paints and canvases. Recognized today as one of America’s leading contemporary artists, his watercolor, oil and pastel images are in notable collections around the world, including the Smithsonian, the Corcoran and the White House. When Washington, DC, lawyer David Hickman died from multiple sclerosis in 2011, he graciously left over 30 paintings by Greg Mort to the Academy Art Museum making it the largest public repository of the artist’s work. This exhibition is the second part of selections from the Hickman gift.

Caption: Greg Mort in his studio in Port Clyde, Maine
Bobbie Seger: Painting with Nature
Through March 9, 2014
Roberta Seger (“Bobbie”) lives and paints on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Her oils, watercolors, and acrylics communicate an immediacy of place and mood, providing the viewer a glimpse of life on the Chesapeake. She is a graduate of Drexel University with a degree in Fine Arts and member of the Academy Art Museum, where she has taught painting classes for over 16 years.

Linn Meyers Blue Study 122013Linn Meyers: Blue Study
March 1 – May 4, 2014
Curator-led tours: Friday, March 21, 12 noon and Wednesday, April 16, 12 noon
Washington, DC-based artist Linn Meyers creates densely configured compositions that shimmer like the play of light moving across the surface of water. These intricate works of art are created through a process by which the artist lays down consecutive strokes of acrylic ink, creating rhythmic and repetitive patterns. Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout the country, including The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Smithsonian American Art Museum; The National Museum of Women in the Arts; and The Phillips Collection. Meyers is represented by Sandra Gering Inc in New York.
Caption: Linn Meyers, Blue Study, 2013, Ink on Mylar, 12’ x 9’ Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Japan exh 2014 Owl (511x640)East Meets West: Contemporary Japanese Prints from the UMUC Collection
March 1 – May 4, 2014
Curator-led tours: Friday, March 21, 12 noon and Wednesday, April 16, 12 noon
Composed of gifts from faculty and friends, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) collection of Japanese prints exemplifies a long-standing relationship between East and West. Over the past 33 years, the prints have made their way to the UMUC Maryland headquarters, largely one by one, with the exception of a very generous presentation of 20 Yoshitoshi Mori pieces by the artist himself, and the remarkable donation of the collection of Emory Trosper, longtime professor at UMUC’s Tokyo campus. A selection of some 20 prints will be on view at the Academy Art Museum.
Caption: Akiyama Iwao, b. 1921, Owl, 1977 Woodblock, 20” x 17” University of Maryland University College Collection Dedicatory Gift

LECTURES
The Election and Impact of Pope Francis
Fr. Thomas Reese
March 20, 6 p.m.
Kittredge-Wilson Speaker Series
$15 Members, $20 Non-members
Pope Francis was selected as the “Person of the Year” for 2013 by Time magazine. Learn more about this engaging international figure from one of the experts in the field, Father Thomas Reese SJ, a Senior Analyst for the National Catholic Reporter and author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.”

ARTS EXPRESS BUS TRIPS
ARTICULTURE: THE ART OF GREAT GARDEN DESIGN
Philadelphia Flower Show
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 (all day)
Fee: $75 Members, $95 Non-members (includes transportation, tip
and admission) In partnership with Adkins Arboretum
In the 10-acre exhibition space of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, ARTiculture will explore how exquisite landscapes, gardens and floral arrangements have inspired artists from the Old Masters to the Impressionists to the most creative forces working today. www.theflowershow.com

MUSIC
andrew sauvageau grayscale small (819x1024)Informance Program: A noontime program featuring a combination of lecture and performance
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 12 noon
Andrew Sauvageau, Baritone Program
Cost: $25 Members, $60 Non-members for each program (includes a boxed lunch)
Explore a masterwork of high romanticism from two geniuses of the 19th century. The shady symbolism and ambiguous landscapes of Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff’s poetry collide with the emotionally charged music of Robert Schumann in this powerhouse of the artsong repertoire. Baritone Andrew Sauvageau reveals some of the secrets and symbols of the era, joined by pianist Andrew Stewart.
Caption: Andrew Sauvageau, Baritone

Cocktails & Concerts:
Lyric Opera
Friday, March 28, 2014– Cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by a concert beginning at 6 p.m.
Cost: $42 Members, $75 Non-members
Natalie Conte, Soprano; Catrin Davies, Mezzo Soprano; Peter Drackley, Tenor and Kevin Wetzel, Baritone will be joined by Maestro James Harp in “Opera Extravaganza” – an Evening of Opera Favorites. Arias and ensembles from “Madame Butterfly,” “The Barber of Seville: “La Traviata,” “Rigoletto,” and others will be featured in this presentation of opera favorites.

ADULT CLASSES
Digital Studio Open House
Saturday, March 1, 2014, 12 noon – 2 p.m.
Explore the Museum’s new digital studio which is offering classes in web design, graphic design and Photoshop for teens and adults. Demonstrations and refreshments will be served.

Back to Basics – Drawing Fundamentals
Katie Cassidy
6 weeks: March 4 – April 8, 2014
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
$175 Members, $210 Non-members
Drawing is the foundation for all art; it is the primary and essential discipline for the goal oriented. This class will concentrate on shapes, values, edges and composition – everything except color. This is a great class for students of any level.

Basic Relief Printmaking
Kevin Garber
4 weeks: March 5 – 26, 2014
Wednesdays: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
$175 Members, $210 Non-members
This course uses linoleum and wood block printmaking to make a small edition of prints. The pre-requisite for class is that students will need to research print process and develop sketches.

Head Drawing Fundamentals
Patrick Meehan
6 weeks: March 6 – April 10, 2014
Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
$185 Members, $215 Non members (plus small modeling fee)
The class will focus on proper lay-in, placement and structure of the facial features with the goal of learning to understand and describe form as it relates to the head.

There are No Rules in Photography
Steve Dembo
4 weeks: March 7 – 28, 2014
Fridays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
$175 Members, $200 Non-members (Brief 30-minute after-class, one-on-one reviews are available. Please add $25 to the cost.)
There are no “Rules,” only simple guidelines to help students master composition, texture, pattern, form and color to create great photographs. Students will learn how to make great photographs with their cameras and how to edit ‘in-camera,’ – no matter if it’s an advanced SLR, a new mirror-less CSC, a Point & Shoot, or a camera phone. The class is open to all levels.

Creative Photography: Advanced Level
George Holzer
7 weeks: March 11 – April 22, 2014
Tuesdays, 6 – 8:30 p.m.
$175 Members, $210 Non-members
Weekly shooting assignments for this class will provide opportunities for you to explore through photography, discover new visual interests, find new ways to “see” and work toward the development of your own vision and style.

Figure Drawing
Patrick Meehan
6 weeks: March 18 – April 22, 2014
Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
$185 Members, $215 Non-members (plus small modeling fee)
The class will focus on providing the student with the skills necessary to draw the human figure with sound structure and accuracy.

Landscape Painting
Patrick Meehan
6 weeks: March 18 – April 22, 2014
Tuesdays, 1– 4 p.m.
$185 Members, $210 Non-members
Students will work from their own reference (photos or oil sketches) to execute studio landscapes. The object of this course will be for the painter to have a point of view about the reference and then work towards developing a personal style.

Painting the Flowers of Spring in Oil
Rita Curtis
4 weeks: March 26 – April 16, 2014
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
$145 members; $175 Non-members
Beginning with a strong composition, the class will focus on simplifying the shapes of different types of blossoms and pay attention to how their stems define their character. With colorful flowers as inspiration, the class will explore how an artist’s vision is the key to creating fine floral paintings.

Private Lessons in Photography or Photoshop
George Holzer
Time & number of weeks: variable
Cost: per hour fee
Private lessons include digital photography, Photoshop (Elements or Full Version), and general digital imaging; shooting pictures and photography principles, Photoshop enhancements and creative uses, and specific individual digital projects. Lessons can be tailored to individual needs and time frame.

Open Studios
A Museum membership is required to participation in these studios.
Open Portrait Studio
Mondays, 9:30am – noon
Group meets weekly with a live model. Model fee collected weekly.

Open Studio with Live Model
Mondays, 1-3:30pm
This studio provides the opportunity to study the human figure and its action, volume, structure, anatomy, design and expressive potential. Model fee collected weekly.

Collage Studio
Second Saturday of each month
This studio is for those interested in collage, assemblage or fibers. Artists are invited to come and work on a project they would like to start, or have begun. There is no designated instructor.

CHILDRENS CLASSES
Summer Camps
The Museum will offer a variety of summer camps and classes for children ages two through high school. Popular camps include graphic design, figure drawing, printmaking and our signature Kaleidoscope camp. Look for our summer camp schedule online March 1, 2014.

Young Explorers Program
The Young Explorers program puts art and museum objects at the center of a child’s day, encouraging exploration and discovery. As a part of Young Explorers children will have ongoing opportunities to interact with professional musicians and artists who perform, teach, or exhibit at the Museum. They will learn about the creative process through active participation with these visiting artists. For additional information, please contact Melanie Young at 410-822-2787.

MUSIC CLASSES
Voice Lessons (ages 10 through adult)
Suzanne S. Chadwick
Exploring vocal technique, performance skills, and even stress therapy can be a part of each individualized program. Contact the instructor directly at (410) 963-0893 for lesson schedule and cost.

Flute Lessons (ages 8 through adult)
Irene King
Study the elements of flute performance; repertoire; and management of performance anxiety and audition preparation. Contact the instructor directly at (443) 834-3010 for lesson schedule and cost.

ADULT BALLROOM & LATIN DANCE
Amanda Showell
Tuesday and Thursday night dance classes in bolero, tango, East Coast Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, Cha-Cha, Latin Variety, Rumba, and Samba. Contact the instructor at (410) 482-6169 or visit www.dancingontheshore.com.

artNOW: Philadelphia coming to Kohl Gallery

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The works of art that will be on display in ArtNOW: Philadelphia, the seven-person exhibition opening February 7 at the Kohl Gallery at Washington College, defy easy description. And that’s the point, says exhibition curator Benjamin Bellas. “It’s intentionally varied in an attempt to show a range of exciting work happening now in Philadelphia, and it includes painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, performance, video, and new media,” he explains.

If there is any unifying theme beyond the city where each of the artists lives and works, it might be creative fearlessness. “As curator, I selected artists who are willing to take risks in their processes, and whose work can be challenging for the viewer,” says Bellas, an assistant professor of art at the College.

The artNOW: Philadelphia exhibition is the final show in a three-city series that began in 2012 with artNOW: Baltimore and continued in 2013 with artNOW: DC. In each of the three, the curator has focused on younger talents whose work collectively reflects the creative identity of their city. The artNOW: Philadelphia exhibition will open with a special reception on Friday, February 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. and will continue through March 7, 2014. The reception, like the exhibition, is free and open to the public. The Kohl Gallery is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts on the Washington College campus. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m.

The following artists are featured in artNOW: Philadelphia:

Trained as a studio painter and with experience as a community-based muralist, Tim Portlock now uses 3D gaming technology and special effects software to create large inkjet prints with a photographic feel. His post-industrial landscapes evoke both imagined and real-world spaces, and many are inspired by the abandoned buildings and foreclosed properties near his home in Philadelphia. A member of Vox Populi artist collective in Philadelphia, Portlock teaches at Hunter College of The City University of New York. A 2011 Pew Fellow, he has exhibited his work at venues that include the Tate Modern in London; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Printmaker Leslie Friedman uses screen-printed repeat patterns on materials such as wallpaper and linoleum tile to transform spaces into what she describes as “bright, glossy, sparkly surfaces with subversive content below.” As a student of art and political science, she is intrigued by the power of a visual vocabulary to set the stage for political dialogue. “Screen-printing allows imagery to be peeled away from its original sources and built into something else altogether,” she says in her artist statement. The result “is a fantasy world that combines identifiable elements from the everyday with my own over- imagination” and that leaves the viewer “in a state of overstimulation.” Friedman holds a BA in Political Science from Brown University and a master of fine arts from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. She cofounded the artist-run project space Napoleon and is a fellow at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists.

Painter and sculptor Rubens Ghenov draws inspiration from across the globe and back through time to create imaginative works that reference real cultural touchstones—often works of film, music and literature. To provide a fictional context for his art, he has been known to create characters whose backstories make them vaguely reminiscent of real people. Ghenov was born in São Paulo in 1975, and came to the U.S. with his family as a teenager but continues to draw from Brazilian culture and history in his work. He earned his BFA from Temple’s Tyler School of Art and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, both in painting. He has exhibited at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia; the Gelman Gallery in Providence; the Alogon Gallery in Chicago; and TSA in Brooklyn.

Marc Blumthal appropriates items as diverse as the words of a George W. Bush speech, family photos and the cremated remains of his cat and then manipulates them into reflections on American culture and identity. He has been featured in solo shows at The Print Center and Napoleon in Philadelphia and SpaceCamp Gallery in Indianapolis. He earned an MFA from the School of Design at University of Pennsylvania, a BFA and MA from Eastern Illinois University, and an AA in Studio Art at Arapahoe Community College.

Fine-art photographer Julianna Foster’s work embraces the fundamentals of narrative to examine and comment on the human experience. It also reflects her interest in cinema and the way an image—or series of images—can portray a psychological relationship between characters. “By exploring how the individual image can transcend its own limits and, by association, provide the opportunity for a pictorial narrative to unfold,” she says. “I hope that each story forms something of a larger narrative that continues to reveal itself in a variety of forms, be it a photograph, book or video.” In addition to creating her own photography projects, Foster regularly collaborates with other artists on book projects, gallery shows and videos. A senior lecturer at the University of the Arts, Foster has mounted two solo shows at Philadelphia’s Vox Populi Gallery and has participated in group shows in London and New York. She received a BFA in design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA in book arts and printmaking from the University of the Arts.

A ceramicist who also creates videos and installations, Ryan Kelly has found himself drawn into puppet theater and prop construction for low budget films, including the Green Porno series by Isabella Rossellini. He is a founding member and co-curator at Practice Gallery in Philadelphia and spent five years as an artist in residence at the Clay Studio. With a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and an MFA from Ohio State, both in ceramics, he now teaches at Temple’s Tyler School of Art and at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Amze Emmons is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in drawing and printmaking. His cheerfully colorful, cartoon-like images of abandoned and blighted spaces create intrigue and dissonance for the viewer. Emmons says his work is inspired by architectural illustration, comic books, cartoon language, information graphics, news footage, consumer packaging, and instruction manuals. The artist received a BFA from Ohio Wesleyan University and a MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. He has held solo exhibitions in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Boston and has won numerous awards, including fellowships at the Independence Foundation, the Pennsylvania Arts Council and the MacDowell Colony. Emmons teaches at the Tyler School of Art and is a contributing editor of Printerintesting.org, an art blog he cofounded.

Kay MacIntosh
kmacintosh2@washcoll.edu

Artist Karen Hubacher on the Cheaspeake at Massoni Gallery

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Inspired by how we react to our surroundings, mixed-media artist Karen Hubacher recently began considering her own relationship to the Chesapeake Bay. But what began as a small experiment—eight paintings shown this summer at a gallery in Washington, D.C.—gathered momentum in ways the artist never foresaw.

“It has pretty much overtaken my life,” she says with a laugh. “I have now completed 46 paintings in the series!”

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 11.37.17 AMHubacher began her “Chesapeake Journal” with 10″ by 8″ panels that used simple divisions of horizon lines and a palette of colors to evoke the surface and sky of the Chesapeake Bay. Her Eastern Shore home is right on the water, and she travels across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at least three times a month, so she sees her subject from numerous angles, but the beauty she saw and the inspiration she felt combined to form a simple but profound question: How do you capture that feeling in art?

A period of experimentation led the artist to encaustic, a type of painting that involves adding pigments to heated wax. Before long, Hubacher saw her visions of the Chesapeake vividly reflected before her.

“In working with hot wax, I found the fluid medium conducive to creating textures that became more obviously cloud and water patterns,” she explains. “It became a more direct way of responding to my environment, with the endless subtle and mysterious nuances evident in the changing of the seasons and the time of day.”

Hubacher’s encaustic paintings of the Chesapeake are featured in two shows this holiday season. The first is a year-end group show at Gallery plan b in Washington, D.C., that runs through December 24, 2013. The second is a holiday art show at MassoniArt in Chestertown, Maryland, which runs through December 22, 2013.

At both shows, buyers can immediately take Hubacher’s work home with them, a real draw for the art-loving holiday shopper and a fine way to experience what Hubacher evokes through her Eastern Shore visions: “solitary, contemplative time spent in quiet places.”

Review: Chul Hyun Ahn – Perceiving Infinity at the Academy Art Museum

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As I was looking at Chul Hyun Ahn’s exhibit, Perceiving Infinity, on view at the Academy Art Museum through January 26, I overheard a woman saying, “My five-year-old grandson had to keep coming back to see the new room.” I glanced over to see her standing at what appeared to be the entrance to a wide hallway extending outward beyond the gallery wall into what I knew perfectly well to be the Museum’s front lawn.

The new “room,” an artwork entitled “Void,” is a rectangle just 12.5 inches deep containing a frame of glowing blue light that appears to repeat back again and again into a shadowy interior. Tall enough to walk into (were it not blocked by the clear side of a one-way mirror), it resembles a hallway out of Star Trek or perhaps an accordion ramp leading onto a jumbo jet. Its inexplicable depth and high-tech glow are fascinating and a bit unnerving. Clearly, it’s the entryway to some kind of uncharted territory.

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Railroad Nostalgia, edition 1/3; plywood, railroad tracks and ties, LED light and mirrors; 100″ x 144″ x 41.25″; 2012

A Korean-born artist now living in Baltimore, Ahn uses mirrors and light to create illusions of deep infinity in works that are by turns meditative, perplexing or eerie. By positioning LEDs, fluorescent lights, or black lights between two mirrors in housings made of plywood, cast concrete or cast acrylic, he sets up reflections that repeat endlessly into the distance.

Few things are as fascinating, enticing, terrifying and unimaginable as infinity. Space travel and science fiction leap to mind, as does the infinite space inside our own minds. The son of a Buddhist, Ahn grew up with Asian ideas about the limitlessness of existence. In his early paintings, he explored the idea of infinity through hard-edge geometric abstraction, but by the time he was working on his MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art, he had begun positioning mirrors facing one another to create the illusion of infinity. It’s an old trick, gimmicky but handy in interior decorating for making rooms appear bigger. (You can even buy a ready-made infinity light mirror on the internet.) But it’s what Ahn does with it that makes it so intriguing.

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Void, edition 3/3; cast acrylic, LED lights and mirrors; 90″ x 71.5″ x 12.5″; 2011

Included in this year’s prestigious Venice Biennale, Ahn is one of several up-and-coming artists following in the footsteps of artists such as James Turrell, Dan Flavin, and Doug Wheeler, who began exploring the effects of light phenomenon on perception in the 1960s. His work doesn’t have the engaging ethereality of Turrell’s “St. Elmo’s Light,” installed at the Museum last spring, but like Turrell, he is less concerned about light itself than about the visceral experience of the space that light makes visible.

It’s a shame that the 13 works in the show have to share a single gallery space. Ahn is exploring several very different ways of looking at infinity, but whenever you try to focus on one piece, the reflections of pieces on the other side of the room distract you. In order to take in the full effect of any of these works, you have to imagine what it would be like to see it in isolation.

Some of the works are just plain fun to look at whether or not you consider their implications. “Dots,” with its grid of 20 disks, each a different color, repeating back into the distance, is a light-hearted meditation on deep space, while the multiple curves resembling a thumbprint in “Mirror Drawing #21″ turn a flat image into a fascinating, cavernous dance of shadowy channels disappearing into profound darkness.

Other works play with your head by presenting contradictory illusions of space. In “Forked Series #28,” a dusky pink fluorescent light slants across two slightly angled mirrors in a small square box so that the reflections above it climb backwards in an upward curve. It’s fun to play with—shift your gaze from side to side and you can see farther into the reaches of the ascending space. But below the fluorescent tube, a different set of reflections twist incongruously downward illuminating another phantom space at an impossibly mismatched angle. It’s as if you’re seeing two realities simultaneously.

Like a classic Zen koan, there’s no way to resolve the dilemma, but you’re bound to begin wondering about the nature of space. You know the deep space you’re seeing isn’t actually there, yet how is it any different from the boundless space we experience in thought, dreams and meditation?

The most striking of Chul’s works are the pieces that posit real space as the beginning of infinity. The life-sized “Railroad Nostalgia,” with its physical tracks and ties set in gravel receding via reflections into purple-black darkness, calls to mind so many things, from childhood walks on railroad tracks to the trackside tension of film noir, that you’ll be thinking about it for days. Even more potent is “Tunnel,” a terrifying jaunt into vertigo. Approaching this square cinderblock enclosure installed in the center of the gallery, you see fluorescent tubes lighting a ladder that leads down and down into a deeper underworld than you’d want to imagine. Quietly utilitarian from a distance, close up, it suggests a claustrophobic underworld of sewers, bomb shelters and escape tunnels.

Dots, artist proof; plywood, LED lights and mirrors; 61.75" x 77.5" x 6.5"; 2012

Dots, artist proof; plywood, LED lights and mirrors; 61.75″ x 77.5″ x 6.5″; 2012

With their glowing lights and shiny acrylic surfaces, many of these pieces feel cold and technological, not unlike the computer screens we stare at daily. Apparently this lack of warmth and humanity is a concern that interests Ahn, as he has recently begun a series of drawings done directly on the surface of his mirrors.

In “Mirror Drawing #23,” it’s almost a relief to see evidence of the artist’s hand in the spidery white lines radiating outward from a vertical ellipse in the center. Bright white against the deep black space, every nuance of each line is repeated again and again. This is one of his simpler “Mirror Drawings.” Others, more complex and not included in this exhibit, explore the stunning intricacies of repeated form in a way that the simpler, more geometric works cannot. The laws of physics take over with the repercussion that every mark Ahn makes is replicated infinitely. As if echoing another law, that of karma, the small actions of his hand have an enormous and apparently infinite effect. Like the glowing blue tunnel in “Void,” Ahn’s drawings suggest limitless space that is as full and alive as it is empty.

Both science and Buddhism are dedicated to questioning all phenomena. Ahn draws on both traditions as he weaves these various threads of inquiry together, searching out ways to hone in on an understanding of the human relationship to infinity. His works are by turns fun, techie, psychological and spiritual, begging the question, do all these paths ultimately lead the same way?

Troika Gallery Host 16th Anniversary Gala Group Show

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Troika Gallery continues to celebrate its 16thAnniversary Gala Group Show through December 31. Take an artistic journeythrough the visual treasures of the Eastern Shore and beyond. This show is arare opportunity to experience a complete re-hanging of the entire gallery andto see new original works by all 33 of the renowned regional, national, andinternational artists represented exclusively in the area by Troika Gallery.

This unique gallery displays a multitude of diversestyles and media—from traditional to modern, contemporary to classical realism,watercolor impressionism to Trompe‑l’œil—it’s all here under one roof.With endlessly varied subjects, there is something for everyone, includinglandscapes, marine, wildlife, still life, figures, florals, fantasy, portraits,sculpture, porcelain and more.

“Our artists are sought after by collectors and artenthusiasts across the country,” says gallery co-owner Jennifer Heyd Wharton.“Our Anniversary Show is always very popular, and we are grateful for sixteenyears of successfully featuring the finest of fine art.”

During the exhibit’s run, as paintings sell, they willbe replaced with new pieces, so stop by several times to see more excitingartwork.

Add a touch of artistic distinction to your holidaycelebrations and gift giving during this special show by giving the gift offine art. Or commission a keepsake portrait of loved ones. Gallery owners LauraEra and Jennifer Heyd Wharton create commissioned portraits, includingchildren, families, pets, and homes, in an open studio setting behind the main gallery.Come see current commissions in progress any time the gallery is open.

Visit the gallery on December 7 from 5-8:30pm duringEaston’s First Saturday Gallery Walk and enjoy fine art and holiday refreshments.

Troika Gallery is located at 9 S. Harrison Street indowntown Easton. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm andSunday by appointment. Artist portfolios and gallery information are availableonline atwww.troikagallery.com. For more information, emailart@troikagallery.com or phone at 410.770.9190.

“Bounty” by William P. Storckis one of many stunning works presented at Troika Gallery’s 16thAnniversary Group Show. A reception will be held December 7 from 5-8:30pmduring Easton’s First Saturday Gallery Walk. The exhibit runs through December31.

“Bounty” by William P. Storckis one of many stunning works presented at Troika Gallery’s 16thAnniversary Group Show. A reception will be held December 7 from 5-8:30pmduring Easton’s First Saturday Gallery Walk. The exhibit runs through December31.