The “Time Piece” series by Joan Dreyer is an ongoing project by the mixed media artist where she hand stitches tree bark collected over time. Each piece uses rings of stitches to create a circular pattern not unlike the rings of a tree. The hand stitched process creates a range of thick and thin rings that blend with the bark and create a kind of skin. Each piece is unique, while sharing similar qualities such as the small scale ( 5” x 5” x 2.5”), a palette of ochres, browns and grey and the silk hand-stitched backing on each of the pieces.
To paint a broad stroke, Joan’s art addresses life’s stages and the challenges that individuals face during the journey of their lives. Her work is subtle yet leaves a profound impact on viewers. The “Time Piece” body of work falls under what Joan has described as her “Mourning Series”.
I’ve felt that mourning was mostly about the loss of a person. My view expanded when I came across an essay by Nicole Davi called “Tree Clocks and Climate Change’ in “The Language of Trees”, a collection of essays, poems and drawings by Irish artist, Katie Holten.
Nicole Davi is a scientist who studies tree rings and travels to the far regions of the planet to measure tree ring samples from very old trees. Tree ring widths vary from year to year. ( In good years, the rings are wider than in tough years.) She describes tree ring records as “natural recorders” of climate – going back thousands of years. The records are one of the keys to understanding climate change in the past and what is possible in the future.
Climate change in our era has been “front of mind” for me this summer. While we’ve had impacts of extreme weather for some time – this year – it has become more and more frequent. In a way, I’m mourning a lost world and trying to figure out how to move forward in a time of uncertainty.
I’ve started thinking about the role of the artist in the era of climate change. How does it look? How does it feel? What do we mean when we talk about sustainability?
Joan’s Time Piece series reminds me of the cycles of life but also of our connection to each other, our past, our losses, our gifts but also our future.
We hope that you will join us this coming Saturday for an insightful conversation into the creative processes of Alonzo Davis and Chee Keong Kung at the Workhouse Center for the Arts in the Vulcan Gallery. There is plenty of parking at Lorton – North and South Parking Lots.
If this is your first time coming out to Workhouse, please check the campus map as well as the visitors information on the website.
Look for the Love Size on the campus central quad.
Alonzo J. Davis’ career as an artist spans four decades. A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Davis moved with his family to Los Angeles in his early teens. After acquiring an undergraduate degree at Pepperdine College he earned an MFA in Printmaking and Design at Otis Art Institute. Influenced early on by the assemblagists, Davis soon took wing and began to experiment with a variety of mediums, techniques and themes. At the suggestion of artist and former professor, Charles White, Davis began to produce prints and paintings in series.
While he was inspired by travel to Africa, the Caribbean and American Southwest—the colors and patterns of the Pacific Rim cultures also seeped into Davis’ artwork. During the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, Davis’ involvement in the California mural movement culminated with the 1984 Olympic Murals project. His Eye on ’84 is one of ten murals on the walls of the downtown Los Angeles Harbor Freeway.
Chee Keong Kung
Geometry and gestural mark-making are integral to Kung’s practice that is rooted in his training in art and architecture. Kung grew up in Singapore, where the rich diversity of cultures has indelibly shaped his approach to artmaking. He works with an evolving vocabulary informed by the cultural milieu and observations from natural and man-made environments. Kung is interested in the emotive resonance that grows out of the act of intent seeing and remembering. His process relies on discovery and invention while navigating the spaces between light and shadow, depth and flatness, and motion and stillness.
Kung’s works are in private, corporate, and institutional collections, including The National Museum Art Gallery of Singapore and The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.Born in Singapore, Kung studied art & architecture at the University of Houston and real estate at Cornell University.He lives and works in McLean, VA.
I am currently painting scenes of groups of people in Meridian Hill/Malcom X park. While researching the history of the park, I came across the phrase “a pleasure park” used to describe it’s intended use. The pursuit of pleasure is a survival instinct that heals and nourishes the soul. The pandemic from 2020 through 2023 disrupted so many lives, including my own. My paintings of Meridian Hill/Malcom X park depict Washingtonians pursuing natural and familiar pleasures including sharing meals, exercising, enjoying fresh air, rest and human connection. The paintings celebrate the joy of once again gathering in public spaces after too much time spent in isolation during the pandemic. “Don’t Tell”, “It’s a Family Affair”, “Take a Break,” and “You Don’t Say” depict scenes of reconnection and joy. They are about fun Sunday afternoons sharing picnic lunches with family and listening and dancing to the beats of the drumming circle in their beloved park.
“Through travel, I seek influences, cultural centers, energies, new terrain and the power of both the spoken and unspoken.”– Alonzo Davis
“The allure of creating is finding places that I do not already know.”– Chee Keong Kung
Vulcan Gallery, Workhouse Center for the Arts, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA, 22079
Open Latitudes: Mixed Media Works by Alonzo Davis and Chee Keong Kungpresents the work of two contemporary artists who share a commonality rooted in exploration, discovery and improvisation. The use of geometric forms, gestural mark-making, the exploration of the tension between 2 and 3D, natural and man-made materials as well as working in series are integral to both artists’ studio practices.
An enticing aspect of travel is leaving the familiar behind and experiencing a new place. Upon returning home, what was once familiar is somehow transformed through new eyes. Through their travels—literal and metaphorical–Davis and Kung have absorbed deep multi-cultural influences that have informed and enriched their work and processes. In the details and precision of their work, there is an expansiveness that extends beyond geographical and cultural boundaries to encompass the broader world.
What I reflect on with regards to climate change is my own naiveté. I began reading about the subject and meeting environmental activists over 30 years ago. My spouse equivalent now husband was working as an environmental activist and introduced me to a number of “big brain” activists who were sounding the alarm. I was naive because I never thought that the planet would be where it is today.
Extreme weather, the loss of ecosystems, the loss of beloved species.
It’s all here. It’s all now.
Sally Kauffman’s paintings can be viewed as beautiful works of art. You can enjoy them solely on the basis of her skill as a painter. I see them as a memorial that may lead to increased awareness of the level of loss. The hope is that awareness leads to action.
Sally’s show at Workhouse Center for the Arts continues through June 11th in the McquireWoods Gallery – W16.
I encourage a visit to the exhibit. Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Score explores 20 years of the work of Virginia based mixed media artist, Joan Dreyer. While developing her MFA thesis at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA, Joan began taking tools, techniques and imagery that have been historically considered “women’s work” and transforming them into innovative, contemporary art that is responsive to the tone and tensions of our times. Created by combining fiber techniques with unexpected materials like X-rays, her work is a subtle art that asks questions about life, loss, symbolism and the impact of war instead of providing one size fits all answers . The artist’s work provides a space for the contemplationof life stages that we all encounter. The result is a body of work that allows for meaningful but also multiple interpretations by the viewer.
For more information about exhibits at the Workhouse Arts Center or artwork purchase inquiries, contact Audrey Miller email@example.com. Follow Workhouse Arts Center on Instagram at @workhousearts, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WorkhouseArts and Twitter at @Workhouse_Arts. The Workhouse Arts Center is open to the public Wednesdays – Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm, and Sundays from noon to 5 pm. Free public parking is available. A map of campus can be found online here.
Workhouse Arts Center Announces New Art Exhibition Opening
Irreplaceable: Paintings by Sally Kauffman
Curated by Mary Welch Higgins
March 25 – June 11, 2023
Second Saturday Exhibition Reception, April 8, 2023, 4 – 6 PM
Lorton, VA – ( March 2023) The Workhouse Arts Center announces the opening of the new exhibition, Irreplaceable: Paintings by Sally Kauffman. The exhibition is on view from March 25 through June 11, 2023, in the Workhouse’s McGuireWoods Gallery (W-16). There is a public exhibition reception Saturday, April 8, 2023, 4 – 6 PM.
Irreplaceable is an exhibit of abstract yet allusory paintings by DC area artist, Sally Kauffman. Kauffman works in series and is known for paintings depicting groups of people engaged in communal activities. In her most recent series, she turns her eye to the plight of endangered and extinct species. Her high contrast color palettes and adventurous brushwork are reminiscent of the abstract expressionistic movement of the 20th Century. Yet her goal to increase awareness of the species represented in her work calls to mind Romanticism, a late 18th century artistic and intellectual movement that promoted the power of the creativity and the arts to raise awareness and thus transform circumstance.
By memorializing the energy, diversity and beauty of birds and butterflies in flight, cats, turtles and fish, she honors their place in our ecosystem while drawing attention to their plight. She recognizes that some viewers may simply enjoy the beauty of the paintings and animals represented. There may be others that do not notice the plastic bags and ropes entangling the turtles that are painted to represent just one of the ways that humankind’s actions have impacted the endangered animals. Finally, others may enjoy the paintings and decide to dive deeper to discover that these extraordinary creatures are threatened or already extinct. Kauffman’s paintings remind us that art has the power to raise awareness and create change.
Goodwin House – Alexandria from March 2 – April 14, 2023
Location: 4800 Fillmore Ave, Alexandria, VA 22311
Parking: Please park in visitors lot. You will need to sign in to enter the building.
On a recent trip to Seoul for a joint exhibition with Sunhee Kim Jung, I was asked what I most admiredabout South Korea.My answer was the connection between architecture and nature.The mountains surrounding Seoul, the trees, palaces, temples, traditional as well as contemporary architecture seemed connected – integrated.
After returning, I see Sunhee’s work exploring nature and our relationship to it in a new way.
Her series named The Island painted during the height of the pandemic is inspired by the Transom windows in her home.(The primary purpose of the transom window is to increase natural light. )
In this series, the viewer peers through the narrow window or “picture frame” to view nature.
Even when we are not in nature, the idea of it can create a sense of peace in the midst of solitude. Sunhee creates a visual poem by using color symbolically to represent different emotions that working together – create a haven for the soul.
I am please to announce that Sunhee’s Island series will be on exhibit at the Goodwin House – Alexandria from March 2 – April 11, 2023.
The Island Series paintings are available through Distinct Studios. Please visit Sunhee’s artist page to view details and to inquire about availability. Thank you for reading!
Window, National Contemporary Museum of Art
National Contemporary Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea. Photo Credit: Mary Welch Higgins
Mclean based artist, Chee Keong Kung was born and raised in Singapore where the rich diversity of the culture continues to influence the development of his art. His process defined by exploration and experimentation has resulted in an evolving body of work.
Within the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, he has developed a reputation as a painter whose works display a vast sense of light-filled space and dynamism through the use of geometry and mark making. This body of work was just the beginning of his development.
His work has pushed beyond the boundary of the canvas as he moves his paintings off the wall into the three dimensional space. He works in series where heextends an idea through multiple pieces. The Slow Light seriesare mixed media assemblages that utilizespontaneous mark-making on the surface of the wood with metal being added as a mark in 3D space.
Works from the Slow Light series are available through distinctstudios.com on Chee’s DS artist’s page.