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.
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 email@example.com with questions.
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.
Theresa Martin is an artist based in Arlington, Virginia with the ability to create collages with a poignancy that evokes memory as well as mystery.
Her influences include echoes of Jospeh Cornell, Kurt Schwitters,and Lenore Tawney. Using “found” portraits, she creates halos from numbers and symbols and thereby transforms the work into a secular devotional icon.
As a graduate of the Corcoran in the mid-80’s, Theresa has honed her creative skills utilizing a wide range of media. Most recently she has been experimenting with open source AI tools into her work.
The collages in the video are available through distinctstudios.com. You can see the collection of additional available work at her DS Artist’s page.
The Ostinato and Coda Series by Fiber and Conceptual Artist Sarah J. Hull Exhibition Dates: July 5, 2022 through August 15, 2022
Exhibit Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday July 30, 2022, 2-4PM
Distinct Studios Fine Art is pleased to present Sarah J. Hull’s Ostinato and Coda series in the Small House Gallery of Goodwin House in Alexandria, Virginia in July and August of 2022.
Sarah has a background in architecture, science and visual art. She received her BA in Architecture from Wesllesley College with pertinent course work at M.I.T. Her varied background informs her work including her explorations of music.
In her art, she explores the rhythmic variation in our daily lives. Using natural fibers and hand embroidery stitches, each work explores it’s “objectness” with the tension created between hand-stitched materials and the structure of the underlying grid. The resulting work creates a mediative presence.
In her process, she begins with a concept that has has inspired her. She then follows that idea in a series of works that create an iteration of the theme. The Ostinato series demonstrates this process elegantly. In music, an Ostinato is a short melodic phrase repeated throughout a composition, sometimes slightly varied. A rhythmic Ostinato is a short, constantly repeated rhythmic pattern. In the Ostinato series by Sarah, she uses the concept of repetition with slight variation to create fiber based works that hold their own as single works but displayed together form a visual melody.
Sarah currently lives and works in Washington DC. She is active in the art community through the District of Columbia Art Center (DCAC),
nationally through the New York based National Association of Women Artists (NAWA), and internationally through the UK based Society for Embroidered Work (S.E.W.). Currently, she is enrolled in the Royal School of Needlework’s Certificate & Diploma program and was a member of the 2019 – 2020 DCAC Sparkplug cohort. Most recently, she successfully presented an independent solo exhibition of her most recent series The Topologicals at Studio 1469 in Washington DC and was one of the artists in Distinct Studios first group exhibition in 2022, Before, During, After at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virgina.
A print is a work of art that can be created on a surface like wood, metal, stone or glass and then printed on a press, by using a roller or even pressed by hand.
The monotype is a printmaking technique that lends itself to invention. Unlike other techniques such as lithography or etching where an image is fixed into the surface or “matrix”, an artist works with inks on a surface likes glass or metal. Because the image is not fixed,the artist can work with the materials by layering, incising into the ink, wiping and reapplying ink until the impression is pulled. When the artists runs the plate through a press or adds pressure to the plate by hand, the resulting print is a unique work of art.
The connecting thread through all of Adjoa J. Burrowes work is an intimacy with materials and invention through exploration and radical experimentation. The perfect creative process for a technique like monotype. Her use of materials is also intertwined with her themes of identity and the anxieties inherent in contemporary times. The reclaimed plastic used to create texture and layering in monotypes like “ Winds of Change”,“Behind the Eight Ball”and Run Down and Run Over” echo her concerns for the climate crisis and the damage wrought by overconsumption. Her hand cut stencils with spirals forms, and what appears to be scratching into the ink in her recent monotype “Changing Current” brings us back to a sense of wonder and admiration for the beauty of nature. It reminds us of the cycles of life and provide a glimmer of possibility and hope in the future.
Degas, A Strange New Beauty, Jodi Hauptman, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016
To see other monotypes by Adjoa J. Burrowes visit her artist’s page.