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Remains & All-Media - April 2011

April 2011 features two exhibits; an All-Media Exhibit and a second exhibit titled, “Remains.”

For a complete list of artists in the All-Media exhibit click here.
April 2011: All-Media Membership Exhibit
- from The Art League Gallery's flickr

For a complete list of artists in the "Remains" exhibit click
April 2011: Remains - from The Art League Gallery's flickr

Juried by J.W. Mahoney
Jurors Dialogue with Erica Fortwengler

Merri Nelson, "Osprey Skull 2"

“With the wide range of work in contemporary art today, I expect to see things I’ve never seen before when I jury a membership show. Today I saw so much credible, radical, uniqueness in the artwork submitted – I wasn’t even remotely disappointed,” stated J.W Mahoney, juror for the April 2011 Remains exhibit.

Mahoney was excited to see what would be created for the theme. Found object sculptures, collages, and photographs were expected, but beyond that was the unknown.

He was pleased to see common subjects and objects placed in a fresh and surprising context, such as Web Bryant’s painting, “Remains of the Day,” which depicts the skull of a steer in the shore with the Washington Monument falling in the background. “These insights into an artists’ psyche are intensely meaningful.”

The majority of works in this exhibit are meditative on the subject of remains, on death. They prove that even in death, objects don’t loose their internal beauty. “Works of abandoned buildings, bones, skulls… things that were once alive and vibrant have found beauty again in, and after, death.” Merri Nelson’s delicate drawing, “Osprey Skull #2,” was awarded The Marshall Award. “Nature is beautiful in all its stages. Even though this once living, breathing, vibrant being has been reduced to a skull, it’s still beautiful, but in a different way.”

Mahoney is an artist, writer, and curator in the Washington, DC area. A graduate of Harvard University, he has exhibited his work in the United States for over 25 years. Additionally, he is an active independent curator who constantly encourages younger artists and assembles new and unusual contexts for their works. He writes for numerous publications, including Art in America, ArtNews, and Art Papers. He is an educator at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Mahoney is known and admired for his visionary mind and unusual eye and has had a tremendous influence on the cultural life of Washington, DC and its environs.

All-Media Exhibit
Juried by Farar Elliott
Juror's Dialogue with Megan Fox

Farar Elliott, curator of the House of Representatives and first-time juror at The Art League, was impressed with the skill level, variety, and quality of work presented for the April All-Media Membership Exhibit. She appreciated being able to see two works by many artists; she liked being able to see more of the depth and breadth of what artists were doing.

As Elliott began her selection process by glancing over the submitted artwork, she was intrigued by the number of artists addressing human impact and interaction with the environment, what she called “hands on the land.” Even in non-figurative or abstract works, she was drawn to pieces with an implication of human interaction. In all the pieces she selected as Honorable Mentions, she found the common denominator to be the various ways artists can impose order on essentially infinite possibilities of interpretation: from the grid format of Alice Kale’s “Circle of Life,” to the containment of color within the boundaries of the bus window in “City Light” by Tom Roberts, these works embody the synthesis of people interacting with various environments.

Elliott stated that she was drawn to Nancy Pane Forwengler’s “Flamenco,” winner of the Carol Bruce Pastel Award, because of its strong, radiating pattern and distinct feeling of tension between the layers of fabric and the physical qualities of pastel. “It takes guts to work with layers of fabric with what is basically a flattening medium…[Fortwengler] confirms that the pastel is sitting on top of the paper while successfully presenting the illusion that the layers of fabric are moving through space.”

“Dried Leaves #18” by Joseph O’Neil appealed to Elliott because of its purity of form and stripped down nature. “I’m a line person,” stated Elliott, “This image has compelling line, and the artist has successfully created stark beauty without the help of other factors.”

Overall, Elliott appreciated the choices that artists made in their differing manipulations of a particular medium and sought to highlight the possibilities within each medium. She selected works that had a strong element of line and looked for a balance between works with an organic, lyrical line and those with “an abstraction of the human element.” In her “real job,” Elliott sees art and historical objects on a daily basis, and drew similarities between curating for the House and jurying for The Art League: “I am consistently humbled by the variety of things people can do, and do well…What we make will be around longer than any of us will.”

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 14, 6:30 - 8:00 pm





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