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All-Media - June 2015

June All-Media Exhibit

  • Exhibit dates: June 3–July 6
  • Juror: Claire Kelly, Director of Exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery
  • Receiving: Monday, June 1, 6:30–8:30 pm & Tuesday, June 2, 10:00 am–12:00 noon
  • Opening Reception: Thursday, June 11, 6:30-8:00 pm

Exhibit links: View exhibit program  View exhibit images

Medicine Man, watercolor, by Tammy Wiedenhaefer. Winner of the Board of Directors Award for Best in Show.


Juror's Dialogue with George Miller

Maybe it was the influence of the approaching summer months, or maybe it was just chance, but a theme did emerge in this unthemed exhibition, said its juror, Claire Kelly. Even though the submitted pieces didn’t share a common style or genre, Kelly saw one thing over and over: light.

That light, or luminosity, became a deciding factor in Kelly’s decisions as juror. A dynamic or energetic sense of light was influential to a piece’s success in this exhibition, across all media and styles. Even the sculptural works, if not directly offering an element of light, carried a sense of radiance or luster that presented a luminous quality. In contrast, some of the unselected pieces appeared less dramatic in their use of light. Kelly also looked to the quality of craftsmanship, and aimed to include a broad range of media and subject matter. It was challenging to make the final few cuts to reach the number of works that the gallery space would allow, Kelly acknowledged.

One piece provided a prime example of what Kelly meant by luminosity: Medicine Man, a watercolor by Tammy Wiedenhaefer, which was recognized with the Board of Directors Award for Best in Show. The artist uses light in the sitter’s features to create an ambiance; the viewer is drawn in as though they are sitting around the fireside with this individual, mesmerized by the music and soft glow. That sense of engagement and interaction with the work through the use of light is what appealed most to the juror.

Claire Kelly is Head of Exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, overseeing the temporary and traveling exhibition programs as well as permanent collection installations. During her 30-year career at the Portrait Gallery she has worked on more than 200 exhibitions both on-site and traveling. She is currently working on shows that will be highlighted during the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary in 2018.

After many years as a guest lecturer at George Mason University, Ms. Kelly joined their staff in 2015 as an adjunct professor in the Arts Management graduate program.

Ms. Kelly received dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Art History and Historic Preservation from Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington) and a Master of Arts in Arts Management from George Mason University.







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