Local Artist

2014 SwatchRoom Salon Artist: Donna K. McGee

Artist Donna K. McGee creates richly saturated paintings, primarily traditional and minimalist abstracts that trap a powerful, nostalgic quality inside them. McGee uses muted colors that make you feel as if you are watching a fading scene, that is slowly moving away from you.

In her talks with ArtSee, McGee really honed in on the ideas of mentorship, inspiration, and evolution that were critical in her success as a painter.

These are probably three of the most important facets an aspiring artist can seek out or experience and we are so fortunate that McGee shared with us. 

ArtSee: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met/know in the DC art scene? Why?
Donna K. McGee: The most interesting person has to be my mentor of twelve years, Helen Corning [McGee's favorite artist as well]. She was an abstract artist and instructor at the Yellow Barn at Glen Echo.  She died three years ago at the age of ninety. She taught classes and had a solo in Maine the last year of her life.  She was able to help every student in her class to find their own artistic self.  Each of us are are abstract students today, and each of use have a different style of painting. 

A.S: What is the biggest inspiration for your art?  
D.M: The total aesthetic awareness of nature inspires me.  There is every color and texture imaginable in nature.  When I  paint I delve into the images that color and textures create on the canvas.  It becomes a magical experience.

A.S:  Speaking of colors, what is your favorite color?
D.M: That is a difficult question to answer.  I use lot of blue in my work, but sometimes I like to concentrate on one color and see how far I can go with it.  Bronze, gold, red, white...it becomes alive and pops when one color is juxtaposed to the next.  They all become a favorite.

A.S: What do you think has changed in your art career and your work since the beginning of your career?
D.M: I am braver. It is a very scary thing to put your work out there for others to judge. In the beginning I was more aware of "what the viewer would say" or "what would sell", instead of making it totally my creation. I am far more adventurous with color and texture.  I discovered, that as  I continue to stretch to new levels, those who have purchased my paintings continue to support my work. I have to be true to my self and continue to stretch to the next level.   

A.S: Lastly, what are you most excited for at the Salon Party?
D.M: I'm excited to be part of this opening where I have the opportunity to show my work to a new audience, and to meet others who are interested in local artists.

The SwatchRoom Salon is a three-day celebration of local and emerging artists, designers, and collaborations and giving back. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You

Mica Hartman

The Built vs. Natural Worlds: Pam Rogers and Radio Sebastian at AAC

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As many of our readers know, I am a HUGE fan of Radio Sebastian. I featured several of their pieces on my holiday wish list last year for Panda Head Magazine (which were later acquired by the DC Art Bank). This summer, they teamed up with Pam Rogers to open the two-person show Agri Interior at the Arlington Arts Center on June 29. Radio Sebastian will continue the show with a live Ikebana arranging on Thursday, September 12, 2013, followed by a closing reception on Saturday, October 12, 2013.  Their mixed media exhibition explores dual realities through ruptures in the intersection of the built and natural worlds.

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Pam Rogers is an AAC artist in residence that first showed together with the dynamic artist duo Radio Sebastian in 2010 at Hillyer Art Space. For their new show, Radio Sebastian and Rogers created pieces for this show that incorporate their past experiences into artwork. They are true mixed media artists using plants, rubber, polymer clay, books, video, and wall paneling. In this exhibit, Rogers and Radio question familiar reality and ask the viewer to look at what lurks beneath—whether it delights or makes us eerily uncomfortable.

"Faint Fields Faucet no. 5"; 2013; Sculpey on fixtures

Described as one of the highlights of the Arlington Arts Center's summer exhibits by Pinkline Project, Agri Interior will, on September 12, host a live Ikebana sculptural experience.  Directly in response to their organic work, Reiko Blackwell will create flower sculptures in the traditional Japanese style. “Viewers are encouraged to come appreciate the harmony of line, color and shape as they learn about Ikebana [and] sip wine,” says the Arlington Arts Center.

 I personally am looking forward to seeing how the show’s end will coincide with the great vision of these artists. See you there!