Eternal must accept reconstruction, it must welcome alterations and it must be content with new meanings. Western civilization has given merit to itself through a union between object and eternal that leaves a taste of fake-nostalgia in one’s mouth. In their recent exhibit titled Fake Empire, hosted by Cultural DC at Flashpoint Gallery, collaborative duo and spouses Brian Barr and Lauren Rice expose the significant obsession Western culture has with object appraisal, and retort with a new stance on moving forward without losing evidence of what once was.

The sixteen-piece installation conceptualizes the decomposition of object material by using many mediums. Drywall, wood, altered and aged books and images of Greek Art and Architecture reinforce how transitory material truly is.  In contrast to marble, the elitist and grandeur limestone that Greek sculpture is associated with, non-permanent resources reflect the acceptance of decay and transformation. Barr and Rice have taken the images and objects of Western society’s past and manipulated them into collages that convey the impact of time and space with object attachment. This deconstruction in turn reconstructs a present memory that is based on one’s personal relationship to an object in order to connect society’s individual affiliations as one.

The piece Æ ties together both of these concepts in it’s title and it’s aesthetic. Although no longer used today, the Latin ligature Æ was used to bring together the letters ‘a’ and ‘e’ to form a cohesive vowel. The origin shows how the English language has been restructured and altered over time to fit current language requirements. Perhaps Barr and Rice are hinting at a process possible to apply to our imagery as well. Although the piece itself is a distorted configuration of Greek imagery, it is inevitably uniting imagery of the past with new form from today.

Fake Empire is a must-see for a weekend gallery exploration for those unafraid to reflect on their perception of the past.  Showing until December 21st Tuesday- Saturday from 12 to 6 pm at Flashpoint Gallery.

Bringing the Art in DC to You (as a guest),

Amber Gabrielle Niewald

Flashpoint: (e)merge preview

Hotel rooms are odd spaces as temporary homes for visitors to foreign places or familiar faces seeking moments of escape.

When an art fair enters the hotel framework, as does the Capitol Skyline Hotel at the (e)merge art fair, the hotel room takes on another totally strange personality, that of a temporary art gallery.

While some exhibitors at the third annual (e)merge art fair elect to have the furniture taken out of their assigned rooms-turned-booths, other galleries challenge the artists they represent and exhibit to adopt the hotel room persona into their art.

“We spend a lot of time talking about how to negotiate the space,” said Karyn Miller, director of visual arts and communications at CulturalDC. “We’ll be acknowledging the fact that it’s a hotel room again.”

Flashpoint, the gallery space managed by CulturalDC, has been exhibiting at (e)merge since its inaugural fair in 2011. That first year, Baltimore-based artist Lisa Dillin installed a structure over the bed, inviting visitors to sit and contemplate the work from a comfortable setting. At this year’s fair, collaborators Lauren Rice and Brian Barr will also be utilizing a bed space, while pen-and-ink artist Dana Jeri Maier has specifically requested to show her work in the bathroom.

“In some ways it’s an exciting challenge for these artists to show work in these contexts,” said Miller, “It asks them to present work in a really unorthodox and potentially awkward space and making it work.”

In her curatorial process, Miller considered ways in which to merge upcoming artists in Flashpoint’s fall exhibition schedule, with themes that are socially relevant.

Though all three artists work in different media and use different inspiration as diving points, each engages with the appropriation and remixing of found images, text, conversations and objects.

Sonya Lawyer purchases family photo albums at auction in an effort to ‘rescue’ her ‘ancestors’ from predatory purchasers who buy and divide the photographs in the album in order to re-sell individual photographs at higher prices. Sonya incorporates these photographs into her work, which is focused on the process of hand dying cotton fabric.  The resulting compositions are strong, emotive works that cause the viewer’s mind to wonder in curiosity about the anonymous figures, presented in concurrence with intimate fabrics that retain a sense of human touch through texture and color. Similarly, Lauren Rice and Brian Barr collage found images and remix them in order to create new contexts for objects already in existence.

Dana Jeri Maier does not draw in a studio, but instead takes her practice into bars and coffee shops, where she appropriates overheard conversations and general surroundings into the artwork she produces while absorbing these various stimuli.

“These artists are really interested in providing new meanings and understanding that meaning is never a fixed or static thing,” explained Miller, “Meaning is something that is constantly changing and evolving.”

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Roxanne Goldberg 

Weekend Round-Up: April 19, 2013

Friday, April 19: Opening: Anna Tsouharakis’s EDGES OF THE EPHEMERAL at Flashpoint Gallery 916 G St. NW // 6:00- 8:00 PM Anna Tsouharakis explores the narrative connections that Native Americans have to the diverse facets of identity as it relates to their residence of Washington. After “collecting data” from the local Native community, Tsouhlarakis merges her findings in a full gallery installation that exemplifies a unique look at Native identity by combining a quasi-scientific survey with the real and historic role of oral traditions.

Saturday, April 20:

Curator Talk: Matthew Smith at Heiner Contemporary 1675 Wisconsin Ave NW // 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM To mark the close of Concrete Abstract, that curator Matthew Smith will discuss the themes behind the show, his decisions to include the works in the exhibition, and common threads that bring the show together The works in Concrete Abstract cultivate a non-representational visual language that emerges from familiar ready-made objects, whether these objects are found or alluded to compositionally.

Opening: Sean Smith and Dafna Steinberg in Million Dollar Cupcake and Eat What I Feel at Doris Mae 1716 14th St. NW // 6:00- 8:00 PM Sean Smith’s new solo exhibition will be accompanied by an eating performance by Dafna Steinberg.

Opening: Smoke & Mirrors: James Busby’s Solo Exhibition 1326 H St. NE, 2nd Floor James Busby’s new solo exhibition explores geometric patterns and selected colors within monochrome schemes to create complex and interesting optical illusions

Opening: James Turrell Perspectives at Academy Art Museum 108 South Street, Easton, MD Take a road trip to Easton, MD for the opening of James Turrell Perspectives, a new exhibition of the internationally-acclaimed light and space artist James Turrell, that features a new installation entitled St. Elmo’s Light, as well as many other works never before on public view, including a room of holograms, a site-specific light installation, a selection of photographs and plans and a set of bronze and plaster models related to the Roden Crater project in Arizona.