hamiltonian gallery

May 10/11: Must Sees

The art forecast is calling for a compelling weekend jam packed with fresh ideas and creative concepts. Be sure to check out our must sees for the weekend:

Opening this weekend:

Hamiltonian Gallery, The Salon of Little Deaths
1353 U Street, NW
Open May 11th – June 15th, 2013 (Opening reception May 11th, 7-9pm)

Matthew Mann and Milana Braslavsky revitalize the enduring genres of landscape and still life with a contemporary approach in The Salon of Little Deaths, an exhibition on view at Hamiltonian.

Matthew Mann investigates narrative and the pictorial vocabulary of painting through disjointed landscapes, dead birds and eruptions of foliage on fields of luminous color. The result is a collection of cryptic works that speak at once to art history and visual perception in the digital age.

Milana Braslavsky‘s seductive photographic still lifes of fruit on tabletops are replete with quiet violence, sexual tension and a wry sensibility. Contrasting the delicacy of ripe fruit with crisply folded linens and household objects, Braslavsky’s sumptuous photographs function both as still lifes and evocative portraits of unseen personages while communicating themes of desire, loss and decay.

On view now:

Heiner Contemporary, STASH
1675 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Open April 26th – June 8th, 2013

Heiner Contemporary is pleased to announce STASH, an exhibition pulled from the gallery's flat files and storage, featuring work by Polly Apfelbaum, Ingrid Calame, Tara Donovan, Deborah Kass, Kate Shepherd, Jon-Phillip Sheridan and Austin Thomas. STASH diverges from typical programming by presenting artwork that is usually viewed by appointment only. From Polly Apfelbaum's bright floral woodblock prints to Tara Donovan's intricate relief print from a pin matrix and Austin Thomas's intimate journal pages, STASH features an array of artistic practices and pursuits. Together, the works reflect the gallery's aesthetic interests and demonstrate an over-arching concern for color and pattern.  (Cover photo courtesy of Heiner Contemporary, Ingrid Calame)

The Fridge, …with love and care
516 ½ 8th St, SE
Open May 4th – 26th, 2013

with love and care is an international group show curated by DC-based artist Astrotwitch. The show features seven artists from places as far as Sao Paulo and Berlin known for creating hand-painted posters to put up on the street.

In an era when it’s simple to print hundreds of copies of a poster, these artists continue a slow production process that creates one-of-a-kind public art that will decay with time, or, more typically, will live on the street for a few weeks before it is stolen or buffed out.

The show will feature original posters, photography of the artists’ work found on the street and a poster mural on the façade of The Fridge.

Participating artists include N.O Bonzo and Circle Face (Portland, OR); MAR! (Los Angeles, CA); Galo (Sao Paulo, Brazil); Alaniz (Berlin, Germany); and DECOY and Astrotwitch (Washington, DC).

Last chance:

The Phillips Collection, Angels, Demons, and Savages: Jackson Pollock, Alfonso Ossorio and Jean Dubuffet
1600 21st Street, NW
CLOSING May 12th. 2013

The Phillips Collection dives into American abstract expressionism to reveal a little-known but captivating story that focuses on the relationship among three of the movement’s seminal players: American painter Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), American artist and patron Alfonso Ossorio (1916–1990), and French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985). Featuring 55 paintings and works on paper from 1945 to 1958, the exhibition illuminates a key moment in postwar art. It reunites a number of works by Pollock and Dubuffet from Ossorio’s collection for the first time since they were dispersed after his death in 1990.

Angels, Demons, and Savages highlights visual affinities between the artists’ work, tracing the impact of Dubuffet’s art brut (art by the mentally ill and other so-called outsiders), the experimental spirit of Pollock’s technique, and Ossorio’s figurative language. As the focal point of the art world shifted from Europe to America, the exchange among the three helped bridge the widening gap between the continents.

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


Artist of the Week: Jerry Truong

A mannequin’s legs are placed on the hard, cold floor. The left is positioned at a rigid horizontal angle, and the calf floats inches from the floor. Meanwhile, the right stands vertical, the heel of the foot reaches for the ceiling, somehow filling the negative space between the physical form and architectural limits. Lipstick red acrylic paint is messily applied in a straight line, passing over an obstructive hole that appears to have been ripped, and cutting near a disturbingly blunt and truncated hip.

Jerry Truong’s 2010 Untitled (Bien Girl) is exemplary of the DC-based artist’s artwork, which seeks to “peel back the formal façade” with the goal of raising “new questions about history, memory, and identity” and gaining “a deeper understanding of our roles within a civil society,” according to the artist’s statement.

A Hamiltonian fellow since 2012, Truong’s work, as part of the gallery’s current exhibition, Social Studies, develops nuanced uses for everyday classroom objects such as transparency projectors and cheap plastic school chairs.

Juxtaposed photography and video works by Annette Isham, Truong in Social Studies succeeds in confronting the viewer with many political questions facing the contemporary educational system.

A blackboard reads in traditional cursive, “I will not create dissent,” causing the person looking at the work to reflect upon times in his own schooling when she was punished for ‘creating dissent,’ whether the act was truly disruptive, or simply one of genuine misunderstanding or worse, creative curiosity. Across, a more hopeful mantra is written, “I WILL ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING AWARENESS EMPATHY.” One must consider whether the dichotomy between the seemingly conflicting statements, one inevitably by the student, the other by the instructor, are inherent opposites, or whether the possibility for conflation or negotiation exist. The question presents itself once again in Truong’s choice of capitals. Is the teacher receiving instruction, is he convincing himself of the task, or is the goal truly sincere?

Truong raised similar questions in his recent work To the Cryptic and Cynics, a Modest Proposal For a New Kind of Revolution, in which selective word choice following the proverb, “I WILL ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING AWARENESS EMPATHY,” allowed Truong to pay homage to the great artists and writers of the 20th century who used teaching as a principle tool in their own creative practices.

In admiration of architect Buckminster Fuller, who rejected the conventional education system mid-century and consequentially came to teach at Black Mountain College, where he was able to emphasized individual intuition, Truong writes in white vinyl letters on white polyester film, “TAKE THE INITIATIVE/GO TO WORK/ABOVE ALL/CO-OPERATE.”

As a teacher at Montgomery College, Truong believes that he and other instructors have the power to “direct a new generation of free thinkers to grow into positive and active contributors to our civil society.”

And now, the DC arts scene is looking to Truong, trusting him to direct our educations, to challenge us with his installations, and to engage us with his word-based art.

Social Studies is on display until March 23, 2013 at Hamiltonian Gallery, located at 1353 U Street NW, open Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00- 6:00 PM.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Roxanne Goldberg 


'Call + Response' Challenges Artistic Norms

Recently opened at the Hamiltonian Gallery on U Street was the third annual “Call + Response.” Writers and visual artists are paired together for a unique experience: the writer creates a work - the “call”, and the artist creates a work in return - the “response.”

This year for the first time ever the writers were invited to see the artists’ responses and then create a final re-response to complete the exchange. At the gallery opening the audience was encouraged to continue the exchange by using pieces of paper to create a “call” in response to the exhibit, for which their neighbor would return a “response.” All of these paper exchanges are now tacked onto the gallery walls.

Artist exchange permeates the entire exhibit. During a vivid opening panel discussion the writers and artists were surprisingly forthcoming about the collaborative experience.

Though it is obvious that the artist pairings were not randomly selected, most of the pairings admitted that the project was a significant departure from their normal creative processes — some even claiming that the whole experience changed the way they think about their art-making.

In spite of the fact that “Call + Response” is only open for 2 weeks, it is not a mere blip on the D.C. art scene. The artists’ lack of simply creating direct illustrations to accompany the authors’ writing reveals a surprising aesthetic moving away from visual narrative.

Each pairings’ work is somehow a distinct, yet related, entity. The masterful collaborations of “Call + Response” not only encourage artists involvement - but also invent new modes for artistic demonstration.

The artists included in the project are: Michael Kimball (writer) and Trever Young (artist), Reb Livingston (writer) and Matthen Mann (artist), Danielle Evans (writer) and Lisa Marie Thalhammer (artist), Amber Sparks (writer) and Yay Team! (artists), Kyle Dargan (writer) and Mia Feuer (artist). “Call + Response” was open at the Hamiltonian Gallery from June 2 - June 16, 2012. The Hamiltonian Gallery is located at 1353 U St. N.W. Washington, D.C.

Bringing the Art in DC to You