November 15: Weekend Roundup

Before we officially start winding down the year and get into the holiday season, we have one exciting ArtSee weekend coming up! Here are a few things to keep you busy this weekend while the weather stays chilly...


Transformer 10th Annual Auction and Benefit Party

As we already mentioned, and chose our favorites for, Transformer will kick off our weekend with their annual auction party that fundraises for the small but mighty P Street gallery. With 200 artists bringing their best, brightest and most original pieces, it is an amazing opportunity to meet new collectors, artists and other arts enthusiasts. And a great excuse to look fancy and party on a Friday night! For more information and tickets click here


MOVING ART: A Talk with George Hemphill It's hard to ignore the impact that George Hemphill and the artists he represents have had on the Washington DC art community. But how did he get to this point? On Saturday, November 16 at 10 AM, George Hemphill will share his perspective and journey of what it takes to be an art dealer. Don't miss it! Click here for more information.  

PJ Burns at The Dunes A good friend to ArtSee and a very talented emerging artist, Patrick "PJ" Burns will open his solo show at The Dunes for one night one. On Saturday from 5-8 pm, don't miss the chance to see home of his latest work (featured image above). He is a mixed media artist that creates work in a true pop art fashion with subjects that can be anything from abstract, to literal to almost comical. For more information visit his website here

CURIO at Heiner Contemporary To round out a successful 2013, Heiner will open their last show of the year CURIO, a group show featuring Christine Gray, Sue Johnson, Caitlin Teal Price, Olivia Rodriguez, Esther Ruiz and Julie Wolfe. Exploring and twisting the 16th and 17th century cabinets of curiosity, the exhibition explores why certain things are collected. Each artist will explore a different collection from a different perspective. To see what they put in the "cabinet", don't miss the opening Saturday from 6-8 pm, click here for more information.  

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


The [Home] District

The Hemphill Fine Arts on 14th Street recently had an exhibit titled “Artist-Citizen, Washington DC.” This exhibition explored how artist interact with our nations capitol, a city that they regard as home. Wandering through the third floor gallery space the walls were not covered with images of the monuments as I expected, rather faces. These faces are what make up the city: it is not the buildings that create the political powerhouse that is D.C., but it is the individuals who have become passionate about the government and state of our nation. D.C. is a beautifully diverse city filled with unique personalities.

Within the first room was an entire wall filled with photographs of individuals dressed in what can only be described as the power suit. I remember my first visit to D.C. what truly captivated me wasn’t the monuments, or the historical sites, not even the museums and galleries (don’t get me wrong, these things are amazing), it was the people. I remember sitting on the metro around 9:00 am and watching all the men and women dressed in suits, caring brief cases and looking so purposeful as if today and every single day in the District was the opportunity to change the world. All these sophisticated people on the metro, during rush hour, were going to do just that. Their lives had purpose. I wanted to walk into the world that intentionally, determined, and purposeful. So here I am, living in D.C., looking at this piece on the wall of a small local gallery, and it was able to connect me to that initial emotion that drew me into the city.

In the Hemphill’s exhibit, each artist did an impeccable job capturing and expressing the essence of Washington D.C, an aesthetic that may be foreign to those who have not lived and loved this city. By shifting the focus of the art onto the people and landscape rather than objects so often featured when discussing Washington D.C. “Artist-Citizen” was able to reach the viewer on a more human level. Reminding all citizens that we are surrounded by the diversity and beauty of politics, arts, and history: being woven together to form a home.

In the press release for the exhibit, Hemphill states: “As we mark HEMPHILL’s 20th year, we are encouraged to think about the gallery’s investment in Washington—investment not only in the art community, but in the city at large…Through these visually rich and provocative art experiences, we hope to demonstrate how the Artist-Citizen engages us in the conditions of our community, revealing our connectedness, and enhancing our well being.” As a D.C. resident, and more importantly, someone who has found a home in this big city, “Artist-Citizen was one of the most impacting exhibitions I have seen, portraying the true emotions of Washington D.C. 



 Abby Green

Through the Window of Steven Cushner's Creative Process

On January 9th, to kick off the new year, I attended the Hemphill press breakfast to do a write up on their latest show for our affiliate post on Borderstan.  It only took minutes to realize that Steven Cushner’s show was one of, if not, the best show I had ever seen in a gallery in Washington, DC.  In case you have not had the chance to see it yet, his work in this show includes large, symmetrical, over powering and familiar works on oddly shaped canvases.  It was only a week ago that the work of Steven Cushner’s genius started to come together.  Visiting Steven in his home studio, I was able to really understand his creative process and get a sneak peak at what he is currently working.

After seeing the show at Hemphill, it surprised me that one of the first things that Cushner told me was that his relationship with color goes back as far as he can remember and at times can get out of control.
  His studio is surely full of it, different from the muted tones of his current show. Every space on his wall is covered with his latest pieces and watercolor “sketches” of the images he hopes to put on canvas. Color, color and more color!  With the overwhelming color in his studio, I immediately wanted to know what led to his, almost entirely, black and white work currently at Hemphill.  This work came from an overload of color in the early 90s that Cushner says included work with awful, crazy colors.

Cushner’s work is very physical and gestural but he considers it “fake gesture”.  He tried to explain that the “fake” part comes in the editing stages of his work.  He explained that each of his works consists of many layers and most works may have even started out a completely different, color, size or shape.  He often has trouble figuring out which colors to use and where to take them, even if that means eliminating them all together. 

My favorite work currently in Cushner’s studio, is hardly a work in progress. In fact, if it doesn’t find a home, I hope to own it one day!  It is a work that he hopes will evoke the idea of infinity and a forever journey.  His inspiration was very clearly mountains and like the work currently at Hemphill, Cushner very deliberately worked on creating a drastic sense of space with illusion.  While the colors were more muted that he thought the final product would be, it was captivating, calming and gave the feeling of seeing a gorgeous sunset.  Like the work at Hemphill the works size in itself is truly remarkable and powerful.

Working with smaller canvases is more difficult for Cushner.  In our discussion of his technique, he expressed several times that he was more comfortable with large canvases and that they just feel right.  Clearly, the large-scale works translate in a truly unique and powerful way, whether in color or, as currently seen at Hemphill, in black and white.

I was honored to have had the chance to look through a small window of Steven Cushner’s creative through process. His show at Hemphill will be through March 9, 2013 and is worth everything minute spent sharing the space with his works of shaped canvases.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


Small Works Make a Big Impression at Hemphill

Hemphill Fine Arts

Current Exhibit: “Keeping It Alive” by William Willis and “Works on Paper” by Steven Cushner are showing June 8 to July 28, 2012 at Hemphill.

William Willis, Spiral, 2011-2012, 12” X 16”. Courtesy of Hemphill.

Highlights From the Show:  We were very drawn to Willis’ “Spiral” (pictured above) for it’s dynamic geometric construction. The piece sells for $5,500.  We also loved the delicate symmetry of Cushner’s “Untitled” (pictured below). We are thrilled for the artist and the gallery for the piece has sold!

Steven Cushner, “Untitled,” 2012, 21” X 17 3/4”. Courtesy of Hemphill, now sold.

A Little About the Artists:  William Willis’ work is driven by experiences both individual and universal across cultures. His use of graphic geometry stems from his personal reverence for the primitive, the ritualistic, and the repetitive in forms and shapes. Willis is well-represented in public and private collections throughout the country, including locally at The Corcoran Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection.

Steven Cushner’s works on paper are a visual testament of the possibilities of painting and process. His works transcend the paper medium as complete and meaningful works of art. Cushner is also well-represented in public and private collections throughout the country, including locally at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and The Corcoran Gallery of Art.

For more information on the exhibit and the artists, please visit Hemphill.

Bringing the Art in DC to you,