2014 SwatchRoom Salon Emerging Artist: Dominique Fierro

To get everyone revved up for ArtSee's latest collaboration with Hierarchy and SwatchRoom, we conducted a series of interviews with some of our favorite, participating local artists.

Artists chatted about what they're most looking forward to at the Salon Party, who inspires them, and all sorts of other insider tips on how they unwind, great spots in DC and so on.

The first artist we spoke with is Dominique Fierro, a photographer and designer. Fierros has a wide range of work, extending from high fashion photo shoots to fine art photography.

ArtSee: Since you've been at it for a while, do you have any words of wisdom for new artists?
Dominique Fierro:  Keep at it, nothing that’s worth it will come easily and you have to have a tough skin. It is critical in art no matter what you are doing to have patience and perseverance, the perfect shot can occur by pure accident or through painstaking time and preparation.

A.S: What's your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon when you're not working?
D.F: I love to go for brunch with my husband and tromp through the woods with him and my furry four legged son.  

A.S.: What're you most excited for at the Salon Party??
D.F: To see all the other talented artists around DC.  

Dominique's will be showing on Friday night at Hierarchy from 7pm-12am. To preview Dominque Fierro's work, visit her site here

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 


"Play By Play" Reveals Childhood Idiosyncrasies

Children are anything but angels.

Any mother, father, aunt, grandfather, older sister or brother has had the experience of seeing little Johnny rip off GI Joe’s head, and young Caroline strip Barbie and Ken of his and her clothes. 

Opening at Project 4 on January 11, Play by Play exposes the humor and darkness present in childhood playtime

The first exhibition curated by DC-native and ArtSee alumna Kayleigh Bryant in collaboration with FLEX, the temporary exhibitions group led by Calder Brannock of Camper Contemporary, this group show highlights the taboo gap between childhood innocence and adult reality, by re-contextualizing such mature themes as war and sex, within the context of children’s play.

Entering the first floor of the two-story exhibition space, the viewer is confronted with Amy Hughes Braden’s poignant portraits of children and their parents.

Academically trained as a portrait painter at Pratt and the Corcoran, Braden has a unique ability to render harrowing emotion through painted facial expressions. Instinctive feelings of sorrow that leap off the canvas and assault the viewer are deepened and emphasized through shaded areas, highlighted with bright blues, fiery reds and neon yellows. Gazing at Braden’s paintings, one experiences the sense of solitude that is so common to children and teens coming out of innocence.

“They have this kind of like eeriness, like there’s something underneath. There’s a little darkness,” said Bryant of Braden’s work. 

Amy Hughes Braden, "Bridget (Shy)" (2011- 2013) Amy Hughes Braden, Madonna of a Questionable Descent (2013) Amy Hughes Braden, Reed (2013)

Just when Braden’s Bridget (Shy) and Reed settle into the viewer’s psyche, he finds himself in the upstairs gallery, cheerfully lost in the whimsical worlds of Bridget Sue Lambert, Mark Williams, and Janelle Whisenant.

“I think there is a lot of playfulness happening in the art world now, and I think the idea of humor has been graced as a legitimate form of expression or form of talking about social issues,” said Bryant.

BSL, let me knowBridget Sue Lambert, I Never Thought It Would Feel This Way (2012)

Lambert’s large-format pigment print Let Me Know offers a glimpse into an empty bedroom. The black and white color scheme, speckled with a burst of red color from the lamp and flower on opposing sides of the room, creates an image of sophistication. However, open drawers and miscellaneous items on the floor complicate the image and the viewer wonders what transpired to leave this room such a wreck. Upon closer examination, one notices handcuffs and a Bible lying on the bed, illuminated by an unknown light source.

Taking the new discoveries into consideration, along with the realization that this is no ordinary bedroom, but is in fact, that of a dollhouse, it becomes impossible to resist the temptation of a coy smirk. 

“They’re meant to be a little over the edge of what people are comfortable with,” explained Lambert who says her artworks, in which she stages and photographs dolls and dollhouses, use humor, sincerity, and playfulness, to explore relationships.

Lambert’s dollhouse environments are apt counterparts to Williams’ staged toy soldiers, sometimes manipulated with play-doh, other times appearing alongside plastic animals.

Mark Williams, Beach (2003)

“I started going to Toys R Us and seeing how war toys were expanding and how camouflage started becoming much more popular. I even saw camouflage Easter Eggs,” explained the Connecticut-based Williams, who, while in graduate school at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, created the works in response to the US invasion in Iraq in 2003.

Williams’ deliberate choice of materials was informed by his awareness that items like toy soldiers and play-doh were becoming increasingly available to young children during wartime, and that children often stage toys in shocking compositions, such as Butt Plug, in which a soldier kneels on one knee with his gun touching a horse’s rear.

Mark Williams, Butt Plug (2003)

Like Lambert’s sexually curious dolls, Williams’ soldiers are posed in jest, yet retain somber undertones. In United Nations, a dark green soldier is surrounded by plastic animals — ducks, donkeys, rabbits, dogs and deer — poking fun at the idea of the United States as an ego-centric entity capable of ordering the animal-like nations of the world to do America’s bidding.

While Lambert displays her final artworks as large-format photographs that enthrall the viewer with minute details of settled dust on door frames or glimmering reflections in mirrors, Williams’ 4 x 6 inch one-hour photos, and his small-scaled diorama with a 4 x 6 inch opening revealing a black-lit interior battle scene, entice the viewer to interact with the images on a personal level.  Furthermore, the viewer is reminded of ways in which families used to send memories to their loved ones over seas, prior to the popularization of printing digital photographs at home.

Rounding out the exhibition, the fiber-based sculptures of University of Maryland, College Park MFA Candidate Janelle Whisenant provide an extra dimension within the exhibition space

Janelle Whisenant, Self Serving Mediocrity (2013)

Made by manipulating stuffed animals, pulling them apart at the seams, and turning them inside out, Janelle’s action-based sculptures articulate the process many children enact when altering their own toys, whether out of anger or curiosity. Placed among Lambert and Williams' satirical artworks, Whisenant's tormented sculptures spark conversation with Braden's somber paintings downstairs, reminding the viewer that a child's subversive play may not simply be, all fun and games.

Splendidly curated by Bryant, Play By Play inspires controversial and socially relevant discussion, while keeping the joyful spirit of the naive child alive. As Williams says, “As an artist, you’re always told while you’re working, that your innocence is at play. It’s very imaginative and harkens back to being a kid and doing your own thing,”

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Roxanne Goldberg

Play By Play opens with a reception with the artists January 11, 7:00 - 9:00 PM, at Project 4 Gallery, 1353 U Street NW.

The exhibition runs through February 1. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday- Sunday, 12:00 - 6:00 PM.

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


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.

RadioSebastian04 (1)


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! 

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

Exploring our World through Photography: Reporters without Borders 2012

Currently inside the Warner Theater, a gallery for fotoweek, with an exhibition called Reporters without Borders is on display. Upon entering the exhibit, I felt as if I stepped back into time and was able to travel to every significant event the world has seen since the 1950’s. The show span through multiple rooms and down several hallways, allowing anyone so intrigued to spend an entire evening pondering the faces and places that each picture depicts. 

Since Reporters without Borders has been a show since the fifties, the front room presented works from each past year. Before evening examining this year’s work, I became lost in events that I had only every read about. Events like the Rwanda genocide, JFK’s assassination, the Bosnian genocide, and the Iraqi war were depicted in manners that caused a serge of emotions; it was an intense awakening to the realities of our world. For one to see and truly grasp the beauty and destruction that the world has witnessed is so powerful and vital to becoming world citizens. These photographers are more than artists; they are storytellers, writing a history that is legible in all language.

Moving on into the gallery, this year’s featured artist works are hung all around, there were small rooms dedicated to different locations, artists, and events.  The giant prints surround the viewer and can temporarily let them drift into the location in which the photograph was taken. One photo that captivated me was an image of four Haitian women who, due to serious injuries in the 2010 earthquake, were amputees. The women were all dressed in brightly color clothing and stood in a line, upon first glance they looked rather jovial; than peering closer, I noticed a pain that could be seen in the eyes of each woman, and then I noticed the missing limbs. They stood together in an exercise class; overcoming hardships and showing the strength they have as individuals and as symbols of their nation’s resilience.

The earthquake that devastated Haiti is only one of the recent events that Reporters without Border documented. These events are life changing, and crucial to how our society exists. These artists do amazing work that allows the world to become connected and for citizens of all nations to begin to conceptualize how others live and what they have endured in there lifetime. Reporters without Borders is on display until Sunday, November 18th and guarantees to be one of the most moving photography shows of the year.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


Andy Grundberg and The Art of Curation

The Hillyer is an intimate gallery hidden down one of DuPont’s bustling streets. On Monday, November 12, Andy Grundberg was the featured curator in this month’s Curator Lecture Series. In an open room of the gallery with paintings surrounding the audience, Grundberg spoke about a wide range of topics related to art and his career. Although it was not a one-on-one conversation, it was a comfortable and casual atmosphere in which it was acceptable for the audience to ask any question that crossed the mind. 

            Andy Grundberg is a curator and professor at the Corcoran School of Art. His lecture focused on photography as a fine art. Soon it became clear why he is such a well-respected curator. Not only is he well educated about the arts, he is passionate about them. Grundberg spoke with precision and elegance describing the significance and value of photography in the fine art world. He stated, “Photography is swimming in the same pond as contemporary art.” Keeping the talk personable and relatable, he also added in many details about the history of photography becoming a fine art. He mentioned Andy Warhol’s use of photography in screens in paintings and how that was when they first entered the realm of fine art in the 1960’s. This was an arena in which someone with a degree in fine arts or art history could learn so much, but also someone who had little to no background in the arts would be able to comprehend and enjoy Grundberg’s lecture.

During the talk he discussed not only his career path but also specific artists whose exhibits he has been the curator of. One of the most famous photographers he has worked with is Anne Leibovitz. He graciously discussed what an honor he thought working with a living artist was, and admits that it was one of his first goals as a curator. Although what he did not expect was the challenges that living artist pose when setting up an exhibit, this he comments on with a chuckle, and state this helped him improve his compromising skills.

            As he proceeds on with the lecture, a slide show of exhibits he was the curator for is playing. Occasionally he’ll stop to admire some of the work and tell a story. One of Leibovitz landscapes crosses the screen and he drifts into a story about the dark beauty of her photography and how she views things in a transcendentalist manner. At one part while discussing Leibovitz landscapes, he stops and looked up at the audience and said, “the beauty of the outside world is perceived in different ways, therefore each artist can bring something different to a photo.” His passion translates to the audience, encouraging us to look closer at a picture. After an hour that went by surprisingly quickly, Grundberg thanked the audience and the presentation comes to a close.  

Bringing the Art in DC to You,



Looking for great local, affordable and generally awesome photography? Look no further…

Last Wednesday night, DCist launched their 6th annual photography show Exposed at Longview Gallery.  I snuck in a little late but just in time to enjoy the awesome photography that was selected this year by local, emerging photographers.  The music and flowing beverages helped too!

This year there were some stellar standouts in the crowd; among them were Ryan Maxwell, Markus Krisetya, Henry Throop and Ivan Sciupac.  Each of these pieces really stood out to me for several reasons, their color, content and angle of each image really stuck.  Ryan Maxwell’s Prepare for Liftoff is not immediately recognizable by any means and really takes you a minute to figure out what he is depicted where as Henry Throop’s Weathering the Storm is just simply beautiful and slightly ironic considering the lack of snow this year in our fair city.  Also, chosen as the cover image for this year’s guide to Exposed, Ivan Sciupac’s Stairway to Lincoln just grabs you from the minute you see it with a blue sky so beautiful that you wish you had been outside with him the day it was taken (or could at least bottle the color for a rainy day).  My personal favorite however? Drum roll please… Markus Krisetya’s Untitled of our infamous President Lincoln bobble head, known best for beating Teddy Roosevelt at every home Nationals game, descending the lengthy escalator of one of our metro stations – wonderful image!

Although I selected all of the cliché DC pieces here there were so many that really stood out! I suggest stopping by Longview any time before April 1 when Exposed closes to take a peak and every piece is reasonably priced around $175 so definitely bring your wallets!

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


PS – Tonight at Longview join them for a panel discussion sponsored by Pink Line Project with distinguished DC artists and patrons to learn about collecting photography. 

PPS – this year’s program is available in addition to the 5-year anniversary additionfrom last year – together just $30! 

Seeing the City through a Different Lens

October 26, 2011

Most people do not see gritty urban areas as the subject matter of art. Kate Boone, on the other hand, has based her entire body of work on them. A D.C. native, this photographer thrives in surrounding cityscapes, turning often decaying cement landscapes into thought-provoking imagery. Her use of distinct compositional elements and the documentation of street art capture the raw essence of the city and draw in the viewer.

Boone has always been a photographer, even at a young age shooting images with a Polaroid camera. Of this long-standing passion, the artist says “Even when I was a kid I would experiment with taking pictures of sewers and random trash strewn about. For me, there is something poetic that triggers me and it comes naturally to simply call it art.”

Inspired by the upcoming FotoWeek DC, ArtSee will be hosting Kate Boone and an exhibition of her photographs during Sundays with ArtSee on Sunday, November 13th.  In light of this event, we wanted to ask Boone some questions about what drives her work.

Our Shadows

ArtSee: How does something inspire you for a good “shot”?

BOONE: It has to strike a chord with me. Usually my photographs have something to do with words, or a place that triggers a memory.

ArtSee: Is your camera always with you…just in case inspiration comes along?

BOONE: Nine times out of ten it is with me. Whenever I go anywhere other than to work and back pretty much.

ArtSee: I notice that different cityscapes are a recurring theme in your photographs (Baltimore, Philly, etc.); what is it about urban areas that drive your work?

BOONE: I am a city girl and to be quite honest, I really like dirty, grungy places. I like the rawness of the streets and love to capture what people usually look as unwanted and show that at least someone finds it endearing.Stuck

ArtSee: How do you believe composition plays a role in your photography?

BOONE: Composition is a major part of my work. There are so many street photographers out there that you have to have something different to be set apart. For me this is the way they are displayed as miniatures and pink captions for that extra pop.

ArtSee: Do you ever create the “subject matter” (often street art) in the photos yourself? Or do you prefer taking an outsider’s perspective?

BOONE: I would never set up a photo.

ArtSee: What’s your favorite picture you’ve taken?  Or, which do you believe best represents your body of work?

BOONE: It is a Polaroid of a guy I used to know about to get hit by a train.

ArtSee: Do you have a favorite graffiti slogan you’ve come across that really stuck with you?

BOONE: There are so many, one that has definitely resonated with me is “Never date a bartender” outside some sleazy dive bar in NYC that has since been shut down.


The Last Time I Saw Ryan


Don’t miss Kate Boone and ArtSee at Veritas Wine Bar on Sunday, November 13th from 5-7 pm! Check out our Facebook invite if you wish to RSVP.


Bringing the Art in D.C. to You,


Kendall E. Willey

We have arrived! ArtSee in DC’s Launch Reception!

This Saturday, July 16th, all artists and arts enthusiasts are invited to a launch exhibit to welcome DC’s newest fine arts community.  ArtSee is celebrating its first art exhibit with a cocktail reception and raffle for a photograph of the Washington DC landscape by Brad Kehr.


The focal point of the evening, however, will be the work on display of three fantastic artists: painters Kristin Lubsen and Blair Sutton, and photographer Wil Scott.


Kristin’s vibrant, figurative paintings focus on the interactions between her subjects, and reflect on seemingly intimate moments in today’s society that is perpetually “connected,” yet paradoxically suffers from emotional detachment. Her images can be both familiar and haunting in her ability to capture the psychological tension in relationships.



Wil Scott, a DC photographer, uses effects of light, rich colors, and composition to achieve stunning photographs of different landscapes and architecture from his travels around the world and the local DC backdrop. In his own words, Scott captures the “complexity, contradictions, and fleeting beauty” that can be found in the natural world; scenes we see every day, from a new perspective or through a “new lens,” so to speak.


Blair Sutton uses vibrant colors and experiments with different media to achieve bold and unexpected textures resulting in vivid abstracted imagery full of movement and life. Her work and specifically her experimentation with pigments and how they play off of each other or work together can vary from the playful, to the serene and contemplative.


This should be a great party and exhibition to celebrate the ArtSee in DC launch! We’ll look forward to posting photos from the event next week.