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East City Artnotes: Touchstone Gallery Exhibition Celebrates 40 Years in DC

Touchstone Gallery's 40th anniversary members' exhibition. Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

Touchstone Gallery’s 40th anniversary members’ exhibition.
Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

Making it forty years in any business deserves a pat on the back.  Surviving (and thriving) as an artist-run gallery for that length of time calls for a celebration!  Touchstone Gallery in Washington, DC is celebrating their four decades of business with a members’ retrospective this month, capped off by an anniversary gala open to the public on May 13th.  Solo exhibitions by current members Paula Lantz and Colleen Sabo round out the visual offerings.

To honor 40 years of art-making in the District, Gallery Director Ksenia Grishkova has reached out to over 300 past and current members, inviting them to submit a small-scale work to exhibit alongside their peers.  The resulting exhibition features works from over 90 current and former members hung salon style on the gallery walls.  For new visitors, the exhibition presents a nice range of artistry in DC; for longtime Touchstone patrons, the show is a trip down memory lane.

A landscape vignette with works by (clockwise from far left) Robert Goebel, Amy Sabrin, Shelley Lowenstein and Chee-Keong Kung. Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

A landscape vignette with works by (clockwise from left) Robert Goebel, Amy Sabrin, Shelley Lowenstein and Chee-Keong Kung.
Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

No central theme links the works—abstracts, still-lifes and multidimensional work share equally in the spotlight.  Making a cohesive visual statement was no easy task for the gallery staff, but they have adroitly managed to hang works together that create interesting vignettes contrasting color, media or visual theme.  Among the most successful of these vignettes is a study of contrasting landscapes by Robert Goebel, Amy Sabrin, Shelley Lowenstein and Chee-Keong Kung.  With four different representational approaches and a mix of mediums, the artists define the concept of landscape in vastly different ways.  Notable too for its contrasting uses of color is another vignette featuring Ellyn Weiss, Tre, Mary H. Lynch and M. Alexander Gray.  Here raw color gives way to deep contrasts of light and shadow.

From Left: The Flea Market and Do I Know You? Paula Lantz Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

From Left: The Flea Market and Do I Know You?
Paula Lantz
Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

Rounding out the space are solo exhibitions from two current members of the collective.  In a room looking out to street you’ll find Do I Know You?, featuring nine fiery abstractions by Paula Lantz.  Her anonymous portraits in purples, greens and hot pinks come to life on the gallery’s white walls.  These contrast nicely with the more sedate landscapes and French-inspired street scenes of Colleen Sabo in an exhibition entitled A Few of My Favorite Things.  While Sabo’s more muted abstractions are fairly overshadowed by the other two exhibitions, they nonetheless offer moments of quiet contemplation, especially calming to the eyes and mind after viewing Lantz’s riotous colors.

Touchstone Gallery’s 40th Anniversary group and solo exhibition are on view through May 29, 2016 with a gala scheduled for Friday, May 13th from 6-8:30pm.  The gala is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit Touchstone Gallery’s website here.

 

Eric Hope
Authored by: Eric Hope

Eric Hope is a curator and writer based in Brookland. He moved to Washington DC in 1997 and a twist of fate found him a volunteer marketing job at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In 2009, after ten years of marketing work at large museums in DC he moved into the realm of curating, staging a variety of solo, duo and small-group shows for the Evolve Urban Arts Project. He currently freelances as a curator and writes about local artists and the DC arts scene for a variety of online publications. Originally from Missouri, Hope holds degrees in International Relations and Public Service Administration from DePaul University in Chicago.