Gallery Openings and Events

VisArts Presents Kim Llerena and D.B. Stovall

Kim Llerena, Big Sur, CA (photographers, 2), 2015, digital C-print, 19x19". Courtesy of VisArts.

Kim Llerena, Big Sur, CA (photographers, 2), 2015, digital C-print, 19×19″. Courtesy of VisArts.

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Opening Reception and Artist Talks: Friday, July 24 from 7pm to 9pm

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VisArts presents a two person exhibition featuring the photography of Kim Llerena and D.B. Stovall. The two artists examine the American landscape and built environment from distinct conceptual and physical vantage points. The exhibition runs from July 15 to August 16. A reception and artist talks are scheduled for July 24 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Kim Llerena’s series “Rust Sun Bible Corn” builds on her examination of the dual implications of the photographic medium as memory and aspiration, denotation and description, art and snapshot. In this exhibition, she uses a collection of photographs of the American west to open a dialogue between the human need to construct and define a relationship to the landscape. The photographs hint at an American road trip, a series of glances that become the thread between small sites. Llerena subtly references the traditional and contemporary uses of the photograph as souvenir, Instagram post, proof, fact and object of contemplation through manipulation of format, label and subject. Each print is a square recalling Polaroid instant pictures and the currently ubiquitous Instagram post. The photographs, many of small towns, invoke nostalgia and a search for more information about the time, importance and specificity of the site. The labels are plaques that resemble historical markers giving the small insignificant sites significance beyond the evidence provided in the photograph alone. The information on the markers, culled from online Wikipedia entries about each location, reinforces the subjective bias of the photographic collection and raises questions about the authority behind the label. “Overwhelmingly we defer,” says Llerena, “to the implicit dependability of the published word.” Llerena’s collection of photographs trips through time and space calling into play our own journeys between unrelated sites.

The signs and architecture in D.B. Stovall’s recent photographs are decidedly retro. They suggest the past, but they exist now. Stovall uses a large format camera to document the American architectural vernacular with pristine clarity and stillness. Time seems to stop and move into the past at the exact same moment. Sharply cut, deeply saturated colored shapes of building, sign, sky, door, window and shadow, are fixed with an intensity that feels otherworldly, monumental and hometown ordinary all at once. The eye slows down and gets lost in the time warp. Where Kim Llerena probes the inconsistencies, paradoxes and veracity of the photographic medium, D.B. Stovall stands very still, points the camera directly and trusts it to capture the truth.

About the Artists:
Kim Llerena is a photographic artist and educator currently based in Washington, D.C. She received her MFA in Photographic & Electronic Media from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA in Journalism from New York University. She serves as faculty in Visual Literacy at American University and in Electronic Media and Culture at MICA. Llerena has exhibited nationally and was a 2014 finalist for the Trawick Prize in Bethesda, MD. Her work frequently examines dual implications of the medium: memory and aspiration, denotation and description, art and snapshot. www.kimllerena.com

D. B. Stovall, a Washington, DC area native, bought his first camera at age 10 – a Rosko purchased for 88 cents at Murphy’s Five and Dime.  Quickly moving on to various Instamatics, an old Leica D, and finally Japanese 35mm SLRs, Stovall explored various aspects of black and white photography, becoming adept at all kinds of darkroom work by the time he entered high school.  Stovall was introduced to the view camera at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the very early 1970s and by 1974 moved on to large format (4″x5″) color transparency in a realism-based vision, which he still practices today.Since there were few good methods of getting high quality archival prints from transparencies during that time, Stovall did not pursue exhibition opportunities and eventually stopped making images entirely for a fairly long period.  He returned to the view camera and started producing new work in the mid 2000s and was able to make prints closely matching the produced transparencies using modern computer and printer technology.  Stovall started entering the new work into juried exhibitions at the beginning of 2008 and since then has been in more than 100 juried shows all over the US as well as several  solo exhibitions.  The November 2013 solo show at the Hillyer Gallery in Washington, DC was judged as #5 of the 10 best photography exhibitions of 2013 in Washington by Louis Jacobson of the Washington City Paper. www.dbstovall.com

Gallery Hours:

  • Wednesday & Thursday: 12 – 4pm
  • Friday: 12 – 8pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: 12 – 4pm

VisArts at Rockville is located three blocks from the Rockville Metro station at 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD. For information, please visit www.visartscenter.org or call 301-315-8200.

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