Five Must See Artists at the Transformer Annual Silent Auction and Benefit

Transformer Annual Silent Auction

Kelly Towles Pearls
On view at the Transformer Annual Silent Auction and Benefit
Image courtesy Transformer

On Saturday, November 21, some of the finest artists and most enthusiastic collectors of Washington, DC will converge on American University’s Katzen Center for the Twelfth Transformer Annual Silent Auction and Benefit. With the champagne flowing and the music streaming from DJ Natty Boom, Transformer, the gallery located on P Street NW in Logan Circle, will feature an impressive collection of over 200 works from DC’s leading contemporary visual artists. As a nonprofit organization, the auction is Transformer’s largest and most lucrative fundraising effort.

I was able to get a sneak peak of work from Transformer of a few of DC’s most notable artists included in Saturday’s auction.

Transformer Annual Silent Auction

Tang Untilted/Cueva
Image courtesy Transformer

1. The Minimalist: Tang

Tang’s work reminds you of the monsters under your bed in the most simple and delicate of ways. As one of the artists featured in both Transformer’s FlatFile program and the 2014 show Promised Land, collectors might be familiar with Tang’s work. His work is a collision of the dark construction of ones’ life with the lightness of nature’s most magnificent landforms. The result—Untitled/Cueva, Tang’s featured piece— is an image that could have jumped out of a dream. A past participant of the auction, Tang’s work is sure to round out any young collector’s growing repertoire.

2. The Rebel: Kelly Towles (See image above)

Those who are interested in DC art should know Kelly Towles. Best known for his unusual character depictions of people described by Towles as “individuals deal[ing] with the world around them,” the piece featured in this years’ auction, Pearls, is subdued by comparison. A contemplative portrait of a woman, that draws you in with a necklace that almost seems to glow around her neck. Towles has been permanently tagging the walls of Washington, DC with his signature characters, with projects such as The Art Yards and recently The Alley Museum in Blagden Alley. The auction will be an opportunity to take a piece of public art home.

Transformer Annual Silent Auction

Frank Day Air Stream Kayak
Image courtesy Transformer

3. The Veteran: Frank Day

Not only has Frank Day been featured in the Transformer Auction since 2011, but has been living and creating art in DC since 1989. His body of work is a mix of black and white complimented by rich, colorful landscapes. His work, featured in this years’ auction Airstream Kayak, is from his series RV that was recently shown at DC’s Addison Ripley Fine Art. Day describes the series as “an exploration of [an] American experience.” Airstream Kayak is definitely an incredible experience. Almost as if it were completely staged, Day captures the most dazzling light glowing from the RV. Its mystery, power and richness of color are what will set the piece apart from other featured photographs.

Transformer Annual Silent Auction

Matt Hollis Infinity Swirl
Image courtesy Transformer

4. The Florist: Matt Hollis

Perhaps an obvious title for an artist whose primary materials are synthetic flowers but his technique leaves you almost speechless. Being a florist is an art in itself but these works take this craft to another level. Matt Hollis creates “abstract-organic soft sculpture, photography, mixed media, and large scale installations in bright colors, faux flowers, and appealing textures.” The result—the brightest, most organic forms you’ve ever seen! Perhaps the most fascinating application of his unique technique and application is the complete transformation of his home and studio at 52 O Street. Hollis’ work goes beyond just the work featured in the auction; he transformed his studio into a full-scale botanical forest installation to display the series in a more natural habitat. A small part of a world that is alluring, colorful and whimsical will be yours to take home.

Transformer Annual Silent Auction

Margot Elsayd If Patsy Cline Were a Boxer
Image courtesy Transformer

5. The “Un-Traditionalist”: Margo Elsayd

If you saw a seemingly random staircase leading to nowhere while roaming the streets of DC in September, then you came into contact with the work of Margo Elsayd. “The Mobile Community Stoop Project” was launched with Transformer in September 2015 with E12: Social Practice to encourage strangers to sit and connect with their community stoop. While I’m hoping the stoop makes a special appearance at the auction, Elsayd will have a work from her Pate-tree-ark-ee beatdown series titled If Patsy Cline Were a Boxer. The gloves are a crucial piece of the body of work that the artist says pays “homage to strong, powerful women.”

In addition to seeing the work of these five artists, the auction is an opportunity for avid art enthusiasts to be up close and personal with the work of 200 artists. When so many incredible artists share their work in DC on a regular basis, it’s often hard to take it all in. The Transformer auction is a rare opportunity to see it all in one place and start or continue a collection.

The auction will take place at American University Katzen Center on Saturday, November 21, 2105 from 8-11 PM. Tickets are on sale at and for more information on the featured artists and the auction visit,

Provided courtesy of Art See.  Visit their website at


Elizabeth Carberry
Authored by: Elizabeth Carberry

Elizabeth Carberry is the founder and creative operations director of ArtSee, an arts management agency. Inspired by art in all its forms, Elizabeth’s passion for art and culture began as a child living in Milan, Italy, surrounded by the works of the great artists and has thrived in the Washington, DC community​. Elizabeth’s vision of ArtSee incorporates her three great loves: communications, curating, and art. Through ArtSee, artists and art enthusiasts will find an advocate and ally in its founder. Visit for more information..