Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) will host Wayson R. Jones as the first artist of its new Inside the Artist’s Studio, a monthly virtual residency series. Wayson is a well-known and well-regarded, DMV painter. He has exhibited extensively throughout the area both as a solo artist and in group shows. Beginning August 24, 2020, Wayson will take over CHAW’s instagram @CHAWinDC for a week to bring us into his studio in Brentwood, MD. This virtual experience will offer insight into Wayson’s influences, processes, and materials. Upcoming virtual residents include Paolo Morales, Photography, September 21-25, 2020 and Zia Palmer, Photography, October 19 – 23, 2020. For more information, please visit www.chaw.org.
Wayson paints on paper, canvas, or wood panel with work that embodies abstraction as both a process and an end. The paintings contain a feeling of weighty, massive presence, achieved through contrast, texture, and scale. His compositional approach is reductive: the image area is often divided by a horizontal line, which can vary from broken to hard-edge. The restriction of compositional choices allows for spontaneity and improvisation: with the exception of the rough sketches that begin many of the portrait-like works, there is no initial plan or outline.
“Wayson’s work is innovative and expressive,” says Ellen Cornett, CHAW’s Gallery Manager. “The surfaces of his paintings are rich and evocative. They have a mystery to them that I find very intriguing.”
Ellen continues, “The goal of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Inside the Artist’s Studio Residency is to show how working artists create—giving visitors, students, staff, and faculty insight and inspiration into process. Speaking for us all, we are excited for the virtual residency to begin.”
Wayson R. Jones is a painter, musician, and spoken-word artist. He received a degree in music from University of Maryland and later went on to perform with renowned poet Essex Hemphill, as part of Washington DC’s burgeoning Black gay and lesbian arts scene of the 1980s and ‘90s. The two performed in venues including dc space, Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center, The Painted Bride (Philadelphia), LACE (Los Angeles), and LaMama Theater (NYC), and appeared in works by groundbreaking filmmaker Isaac Julien (Looking for Langston) and videographer Marlon Riggs (Tongues Untied, Black Is/Black Ain’t). Wayson also collaborated with other members of DC’s downtown arts scene, including choreographer “Ajax” Joe Drayton, poet/filmmaker Michelle Parkerson, and vocalist Christopher Prince. He worked with producer Dorothy Green, whose documentary King Stories was broadcast on National Public Radio in 1996 and again in 2016. Wayson’s visual art is informed by these experiences and by an exuberant approach to materiality and process. He has participated in group shows at the University of Mary Washington Ridderhof Martin Gallery, University of Maryland David Driskell Center, and Indiana University East Tom Thomas Gallery, and has had solo shows at BlackRock Center for the Arts, Arts/Harmony Hall, and the Northern Virginia Community College Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Gallery. Wayson is the recipient of a 2017 Individual Artist Fellowship from the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council. His work has been purchased by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Maryland/National Capitol Park and Planning Commission, MGM National Harbor, and The Hotel at the University of Maryland, and is in private collections in the DC area and nationally.
Since 1972, the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) has provided arts education to thousands of children and adults in the Washington region, especially from the greater Capitol Hill area. Through classes, performances, and exhibitions in visual and performing arts, CHAW brings together diverse segments of the population to connect through the transformative power of creativity. CHAW offers a tuition assistance program and flexible payment plans. CHAW is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. CHAW is a featured charity in the 2014-2015 Catalogue for Philanthropy, mentioned as Best Venue to See on the Cheap in DCist’s 2014 Best Theater Venues in DC, the 2015 & 2016 winner for Best Arts Class in the Washington City Paper Readers’ Poll, 2014 & 2015 Hilly Award winner for Best Arts Organization/Venue, the winner of the 2017 Irene Pollin Community Engagement Award through the NSO, and the recipient of the 2019 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Arts Innovation and Management program.