Opening Reception: Saturday, January 28 from 5pm to 7pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, February 11 at 11am
A wide ranging discussion of topics moderated by curator and artist Isabel Manalo and gallery owner Christopher Addison with four of the artists in Manalo’s exhibition Holy Inventions, currently on display. We will discuss practices and intentions as well as commonalities and curatorial input with artists Caitlin Teal Price, Ian Jehle, Tom Bunnell and Cheryl Edwards.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Leo Bersamina, Tom Bunnell, Cheryl Edwards, Ian Jehle and Caitlin Teal Price personally and professionally for many years, through the many overlapping roles we hold as visual artists. It is through these many deep and lived experiences I have with each one that inspired this show titled “Holy Inventions”. Each of these artists are practicing in their art a mindful and creative trajectory that falls within a system of laws they have designed for themselves over a period of many years. And because of the contrast and similarities between each of their work, I am excited to be able to bring them all together in one space that is so familiar to me. The space of Addison Ripley Fine Art Gallery in Washington D.C. A space that is akin to an art home where I have had the privilege of exhibiting since 2007 as an artist myself.
When I look at art, I find the system of this language – of what each artist has invented – to be what brings forth their most genuine and sincere self. What I am seeking and have seen in these five artists is a dedication to true invention. Invention from an exploratory mode of discovery that one associates with scientific laboratories, and not always with the artist’s studio. I believe good artists embody the minds of a philosopher, psychologist and anthropologist all at the same time. These disciplines, as with art, require a keen dedication to a long term investigation and a true commitment to exploration and discovery.
While each of these five artists makes reference and reverence to historical canons, each of them have devised and engineered a system of research that expresses a language that for me, is holy.
Holy as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as well as Wikipedia is:
- Worthy of complete devotion and trust
- Set apart to the service of God or a god : sacred
- Respected as sacred.
In this context of holy, it is about trust. Oftentimes when we enter an art museum, we are encountered by that sensibility of worship akin to entering a church; something sacred. There is this obligatory devotion visitors subjectively encounter as they cross the threshold of the hallowed halls of art history or contemporary art. What I am touching on here with these five artists, is not that kind of religious holiness or anything transcendent, but rather a grounded connection to their process through which they genuinely create that imbues not only authenticity, but trust.
What these five artists share is a collective drive for truth in their art. There is so much at stake today, 2023. Too many artists approach their work with fear, with hopes of attention and simple Capitalist intentions. I am thrilled to present these five artists because of their ability to create work that is confident in their voice, their process, and their ideas as it speaks not just to truth, but IS truth.
There is truth in the knowledge that these artists and their deftly made works are all working in conversation within a framework that for me, is forever enduring, questioning, and rigorously everlasting in our visual and cerebral memory. Not transcendent, but firmly grounded in their corporeal humanity and existence as inventors of artwork that speaks volumes to an individual truth, that in the end connects us all and ultimately will remain within the archive of our cultural and societal milieu.
Isabel Manalo, 2023
Addison/Ripley Fine Art is located in Upper Georgetown on Book Hill at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Reservoir Road.