2018 March Exhibitions at IA&A at Hillyer

By Editorial Team on February 26, 2018
Work by Anne C. Smith. Courtesy of IA&A at Hillyer.
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Reception: Friday, March 2 from 6pm to 9pm
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Hillyer presents three solo exhibitions opening on March’s First Friday, featuring new work by local artists Sarah Jamison, Anne C. Smith, and Jeff Hensely. Smith’s To Bend/To Fold is an exhibit of new drawings and sculpture that challenge the first glance; silvery, graphite lines are inscribed into a dense and velvety ground of charcoal–line by line, building luminous structures that fit just inside the boundaries of their environment. The graphite images appear and disappear, changing with the reflection of light. Jamison’s colored pencil series, Ubiquitous, investigates the constant feed of images and data through digital devices, juxtaposing the traditional fine art media against pop culture imagery. Hensley’s Indexical/Aura uses traditional burnishing techniques to create works that interact with the existing architecture of the gallery, artificial lighting, and the intervention of objects and paintings to create a situation for a drawing to occur. Guests can meet the artists at the reception on Friday, March 2nd from 6-9pm, during Dupont Circle’s First Friday Gallery Walk, sponsored by La Prima Catering.

To Bend/To Fold by Anne C. Smith (Washington, DC)
To Bend/To Fold is an exhibit of new drawings and sculpture by artist Anne Smith of Washington, DC. Architectural and enigmatic, the linear structures of Smith’s work challenge the first glance. Their precision and economy are upset by the strange logic of their construction. Smith presents a world in which these structures exist precariously, at the edges of balance, tension and symmetry.

In her drawings, for example, Smith inscribes silvery, graphite lines into a dense and velvety ground of charcoal — line by line, building luminous structures that fit just inside the boundaries of their environment. The tension is physical and visual: as one moves in relation to the drawings, the graphite images appear and disappear, changing with the reflection of light. From certain points of view, the linear structures embedded show brightly, while from other points they recede into the depths of their ground. These images elude stability.

Through abstraction and memory, Smith taps into what she sees as a lifelong challenge and call: to trust in uncertainty, to expand against perceived limits, and to find strength in the ability to bend.

Ubiquitous by Sarah Jamison (Washington, DC)
Sarah Jamison regards the internet and digital media to be a unique vessel for culture to exist, evolve and be archived simultaneously. In these digital spaces, information intertwines in such a way that we often have little separation between current events, internet vernacular, memes and humorous content, celebrity gossip, images, and fact and fiction. We contribute to and consume this content in an unending loop – interacting instantaneously with endless information is unprecedented in our history; and yet, it is our societal norm.

These intersections have inspired Sarah’s current body of work, Ubiquitous, which investigates the constant feed of images and data through digital devices. It is her belief that through our perpetual media engagement, there is a universal language where everything from cat videos to Kim Kardashian “Breaking the Internet” is immediately understood. She seeks to reorganize and reinterpret these images, selecting a variety of recognizable or notorious images and phrases and reassembles them to create a homogenous piece. Sarah carefully renders these drawings in colored pencil, juxtaposing the traditional fine art media against the pop culture imagery. Her pieces are the exact size of an iPhone screen – arguably the most popular vehicle by which the content she addresses in her drawings is consumed. Sarah’s intention is to create artwork that is at once spontaneous and serious, vapid and complex, emulating our culture’s relationship with social media down to the last detail. In her artwork, she strives to blur the lines of “high” and “low” art – to marry unconventional themes with traditional practice. Sarah seeks to create pieces that are snapshots of our culture, presented in a way that allows the viewer to consider familiar concepts through a new lens.

Indexical/Aura by Jeff Hensley (Ellicot City, MD)
The framework of Indexical/Aura takes a close look at the “index” and the “aura” in order to reflect how each of the artworks address the theme of allographic mark making. The work presented uses existing architecture, lighting, and the intervention of objects and paintings to create a situation for a drawing to occur. The aura, as it appears in the essay, “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by the German cultural critic of the Frankfurt School, Walter Benjamin, describes it as “the presence of an object in a specific time and place. Each object has its own unique ‘aura’. The aura of each object can be lifted through the use of the camera. The index, like the aura, is connected to an actual object. However, while the aura evokes a general feeling of a specific object, the index leaves a physical trace of an object. What is interesting about the aura and the index is that these two phenomena can both become detached from their point of origin. Yet, they differ in one small way: the aura of an object is its total impact or impression and the index by contrast is closer to that of a trace of anything that is left behind.

Using Walter Benjamin as a point of departure, Hensely will install burnished graphite paintings and gilded bars on the wall to interact with the galleries artificial light to make a mark on the wall that depends on the existing elements of the room to complete it. The paintings are built on site using units that were created in the studio to interact with the space of the exhibition. The work questions the true origins of the auras and presents them in a new manner to leave a new mark. The new mark seems to be fleeting and subordinate to the whole of the architecture and shape of the supports on which it relies on. The ego and unique personality of the mark becomes suppressed in favor of the mind and calls more attention to the material relations than that of the mark as a singular event.

Jeff Hensley is interested in how we emotionally, intellectually, and physically connect to materials around us, and the structures in place that guide these responses. He lives and works in the quiet mill town of Oella, Maryland where he teaches and maintains a studio. Jeff was recently an artist in residence at the National Gallery of Art Washington, DC , Artcroft Creative Center Carlisle, KY, and The Jentel Foundation Banner, WY. Jeff is an Ed Taylor Fellow and has exhibited his work at the National and International level.

IA&A at Hillyer is located at 9 Hillyer Ct. NW. For more informaiton, visit http://athillyer.org/.