April 2018 Exhibitions at Touchstone Gallery

By Editorial Team on April 3, 2018
Whiskey and Wine by Robin Harris. Courtesy of Touchstone Gallery.
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Opening Reception: Friday, April 6 from 6pm to 8:30pm
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Closing Reception: Sunday, April 29 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm

GALLERY A
Touchstone Gallery Member Show
Spotlight Art Series@Touchstone Guest Artist
Feast of Fancy by Robin Harris
We all eat. But even if the goal is merely survival, food means different things to different people. It could be fond memories of a lazy Sunday breakfast or brunch with friends. A special event when food and drink was involved (isn’t it always!), or just the thought of a future meal and the anticipation that it may bring.

Whatever the reason, painting images of food and drink makes Robin Harris happy, and she shows it through larger than life acrylic on canvas paintings — the bigger, the brighter, the better! Unusual food pairings and complementary liquids are featured, with the focus on movement and flow through splashes and drips and even an ooze or two. Harris especially enjoys creating metaphorical compositions fusing disparate and often contrasting elements with subtle humor to provide occasionally startling insights into everyday life.

She created Harris Design Inc. (an advertising, marketing and graphic design) nearly 30 years ago, but now spends her time painting. Her graphic design background has been extremely helpful in creating these unexpected compositions.

Harris is a contemporary realist painter with a twist. Through the use of positive and negative space, motion and subject matter she explores infinite possibilities of gastronomic whimsy.

Her goal is to completely capture the viewer/audience’s attention enough that they become caught up in the moment, sufficiently engaged such that they “see” or complete the motion and its results, filling in the gaps in actual perception without having to concretely visualize the final result itself. In other words, the viewer becomes a very real part of the process of creating or eliciting an emotional response.

As she has come to realize over the years, engagement is itself the definition of art.

Dreaming of Cells by Shelley Lowenstein. Courtesy of Touchstone Gallery.

GALLERY B
(as far as we know) by Shelley Lowenstein
Albert Einstein said that mystery is at “the cradle of true art and true science” and in (as far as we know), a new solo show opening in April at Washington, DC’s Touchstone Gallery, artist Shelley Lowenstein explores the mystery and wonder of the human beta cell, a major force essential to human life, and sometimes a victim of autoimmune attack.

(as far as we know) features a variety of colorful, mixed media works of the insulin-producing beta cell, from representations of its role in converting glucose into the energy we need to live each day, to a series of abstract representations of the cell itself. Artist proceeds from sales of the works will be donated to JDRF, the largest global funder of research to cure, prevent, and treat Type 1 diabetes. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks and damages the beta cell. Ms. Lowenstein has a daughter who is among the more than 1.25 million Americans of all ages living with T1D, one of many autoimmune diseases that are growing exponentially, for reasons not understood.

“These works are about biological and artistic exploration,” said Lowenstein. “It is my way of celebrating the amazing beta cell, so essential to all human life, and yet still so mysterious. While I was drawn to this story through my personal connection,” Lowenstein continued. “I welcomed this opportunity to tell a scientific story and play with new art forms, both to expand my horizons and to raise awareness about this wondrous cell, making it more accessible and understandable to people of all ages and interests.”

To prepare for the show, Lowenstein consulted with many scientists doing innovative beta cell research across the USA. “What was surprising to me was that while our knowledge of the beta cell has exploded just in the last decade, there is still so much to learn, thus the show’s title.

“All these works are grounded in scientific fact, at least ‘as far as we know’,” said Lowenstein. “Yet this lack of certainty gave me the freedom to experiment with new materials and come up with bold ways to represent these cells without making scientific illustrations,” she explained. “I was determined to bring them to life using vibrant colors that convey the energy they literally produce in all of us.”

(as far as we know) is a labor of love, intentionally colorful, and steeped in optimism that we can restore normal beta cell function to all in the foreseeable future,” Lowenstein concluded.

About Beta Cells: Every human has less than a teaspoon of beta cells that lasts a lifetime. With incredible speed, 24/7, they make and release enormous amounts of insulin that converts glucose, “fuel” from the foods we eat, into the energy we need to think, exercise, and do multiple other quotidian tasks.

About Type 1 Diabetes: In type 1 diabetes (T1D), our immune system attacks and damages beta cells. It is an autoimmune disease not related to lifestyle or diet. People with T1D must make dozens of decisions every day about what to eat, when to eat, how much insulin to take and when to take it, knowing that a single mistake could be life threatening. Restoring and regenerating beta cells, coupled with therapies to reverse or block the autoimmune attack is the key to curing this life- threatening disease that is alarmingly on the rise.

Apparition by Karen Waltermire. Courtesy of Touchstone Gallery.

GALLERY C
The Ladies by Karen Waltermire (Guest Artist)
Karen Waltermire paints portraits of women either alone or in groups and her interest in faces and figures is what inspires her to create paintings of women. She finds her inspiration in women’s emotions in a single point of time. Her goal is to replicate the movement and motion on still canvas from that point in time to make her figures stay alive.

Her paintings interpret how women feel about themselves and the world around them. In each painting she finds harmony by submerging her figures into colorful backgrounds that keep her exploring and looking for new subjects and possibilities.

As an artist Karen started painting on bottles and cans then moved toward canvas as her platform. Her choice of paint is oil which helps her work conjure mood and presence that stays in and with the viewer. She has the range to paint from extremely small pieces to large pieces.

Karen Waltermire received a B.S. in Psychology from George Mason University and then studied art at Maryland Institute College of Art, Washington Studio School and the Art League in Alexandria, VA.

Gallery Hours:

  • Wednesday – Friday: 11pm to 6pm
  • Saturday – Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

Touchstone Gallery is located at 901 New York Ave. NW. For more information, visit www.touchstonegallery.com.