Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 16 from 6pm to 9pm
In collaboration with W Washington DC, Artist’s Proof is pleased to announce the exhibition Sursum Corda: Lift Up Your Heart, featuring DC Street artist Alicia “Decoy” Cosnahan. As a street artist and an arts educator, Cosnahan sees her role as more than just a teacher but showing the children living around Sursum Corda a world beyond their neighborhood. Through this curated selection of paintings, Alicia Cosnahan provides a visual story about her own experiences, the children, their neighborhood, and this community that has all been brought together by art within this small quadrant in DC in this latest series Sursum Corda: Lift up your Heart. During the opening Tristian, one of Cosnahan’s students at the Perry School Community Services Center and the subject of Perry School Trist, will be painting live. The exhibition will be on view from May 9, 2018, to July 31, 2018.
Alicia “Decoy” Cosnahan provides a visual narrative of the many shared experiences and the people who have considerably influenced her as an individual and as an artist. Through the eyes of the artist, we see the people, the places, and senses of the Sursum Corda neighborhood. Cosnahan works with students at the Perry School Community Services Center, an after-school art program she runs in the Sursum Corda neighborhood in Washington. The program is more than just teaching kids art and art history; it is about sharing the history of the Washington, DC street art and those artists whom significantly influenced her artistic process. Cosnahan’s students study an artist’s style, the mediums they use and what moments in history played a role in that artist’s journey. The students then take their interpretation of the artist and create their paintings. These qualities evident in her latest work, Perry School Trist, which depicts one of her students working on his piece, emulating the style of DC street art legend Cool Disco Dan and go-go culture. Tristian, the subject of the piece, first starts with painting the red brick, referencing the street, where Cool Disco Dan worked. Then using a stencil, he paints on “Cool Disco Dan” iconic tag. Furthering the connection to the city, the kids, and the street, Her paintings celebrates not only the local art legends from the past but continues this discourse on supporting the contemporary local artists within our District.
Cosnahan captures the strength of a child’s spirit, their eagerness to succeed, and the joy of a child’s imagination through these life-size works on canvas. From a street corner with abandoned toys, a girl roller skating on a hot summer day and a ten-year-old girl with an oversized yellow bow each piece further the emotional connection between the artist and the children. As a street artist, her style utilizes the significance of symbolic imagery to convey the story with simplicity and frankness. Depicting a flat rendering style and rudimentary expression of perspective, Cosnahan provides a visual documentary of this community, “It is about celebrating DC and the individuals who make it so great,” she explains. These stories are what makes Cosnahan’s DC experience so unique. Through abstract representation of this neighborhood and street scenes, she captures the spirit of the community and those cherished moments shared.
The Living Room of the iconic W Washington DC is located at 515 15th St. NW.