Formerly Was Presents Kim Llerena and Jen Noone Surface Encounters

By Editorial Team on April 4, 2022

Sat, 09 April 2022 - Sat, 28 May 2022

Jen Noone, Sweaty Betty, 2022, old paint water, latex, acrylic, and glitter paint, 9.5 X 2.25 X 1.25 IN.
Reception: Saturday, April 9 from 5pm to 8pm

Formerly Was announces Surface Encounters, a two-person exhibition featuring photographic prints by Kim Llerena and paintings by Jen Noone. Please join them at the gallery for an opening reception with the artists on Saturday, April 9, 2022, 5 – 8pm.

About the Work
Jen Noone’s paintings are small in scale, and they are not really paintings. Paint is the subject, and it takes on the form of sculpture in Noone’s work. She is interested in the material itself and ideas of materiality, generally. Noone begins her process by collecting leftover latex paint from the hardware store. She takes it home and methodically begins manipulating it.  She pours, kneads, scrapes, layers, peels and carves it. She mixes in other water-based paints like craft paint, artist acrylics, and fabric paint. She inks over it. Through a time-based, repetitive, intuitive and inquisitive process, Noone explores what her materials can do when pushed and teased. Her resulting “painting-sculptures” are highly tactile, quirky, and manically particular in their affect.

Kim Llerena’s photographic renderings of the American landscape are more directly cerebral. She is drawn to how we construct a relationship to place, particularly through methods of delineating terrain, territory, and private/public space. Llerena sets out in search of marks made by others: marks of past actions, marks of abandoned ideas. She frames what she encounters – fragments of the American experience – and then connects disparate sites through the formal, structural, and conceptual patterns she finds. Together, her images construct a portrait of a country shaped by invisible systems that manifest themselves in the physical landscape. Llerena’s work is telling and poetic and, like Noone’s, elicits both shared contemplation and an emotional response.


About the Artists
Kim Llerena is a photographic artist currently based in Miami, Florida. She holds an MFA in Photographic & Electronic Media from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and a BA in Journalism from New York University (NYU). She exhibits nationally in addition to serving as full-time faculty at the University of Miami. Her work investigates our constructed relationship to place, particularly our methods of delineating terrain, territory, and private/public space. She is also particularly interested in the various dualities that characterize the photographic medium, including memory and aspiration, translation and description, and art and snapshot.

Llerena was a DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Fellowship Program grantee in 2021, a Flash Forward Competition top 100 winner selected by The Magenta Foundation in 2019, one of 100 photographers invited to participate in CENTER’s Review Santa Fe in 2019, and a semifinalist in The Print Center’s 90th Annual International Competition in 2016. She has been featured in LensCulture, Fraction Magazine, and The Washington Post, among others. Recent exhibitions include The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Candela Gallery, Richmond, Virginia; Academy Art Museum, Easton, Maryland; 621 Gallery, Tallahassee, Florida; Photographic Resource Center, Boston, Massachusetts; and Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, Washington. Her work is included in the permanent collection of The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Jen Noone is a mixed media artist with a primary interest in materiality. Noone was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA and is currently based in North Jersey. She received an MFA in studio art from American University and a BA in art education from Saint Joseph’s University. Noone investigates products and phenomena familiar to the contemporary consumer in order to better understand herself and her surrounding world. Underlying poetics and politics are revealed through the processing and contemplation of her materials and cultural references.

Noone has held residencies at Pink Noise Projects in Philadelphia, PA and the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA. Her work has been reviewed in The Washington Post and featured in Interview Magazine. In 2017 she was a Trawick Prize Contemporary Art Award semi-finalist. Her work has been exhibited at Ruby Projects, Fairfax, VA; But/Also, Washington, DC; BWAC, Brooklyn, NY; Terrault Contemporary, Baltimore, MD; Ejecta Projects, Carlise, PA; Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA; Site:Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY; Katzen Museum, Washington, DC; and Connersmith, Washington, DC.

About the Gallery
Formerly Was is an independent gallery. Established in 2017 it organizes two or three exhibitions a year featuring contemporary, conceptually and visually stimulating, engaging and timely artwork by artists who live and work in the Washington, DC metro area and beyond. The gallery shows artwork in a range of media with a primary focus on painting, works on paper, and photography. Since its inception, the gallery has collaborated with artists and curators and placed artwork in both private and public collections. When it re-located from Bethesda, MD to Washington, DC due to the imminent demolition of the building that housed it, the gallery formerly known as “Was gallery” re-branded in DC as “Formerly Was”.


  • Tuesday – Saturday: 11m – 6pm

Formerly Was is located at 4936 Wisconsin Ave. NW