G Fine Art Presents Drawing: Rachel Farbiarz, Lavar Munroe, and Deb Sokolow

By Editorial Team on June 1, 2015

Sat, 06 June 2015 - Sat, 04 July 2015

Slain and Coronated Beast, 2014 by Lavar Munroe. Courtesy of G Fine Art,
Slain and Coronated Beast, 2014 by Lavar Munroe. Courtesy of G Fine Art,


Opening: Saturday, June 6 at 6pm


G Fine Art presents a summer drawing show featuring the work of Rachel Farbiarz, Lavar Munroe, and Deb Sokolow.

These three extraordinary artists keep a close, discerning watch on the world. Their work urges us to cast and cultivate a critical gaze toward society–to continually interrogate what we draw from life.

Farbiarz, Munroe, and Sokolow all use drawing to gather and process information. History, memory, suffering, joy, and humor manifest in their work with remarkable potency and verve.

Text is an important aspect of these drawings. Farbiarz’s poignant captions, Munroe’s wry annotations, Sokolow’s plucky, paranoid narratives–all communicate each artist’s enigmatic voice and point of view.

Rachel Farbiarz holds a BA from Harvard University, where she studied social and political thought, and a JD from Yale Law School. Before undertaking a career as an artist, Rachel practiced law in California, working to secure inmate’s rights and improve prison conditions there. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in New York, Washington, DC and Arlington, VA.  Rachel currently lives and works in Washington, DC.

Farbiarz’s drawings, assemblage sculptures, and conceptual works utilize contemporary and archival sources–newspaper headlines, photographs, and video–to grapple with death, despair, and displacement. The process of digging through source material inspires her to re-imagine and re-draw especially powerful images. Of particular interest is the complex interrelation between intimacy and violence, a dynamic that recurs in these drawings with incredible clarity and intensity. Carefully rendered images of World War II-era Europeans, Ebola Crisis aid workers, and refugees present a searing, deeply personal meditation on the nature of the human condition.  Rachel’s interest in the plight of marginalized, impoverished members of society finds parallels in Lavar Munroe’s work.

Lavar Munroe holds a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and holds an MFA in Studio Art from Washington University St. Louis. Lavar’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, both in the United States and abroad. In 2014 during his 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Munroe exhibited at the Nasher Museum at Duke University. An installation of his work is currently on view in All the World’s Futures at the Venice Biennale. Munroe is the 2015 Joan Mitchell Artist in Residence in New Orleans, LA.  This June he is exhibiting at CAM Raleigh.

Munroe was born and raised in Grants Town, a distressed area of Nassau, Bahamas. Drawing features mixed media compositions from his The Footprints Go This Way and Then They Return series. The series–inspired by Munroe’s abiding interest in challenging racial and economic inequality, as well as Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (from The Hero With a Thousand Faces)– explores prison as an unfortunate rite of passage for many disadvantaged Bahamian and American men. Munroe’s collaged compositions cast the prisoner as a hero granted a “shank”, or special contraband weapon, to combat oppression and injustice. Delicately rendered drawings of apposite prison motifs (keys, rats, and escape routes) surround Munroe’s shanks–makeshift blades carefully concealed in swaths of cloth and color. Allusions to rehabilitation and healing abound. Stitch work, cartoon princess band aids, and shiny star stickers bind textiles, paper, and found objects. Of the series Munroe states: “Aesthetically, I used material and color as a vehicle for revealing prison as a simultaneously violent, heroic and homoerotic space. I thought of the shank as trophy, the shank as weapon, the shank as phallus, and the shank as relic.” (1)

Munroe’s incisive investigation of stigmatization and social stratification cloaks its serious subject matter with an exuberant visual and textual vocabulary. Indeed, a disconnect between style and subject matter­ (the prisoner hero likes to doodle) lends The Footprints Go This Way and Then They Return a captivating aesthetic tension.  A similar sense of irony pervades Deb Sokolow’s sardonic text- based drawings.

Deb Sokolow holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Western Exhibitions in Chicago, The Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, the Spertus Museum in Chicago, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, among others. Deb was featured in Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing, published by Phaidon in 2013. She lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Sokolow’s clever drawings and books take a swing at potential collusions lurking in plain sight and hit with comic flair. Signature capitalized block lettering grants her wily, watchful narrator an engaging–if caustic–voice . Sokolow encourages viewers to gaze askance at seemingly innocuous persons and environments. Past works lampoon art world icons (Willem de Kooning, his wife Elaine, and Richard Serra), attempt to decode McDonald’s signs, and explore the secret, sinister motivations of society at large. Works in Drawing entertain a fresh set of possible, pernicious plots- What if the CIA plugged Oliver Stone to befriend and assassinate Fidel Castro?

Sokolow’s compositions are undeniably funny, yet also visually intriguing. Her work questions the interrelation of images and text , drawing inspiration from blueprints and architectural plans. For Sokolow, language and letters present innumerable permutations and creative possibilities, allowing the artist (or conspiracy theorist) to seek out truth and disclose what secrets lie in wait.

1. Lavar Munroe, quoted in an interview with Stacia Yeapanis from OtherPeoplesPixels,  http://blog.otherpeoplespixels.com/otherpeoplespixels-interviews-lavar-munroe.

Gallery Hours:

  • Thursday- Friday: 12pm-6pm,
  • Saturday: 12pm-5pm

G Fine Art is located at 4718 14th Street NW. For more information visit www.gfineartdc.com.