Opening: Wednesday, May 17 from 6pm to 8pm
My pieces for this exhibit reveal what I believe to be the true nature of women. Women are powerful and strong, they are connected to the natural world, and they are untamable, despite society’s constant desire to do so. My intent is to show that it is this inner wildness and ferocity that makes all women beautiful, and not to be underestimated. I am drawn to landscapes where the play of light and shadow in their colors capture the specific moment. I aspire to use a delicate touch to set a calm and pleasing mood. My tones depend on the scene, often muted, other times much more vibrant. I am excited by the challenge of recreating a scene naturalistically, so that the painting achieves the same beauty and interest that inspired me to paint it.
Mannequins are my muse. With oil paint, I explore the quasi-camouflage of mannequins in their urban abodes. My paintings grapple with the majesty and the distortion of human figures made out of resin, linen, plastic, wood, and even chicken wire. Buildings, cars, crosswalks, signage, vegetation, and “real” people accompany these ersatz humans in their glass cages. A bit about technique: My “stained” window dressing paintings require thin, transparent layers. I begin with a multi-colored abstract acrylic base, with lights for darks and darks for lights. This foundation gives me color and contrast onto which my brushes can grab as I apply layer upon layer of oil paint, never getting too far from the argument that We Are What We Wear (even if we’re wearing nothing at all!).
Forever interested in the human figure, I never stray too far. As I’ve developed my style over the years I have begun thinking of each piece as a story. I have a vague idea of what I’m going to do but as I progress I let a story evolve, much as an author. One of the great aspects of pencil work is the incredible detail and variety of surfaces from wool to glass, smoke to satin. In each piece I try to implement a variety of textures. As my story becomes more complete I begin to add props around the figure which embellish the narrative. I work relatively larger (30×40) than most pencil artists which allows me to delight my viewers with reflections in an eye, wrinkles in a dress or shine of a brass plate.
As a portrait artist my inspiration is drawn solely from my subjects and their hidden emotional truths. To be able to capture those emotions, I model my work in black and white colored pencil on drafting film. I have created a unique process where I literally strip away the colored pencil from the surface to expose the hidden values and retain a textured surface. I call this process “Drawing by Subtraction”. Working with a limited pallet allows me to concentrate on the forms, values and shadows. This limited pallet helps expose those dark and sometimes destructive emotional truths that may plaque my subjects. Each subject is a compelling visual portrayal of the human spirit, determination and courage. Working of drafting film allows me to capture these hidden emotions while creating the depth and transparency that gives the illusion of distance in the subject’s features. I strive to show the viewer that while at first glance my subjects seem serene and normal, but show a sense of inner frailty. This inner frailty is what has moved me into my next series documenting my subjects dealing with mental illness.
Explorations: Ken Bachman
Since my childhood in Paris, I have traveled throughout my life and painted scenes from these travels. The scenes that intrigue me are not the standard views, but ones unique to each location that I believe will appeal to others as they do to me. I allow the aesthetics, geography and culture of each place to dictate how I compose and paint the scene. Each place inspires me differently and generates a distinctive response. I am drawn to landscapes where the play of light and shadow in their colors capture the specific moment. I aspire to use a delicate touch to set a calm and pleasing mood. My tones depend on the scene, often muted, other times much more vibrant. I am excited by the challenge of recreating a scene naturalistically, so that the painting achieves the same beauty and interest that inspired me to paint it.
Sandy Hassan: Quilted Wall Hangings
Sandy Barrett Hassan, a native Washingtonian, began quilting in the 1970s by making crib quilts for her daughters and friends. In 1984, she joined the Daughters of Dorcas, a District of Columbia chapter of the National Quilting Association and in She is currently a member of Uhuru Quilters and Wee Bee. Sandy’s fiber art has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the metropolitan area including the Smithsonian and the Sumner Museums. Her quilts are included in two books: Communion of the Spirits by Roland Freeman and Spirits of the Cloth by Carolyn Mazlomi. Sandy was commissioned by he District of Columbia Historian to make pictorial quilt blocks commemorating historic sites for the DC Bicentennial celebration. Sandy’s home studio was featured in a nationally televised segment of “B Smith Style.” Sandy’s quilts are currently on sale in the gift shop of the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Sandy was a member of the African Heritage Dances and Drummers performance troupe. She sang and recorded with In Process, an a cappella ensemble that grew out of a workshop with the renowned Sweet Honey in the Rock. She is married to jazz educator and WPFW announcer, Rusty Hassan, and has two daughters and two grandchildren.
Evocations; Scenes Near Water: Christianne King
Although I also enjoy painting portraits and still life, this exhibition features primarily works painted en Plein Air (out-of-doors) in the tradition of the French impressionists. Most of the pieces were painted near the water’s edge–overlooking streams, canals, rivers or lakes in the Washington area and in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, areas to which I am attached by many years of residence and many hours of walking and wandering. I am inspired and challenged by water, as it takes on such a variety of forms; changing with weather, wind, temperature and gravity. I love capturing the reflections that we so often fail to notice, and that are often quickly brushed away by a passing breeze. I also enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of being out-of-doors absorbing the beauty around us.
Pathways: Betsy Glassie
In recent years I’ve enjoyed the challenge of painting en plein air with its dual rewards of being “in” the landscape I’m painting. This series began with the Rappahannock River. The more I painted it, the more I realized the sense of “pathway” a river inherently describes. And so I began to expand my series to include the notion of entrance and passage in other aspects of the landscape. These paintings explore different moods and times of year in the Virginia landscape, but each offers an invitation. Paths ignite our curiosity to explore what might be around the bend.
The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is located at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Contact the Hill Center at 202.549.4172, via email at info@HillCenterDC.org or visit them on the web at www.hillcenterdc.org