Art Reception: Friday, October 11 from 6pm to 8:30pm
Meet the Artists – Timothy Johnson and Claudia Samper: Saturday, October 26, 2 – 4pm with Artist Talk at 3pm
Spotlight Art Series@Touchstone Guest Artist
ABOUND by Hsin-Hsi Chen
Touchstone Gallery presents Spotlight Art Series 2019 Solo Exhibition – a new site-specific installation by guest artist Hsin-Hsi Chen. Using new materials and a novel modular approach, Chen’s “ABOUND” reflects on adaptability, connection, and the escalating impacts and inevitable affects of human activity on the planet.
Hsin-Hsi Chen is known for her exquisite, illusionary pencil drawings on unique complex constructed 3D forms of paper and wood. Chen’s initial mission was to use only these basic materials and see how far they would take her. Her recent work has evolved beyond 3D drawings to include a variety of scales, two/three-dimensional work, large-scale/full-room installation, and collaborations using 3D modeling/printing and interactive digital projection. Space, light, shadow, drawing, and sculpture merge to create complex, disorienting environments.
For more information about the artist please visit sites below:
Touchstone Gallery Member Show
Fables of Decapitation: I knew I would die long ago by Timothy Johnson
A little waltz with the macabre…this new series paints tales of grim death and grisly decapitation, but with wry humor and cleverness, all captured in brilliant colors and composition.
It’s not for the weak-of-heart … or head.
Here’s a fact… no one in D.C. paints portraits like longtime local artist Timothy Johnson. First time visitors to his shows are frequently confounded by his esoteric, eccentric and at times bizarre portraiture. His latest series, Fables of Decapitation: I knew I would die long ago, exhibiting at Touchstone Gallery from October 2 through October 27, 2019, drives this home with a show that’s more outlandish, unpredictable and, as it turns out, twisted, than any Johnson has exhibited before.
Imagine a stoic Marie Antoinette, looking less than soignée, about to lay her sloppily-bewigged head on the guillotine while her saucer-eyed subjects surround her gorging themselves on pink frosted slices of (yup, you guessed right) layer cake.
That’s only the beginning of an exhibit of portraits that turns historical, biblical and mythological characters, symbolically and otherwise, on their heads. As anyone who is familiar with his work, Johnson uses friends and family as models but not necessarily with kindness or affection. They are sometimes portrayed dead, dying or about to die. Haunting, and yet fascinating.
Johnson is a throwback to a golden age but with a distinctly modern twist. As with la reine francaise, these aren’t your grandparents posed preciously over the mantlepiece. Rather, they tell old stories with contemporary details. Picture a strapping American baseball player swinging at Medusa’s venomous head. A tow-headed, cherubic David having just slain Goliath, but with a wink to Dennis the Menace; complete with slingshot and cow-lick.
If blood and guts are your bag, then you won’t be disappointed. His rendering of the biblical story of Judith and Holofernes shows a headless male laying supine on gory, blood stained sheets while a heroine in a dark hoodie and Mona Lisa smile passes the disembodied head to a servant for deposition into a Gucci shopping bag.
In a disturbing self-portrait, Johnson’s decapitated head, perched on a stake, dons a red clown nose and sticks its tongue out idiotically. Staring straight ahead, it dares you to mock it. It’s one of a series of decapitated heads impaled on stakes with the added ingenuity of actual wooden stakes extending from the canvas down the gallery walls creating a grim yet effective three-dimensional flair, and remaking the portrait into something more than just a portrait.
As a technician, Johnson is perhaps at the pinnacle of his artistic skill with Fables; mainly his mastery at recreating flesh and musculature. It’s painterly yet controlled and true to life. And as always, the colors are eye-popping. He is a lover of dazzling color and isn’t scared to use it liberally and often. He’s also not afraid to go big; painting on larger canvases, making his pieces that much more breathtaking.
Johnson’s series paints tales of grim death and grisly decapitation, but with wry humor and cleverness, all captured in brilliant colors and composition. Rarely does an artist of his ability reveal an equal knack for storytelling, yet he does just that with his striking new series Fables of Decapitation: I knew I would die long ago at Touchstone Gallery.
Urban Nest by Claudia Samper
Urban Nest is a series of drawings, transparencies, and 3D representations seeking to explore the perception of our urban landscape through the interaction of people, nature, and concrete.
Over time, humans have migrated away from nature to build their nests in urban spaces. Although more and more of our dwellings are away from nature, green spaces relentlessly (but fortunately) invade our urban landscape despite our indifference. From curated parks and urban gardens, to weeds finding their way through asphalt and sidewalks, green spaces are here to restore a broken balance and bring humans slowly back to nature.
As an architect and artist herself, Claudia Samper tries to explore this synergy through opposites and juxtapositions: black and white vs. color; geometry vs. fluidity; transparency vs. opaqueness; softness vs. hardness. Drawing from her previous work, she uses birds as a metaphor. Cladua sees individuals roaming the cities dressed in their nicest, colorful plumage longing for connection in a sometimes unwelcome environment.
Claudia’s work urges us the need to restore a lost balance, the need to find our humanness and redefine our dwellings. We need to reconnect with nature. We need to find a new sense of belonging.
More than twenty years ago Claudia Samper moved from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the United States with her family, settled in Virginia and started anew. She holds a degree in architecture and was trained as a graphic designer. But after being involved in the design field for many years, her interest went beyond that into fine arts, Her work has been displayed in the Embassy of Argentina, Washington, DC; Consulate of Argentina, New York, NY; William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ; Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ, and several art galleries throughout the US and in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Her work can be found in multiple private and corporate collections nationwide and abroad.
- 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.