October Openings at Touchstone Gallery

By Editorial Team on October 2, 2017

Fri, 06 October 2017 - Sun, 29 October 2017

New Zealand Vista by Gale Waller. Courtesy of Touchstone Gallery.
Opening Reception: Friday, October 6 from 6pm to 8:30pm

Touchstone Gallery, founded in 1976, continues to be an art institution in the DC arts community. The Gallery has earned a well-deserved reputation for showcasing a wide range of award-winning contemporary art, including painting, prints, sculpture, mixed media, and photography. Join them this October to experience an explosion of colors, textures, shapes and forms created by 50 Touchstone Gallery artist members.

Touchstone artists burst with color along with the Fall foliage. Get to know your local arts community as each artist displays a micro-show of selected artwork within our big group show. Each artist’s personal style and color selection creates a cohesive presentations of their art and individual points of view.

From the start, Touchstone has been involved with the DC community and with philanthropic outreach in and beyond DC. The Gallery balances its members’ shows with ongoing art outreach to its neighbors. Touchstone artists volunteer their time supporting local organizations, teaching art classes to children and adults. In 2012 Touchstone formed the nonprofit Touchstone Foundation for the Arts to continue a long standing commitment to community involvement. Touchstone Gallery was recently reviewed in The Washington Post as one of the “10 unexpected places to find great art in Washington.” It organized such high-profile national juried exhibitions as “Art as Politics” in 2016 and “Art of Engagement” in 2017.

woman with a hat by dana brotman. Courtesy of Touchstone Gallery.

beg borrow + steal: works on cardboard by dana brotman
Director Jim Jarmusch wrote, “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination … Authenticity is invaluable, originality is nonexistent.” In dana brotman’s latest show beg borrow + steal: works on cardboard at Touchstone Gallery, her paintings crackle with authenticity even when their origins lie elsewhere.

Some of brotman’s paintings are begged from her imagination; the portrait of the woman in Woman with Hat, ridged and mottled by the ribs of the cardboard on which it is painted, and staring, as brotman’s people often do, in that space between near and far, outward and inward, contentment and preoccupation. Some are borrowed from people she has met; Ana, a portrait of a Barcelonan gallery owner whose scarf is flattened into clumps of avocado green and who sits, surrealistically, against a wall of bold red. Some are stolen from photos; a 2-by-2-inch Aretha Franklin framed into a triangle by a Klimt-like yellow veil. And some are stolen from other artists’ work, such as Boy, where brotman removes the boy from Picasso’s Family of Saltimbanques, and places him, with his little suit of blueberry and rust, on a scraped-on yellow backdrop (she often paints with a scouring pad) as if it were a piece of a graffitied stucco.

brotman uses materials in the show intended to capture the confluence of material finiteness and the ephemeral, both what merely glances our awareness, flitting in and out of our lives, and what is sublime and permanent and universal. These pieces (including miniature works on iPhone® boxes, portraits on flattened-out cereal boxes and the leaves of Amazon packaging as well as larger pieces on the sides of furniture boxes, some enclosed within thrift store frames refashioned with garish orange and fluorescent red) play with borders and with depth. Some spill over to the sides of the box, some are edged by ripped pieces of hastily cut cardboard that echo the curls of the subject’s hair, others she painted over another artist’s discarded paintings.

In these works, the past and present, the now and then are constantly merging and intertwining. brotman makes use of materials not noticed, discarded, innocuous, unwanted on which to stage her portraits of men and women who, whether real or imagined, testify to the profundity of everyday life.

Gallery Hours:

  • 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.