RhizomeDC Presents Claire Alrich and Mara Menahan

By Editorial Team on October 4, 2021
Courtesy of RhizomeDC.
Closing Event: Sunday, October 17 from 12pm to 8pm

Rhizome is excited to present two new exhibits dealing with color, light, and life by DC multidisciplinary artist Claire Alrich and botanical illustrator Mara Menahan. The exhibitions are open Thursdays from 430-7pm; Sundays from noon-4pm; during any Rhizome event; or by appointment, at RhizomeDC (6950 Maple St. NW), from now until October 17. A closing event will take place on October 17 from noon-8pm featuring outdoor installations, music, and dance – artists and schedule to be confirmed soon.

Claire Alrich – still, life
An installation of fabric that invokes landscape, exalts light, invites stillness, and celebrates life. A project that illuminates: rest, revive, rejoice, reconnect, release, renew, relax, reflect, reunite, reemerge, reconstruct, remain. A static image, yet still, life! Despite it all, still, life has gone on, has found a way, will find a way. Shared yet solitary, ordered yet chaotic, familiar yet new. “All life is being lived.”

Claire will facilitate associated events during the course of her exhibit:

October 10, 2-4pm, Dye and Revive: A Clothing Resurrection Party – Have some clothes that need a new life? Busted the knees in your jeans? Sweat stains got you down? Give dyeing a try! Bring your cast offs and learn about tub dyeing with procion dyes! The artist will be onsite to do light repair work on your garments with a sewing machine. Renew, revive, resurrect!

Mara Menahan – LANDSCAPE PORTRAITS: Color Studies from Southeast Alaska
During the summers of 2017 and 2019, I joined two friends from Southeast Alaska to seek out the last stands of ancient trees on Taan Island (also called Prince of Wales Island). This island has the highest density of clearcutting anywhere on the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest. Like so many of the places we call home, Taan Island is a place sometimes viewed by outsiders as ugly, blighted and broken. Heavily scarred by extractive industry, Taan Island can be a hard place to love unless you live there. Locals say you can’t go a mile without encountering a clear cut forest. But despite damages from the last 60 years of industrial logging, there are still stands of cedar, spruce and hemlock trees growing uninterrupted since the last ice age. These paintings grew out of a shared effort to bear witness to this fractured landscape. They are a record of my time as a visitor, of the time we spent bushwhacking, of the conversations I had with friends, fishermen, conservationists, community leaders and elders. They are a portrait of a place that some have decided isn’t worth a closer look.

Categorizing the objects by color allows me to show the human and more-than-human all together on the same page, blurring the boundaries between ourselves and the natural world. I thought about how this organization—as well as my decision to leave the objects unnamed—presents a challenge to traditional western taxonomy. I thought about our common ancestors, how we are all made up of essentially the same things (water, carbohydrate chains, oxygen, color). How a landscape expresses color. How losing a species of mud shrimp to extinction also means the loss of a particular shade of blue. How a clear cut forest is a place drained of its color. How these portraits are a record of all my looking, at a particular place in a moment in time.

About the artists

Claire Alrich is a DC artist, working in the mediums of dance, performance, costume-design, textile, and paint. In addition to making her own work Claire is: one-third of the performance collective Area Woman, a teaching artist with ArtStream inclusive theater, Site Coordinator for The Field/DC, and a studio resident at Hole in the Sky (HITS). Claire is a 2017 and 2019 recipient of an Artist Fellowship through the DC Council of the Arts and Humanities. https://www.clairealrich.com/

Mara Menahan is a botanical illustrator, an artist and student of the natural world. She began her career at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. as the in-house botanical illustrator. Since then, she has worked to bear witness to threatened landscapes across North America. Her paintings are a record of time: how slowly she moved across a landscape, the time she spent looking, and the time we live in, the anthropocene. https://maramenahan.xyz/

About Rhizome DC
RhizomeDC is a nonprofit community arts space located at 6950 Maple St NW, in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington DC. We are dedicated to promoting creativity as a force for personal empowerment and community engagement. We also strive to provide a home for non-mainstream programming in the DC area.

RhizomeDC is located at 6950 Maple St. NW.