Strathmore Visual Arts Presents La Vie en Bleu Group Exhibition

By Editorial Team on January 2, 2017

Sat, 07 January 2017 - Sun, 19 February 2017

Folded in Blue by Fran Abrams. Courtesy of Strathmore Visual Arts.
Folded in Blue by Fran Abrams. Courtesy of Strathmore Visual Arts.


Opening Reception: Thursday, January 5 at 7pm


Inspired by the season-long exploration of blues music, Shades of Blues, Strathmore devised a simple concept—put out a call for artists to respond to the concept of “blues” using the medium of their choice. The invitation was open ended and the response surpassed any expectation—of over 1,000 works submitted for review, 146 works by 101 artists were selected to be shown in La Vie en Bleu, the 26th Annual Strathmore Juried Exhibition, on view in the Mansion at Strathmore from Saturday, January 7 through Sunday, February 19, 2017. The resulting exhibition is one of the most diverse Strathmore has presented in terms of number of works, themes explored, and mediums on display—17 different methods including ceramics, woodwork, photography, textile and collage work, printmaking, and jewelry, as well as acrylics, oil, watercolor, and pencil. The exhibition features work by artists from Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as North Carolina, Louisiana, Indiana, Georgia, and more.

A companion and counterpoint, Strathmore’s Invitational Gallery presents Crossfade. The largest number of submissions for the primary exhibition, La Vie en Bleu, came from Maryland, and Crossfade serves as a bridge to the vibrant Baltimore arts community. The Invitational Gallery features work by five young Baltimore artists exploring perception, reality, and the influence that technology has on worldview.

About La Vie en Bleu
Yves Klein created the dimensionless International Klein Blue and explored the concept of blue as a “void.” Picasso is known for his Blue Period. Blue’s occurrence inspires awe in the abstract beauty of nature—that a drop of water is absent of color, yet the vast sea appears deeply blue. In music, blues is sorrowful, joyous, melancholic, and therapeutic. “Blues” reveals itself to be a complex and deeply personal inspiration across artistic genres.

La Vie en Bleu features 146 works by 101 artists, juried by artist and curator Harriet Lesser and Arts Club of Washington president Judith Viggers Nordin. As submissions came in, clear themes began to organically emerge, including explorations of rebirth or renewal, music, the color blue, and water or nature.

Standouts of the exhibition include duo Jim Maio and Sara Levy’s collage of worn, vintage album covers from the Blue Note record label, and Britt Conley’s abstract “Out of the Blue” notable includes a saxophone and music motifs. Projecting themes of nature are Leda Black’s digital composites featuring shells, metal, and flora, Marty Ittner’s 104-inch-long cyanotype jellyfish, and Trisha Rabalais’s delicate three-dimensional nest sculptures. Conveying a sense of renewal or rebirth, Julie Gross captures the promise and wonder of urban escapes with the landmark Golden Gate Bridge in “Golden Gate 2,” Gwynne Davis focuses on the birth of art with a white smock streaked and splattered in different paint colors, and Hubert Jacksons’ “Spirits of Clifton Farm” and Rachael Bohlander’s “The Cowboy” feature abstracted, shadowy figures that seem to be both in the present, yet ephemeral. Interpretations of color that give blue vibrancy and movement include Fran Abrams’ clay sculpture creating the effect of blue patterned fabric falling in loose and casual folds, unfurling cardboard sheets of different solid blues in “Coats” and “Flags” by Artemis Herber, William Peirce’s wood vessels, for which he created a new dying process yielding rich cobalt coloration, and Ladan Ebrahimian’s application of paint on mirrored glass in a Persian motif.

Strathmore Visual Arts is located at 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD. For more information, visit