Transformer Presents Anthony Le Golden Looking Hour

By East City Art Editorial Team on March 6, 2023

Sat, March 11 2023 — Sun, April 2 2023

Dany (2022) by Anthony Le.
Meet the Artist Reception: Saturday, March 11 from 2pm to 4pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, March 18 from 3pm to 4pm
Artist Tea Time & Discussion on Self-Image: Saturday, April 1 from 3pm to 4pm

Golden Looking Hour at Transformer features paintings by Anthony Le in his first Washington, DC solo exhibition. The exhibition features portraits of fellow DC artists that question the social construct of identity, and how it can be limiting from the outside looking in, but be expansive from the inside looking out. The portrait series celebrates the diversity of DC artists while also subverting the cultural expectations that come with being based in the nation’s capital.

“DC artists are often expected to be political activists and to represent the racial and/or gender groups they may be part of. Although DC artists do make work about these issues, the assumption that they ‘should’ is intrusive and can limit a fuller understanding of their art. For this series, I asked fellow artists to take photos of themselves as a response to being put into boxes due to their residence and/or outward identity. The portraits are based on these photos. I am excited about how the paintings look back at you in subversive ways, ranging from ambivalence to a conscious confrontation to being looked at,” explains Le.

The painted figures bask in golden hour light that Le describes as “imbuing a restorative energy of contemplation, autonomy and self-determination.” The portraits express an intimacy conveyed through lifesized scale, a warping of interior space and a limited color palette that gravitates around golden hour yellow.

The paintings are situated within a site-specific installation at Transformer, featuring a trompe l’oeil brick pattern as a framing device to reinforce the construct of access into identity and a visual metaphor between interior and exterior personhood. The trompe l’oeil, made with linocut prints on paper, creates the illusion of being surrounded by two-story buildings where the paintings are windows to peek into voyeuristically. The trompe l’oeil covers three sides of the exhibition space, creating a sense of enclosure like a panopticon. The two levels of paintings reinforce the feeling of being observed as much as you’re observing the paintings. The installation is especially apropos to the Transformer space which was previously an alley indent. The history of this alleyway was previously explored in artist Rebecca Key’s 2010 Transformer exhibition Archetype in the same space.

EXHIBITION PROGRAMMING:

  • Sat. March 11, 2023, 2 – 4 PM OPENING RECEPTION / MEET THE ARTIST
    Join Transformer on our opening day of Golden Looking Hour and meet artist Anthony Le.
  • Sat. March 18, 3 – 4 PM ARTIST TALK / MODERATED BY ASHLEY JAYE WILLIAMS
    Join us at Transformer for a conversation with artist Anthony Le on the themes of Golden Looking Hour, moderated by artist Ashley Jaye Williams. Le and Williams share a life and home studio and are co-founders of the
    Model Mutiny art collective.
  • Sat. April 1, 3 – 4 PM ARTIST TEATIME & DISCUSSION ON SELF-IMAGE
    Join us at Transformer for a communal teatime with artist Anthony Le. Golden Looking Hour features portraits of local artists. Join Le in conversation with some of these artists about their self-images. Other artists & audiences are encouraged to join in this conversation as this teatime is a celebration of the local community.

ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Anthony Le (born 1985 in Chattanooga, TN, and lives in Washington, DC) is a Vietnamese American multidisciplinary artist. His work centers Asian Americans and other allies in fictional narratives that explore identity as an expansive tool to find moments of confusion, humor and empathy. Le is self-taught and works with acrylic, pastels, printmaking, sculpture and fashion. In 2021, he presented a solo painting exhibition at Tiny Art Gallery NYC titled “My So-Called Asian Life.” In 2023, Le will present his first solo exhibition in DC at Transformer. He is a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellow (2023), and his work is in the DC Art Bank Collection (2021). His work has been included in exhibitions at Touchstone Gallery (2020), Homme Gallery (2021), Target Gallery (2022), Legacy DC Gallery (2022), Foundry Gallery (2022), Hill Center Galleries (2022, 2023), Popcorn Gallery at Glen Echo Park (2022). He has shown work in group exhibitions curated by No Kings Collective (2021), Monochrome Collective (2020), Latela Curatorial (2022) and Petworth Arts Collaborative (2018). He has received support from 51 for 51 (2021) and Mozaik Philanthropy (2021). Le is a co founder of the Model Mutiny art collective with his artist spouse Ashley Jaye Williams. Le received his BLA at Pennsylvania State University (2009).

Exhibition Hours at Transformer:

  • Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 6 pm

Transformer is located at 1404 P St. NW.