"Try a Little Tenderness as Painful as it Seems" and "Cartograph" Open in Anacostia

By East City Art Editorial Team on February 28, 2011



Historic Anacostia ARCH Art Galleries on East CIty Art

Ben Skinner

Honfleur Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, March 4th at 7-9pm
1241 Good Hope Road SE, Washington DC 20020

Running from March 4th to April 8th at SE Washington DC’s Honfleur Gallery, the exhibition Try a Little Tenderness as Painful as It Seems features work by Ben Skinner, a Canadian artist who believes in “the phonetics of materials and the grammar of space”.  Blending fine craftsmanship and a contemporary aesthetic, Skinner excels at recognizing social and urban phenomena– or, as he puts it, I like very much to point at things directing the viewer’s attention to something they may normally miss.

For this exhibition, Ben Skinner has focused his creative eye on the distinctive character of Anacostia. Skinner sheds a positive light on an area that has frequently been the subject of controversy regarding perceptions and realities of its social and economic issues. Skinner uses a dramatic combination of conceptual, textual, and sculptural forms. “My goal is to create a body of work which will engage the community of Anacostia and instigate reflection and dialogue in the community, while maintaining my own artistic voice.”  The exhibition is comprised of new artworks which will be shown on both the first and second floors of Honfleur Gallery. Using his experience in the visual display trade, Skinner uses contemporary sign-making materials and techniques usually in combination with an unconventional canvas or traditional art-making techniques. In one piece, the artist created an oversized set of Venetian blinds to span the height of the gallery walls with text applied to each slat. The artist sees words and language as an effective tool in his work. “Text is an essential part of my art practice…It’s a reflection of my own query into new territory, and a voice that speaks directly to the community.”

Try a Little Tenderness as Painful as It Seems has been curated by anonymous blogger The Jealous Curator, who provides a much needed fresh and optimistic voice in contemporary art discourse. About the exhibition, The Jealous Curators says, “[his work] is a fine blend of tongue-in-cheek humor, with just the right dose of social tension. His open-ended phrases seem familiar, yet you know they’ve been altered… somehow. There are so many amazing phrases in this show, not to mention the fantastically long list of materials used to create them -wood panels, aluminum panels, backpainted plexiglass, lighting tubes, window blinds, gold leaf, glitter, and even a few thousand candy sprinkles. Yes. Candy sprinkles.”

Honfleur Gallery is a contemporary art space located in the Historic Anacostia and focuses on cutting edge contemporary exhibitions from the USA and abroad. It is a project of the ARCH Development Corporation, whose mission is to act as a catalyst for local cultural and economic revitalization. Honfleur Gallery opened in 2007 and is located at 1241 Good Hope Road SE, Washington DC 20020

Try a little Tenderness as Painful as it seems at Honfleur Gallery on East City Art
Photo Courtesy of Honfeur Gallery

Gérard Lange

The Gallery at Vivid Solutions
Opening Reception: Friday, March 4th at 6-8pm
2208 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington DC 20020

Gerard Lange Cartograph at Vivid Solutions Gallery at East City Art
Photo Courtesy of the Gallery at Vivid Solutions

The Gallery at Vivid Solutions welcomes North Carolinian artist Gérard Lange for his first Washington, D.C. exhibit opening on March 4th at 6pm. Cartograph, Lange’s solo exhibit, is full of works in mixed-media collage and excerpts from his journals. Gérard Lange has been keeping an artist journal since 1996. Lange says about the process, “These journals provide a record of life, sometimes including rather meaningless information such as things to do and grocery lists, but also feature ponderings of an intellectual nature, historical research, as well as notes on current and future art projects.” His collages become an autobiography opening himself up to the comments and criticism of the viewer. From coffee stains, photographs, layers of text, coins, leaves, quotes, bicycle memories, drawings and so much more, these journals are just the beginning of his world.

CARTOGRAPH by Gérard Lange at the gallery at vivid solutions on East City Art
Photo Courtesy of the Gallery at Vivid Solutions

Lange’s training includes a BA in Art and Design that carried a triple concentration in Drawing, Sculpture and Photography. He worked as a professional photographer in Atlanta before completing the MFA program at Tulane University in New Orleans. Currently working as an assistant professor of Art & Design at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina, Lange has also taught at Tulane as an Instructor and at Northern Michigan University as an assistant professor. Also included in this exhibition are reproductions of 2” x 3” artist trading cards (ATC) which started while he was courting his now wife. A selection of these 550 ATC cards that are profoundly personal are an ongoing project from 2007. The final element of Cartograph, is a mixed-media map featuring the eastern North Carolina and the state’s coastal region.

When discussing his style evolving over a decade of journaling, he makes a point to explain how “(journaling) has remained a consistent part of my artistic process and these pages are filled with components that document, design and dream – these journals represent some of my most personal creative pursuits.”