Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, April 6 from 7pm to 9pm
TwiLight Silhouette, Those Who Come and Those Who Leave
Gibbs Street Gallery
VisArts is proud to present Roberto Bocci’s solo exhibition of TwiLight Silhouette, Those Who Come and Those Who Leave, a series of photographs shot over an interval of approximately 90 minutes before and after sunset. The images are loaded with metaphoric and symbolic meaning hovering between day and night, lightness and darkness, Being and non-Being. As daylight falls after sunset, TwiLight Silhouette portrays evening joggers running around the 16th century Medici Fortress located in Siena, Italy (Bocci’s country and city of birth). In the panoramas runners are portrayed multiple times as they enter (those who come) and leave (those who leave) the picture frame. Their bodies are often silhouetted against the background sky. As runners loop around the fortress, daylight gradually dims transitioning to nighttime. The brownish haze in many early evening images, and the over-saturated sunset skylines are partly due to the presence of air pollutants like nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. The otherworldly skylines and their apparent beauty are a stark reminder that with continuning environmental abuse humans may be heading towards the twilight of their existence on earth. With this series, Bocci continues to experiment with single and composite images that explore ideas of time passage, space, simultaneity, the cyclical nature of existence as well as concerns about the sustainability of life on our planet.
The artist will lead a workshop exploring panoramic photography through the VisArts Inside Art Program on April 22.
About the artist: Roberto Bocci is a photographer and an installation artist born in Siena, Italy. His practice includes single and composite photographic images, installations, and experimental time-based media works. His artistic concerns encompass multiple points of view and questions of personal identity. Bocci has shown his work in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia and has been awarded fellowships and grants including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Woodstock Photography Grant, an Arlington County Spotlight Grant, and numerous Georgetown University research grants to support his work. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, and works in Washington, DC, where he is an Associate professor of Digital Art and Photography at Georgetown University. www.robertobocci.com
Panoramic Photography Workshop: April 22 from 1pm to 3pm
In this workshop, artist Roberto Bocci will lead a tour of his exhibition, Twilight Silhouette, Those Who Come and Those Who Leave, in Gibbs Street gallery. He will teach participants how to shoot panorama while hand holding the camera and by using a tripod, a panorama head, and other pro gear. Participants will then learn how to composite panoramas using software programs like PanoramaStudio 3 Pro and Adobe Photoshop. For more information and to register: https://www.visartscenter.org/more/event/panoramic-photography-workshop/
For more information about Inside Art: https://www.visartscenter.org/more/inside-art-gallery-workshops-special-programs
INTERACT + INTEGRATE
Heloisa Escudero, Michelle Herman, Jackie Hoysted, Denise Philipbar
VisArts is pleased to present INTERACT + INTEGRATE, an exhibition featuring four artists whose art practices are concerned with the interaction and/or integration of the audience in their work. Interaction is usually concerned with communication. It can simply be a manual interaction between people and things or for new media artists typically involves the interaction between humans, computers, sensors and networks. Conversely, integration is concerned about combining, assimilating, bringing together and the coalescing of people and things.
Heloisa Escudero looks for interaction, reaction, participation and/or inclusiveness of the audience in most of her artwork. For her, the integration of the audience is essential and creates opportunities for the viewer to become an interactive/tactile part of the art itself. For Escudero, there are too many opportunities for exclusion in life and she sees them is as a form of rejection. As a result, the basis of her art practices is to include/interact with the audience in a more personal level. Any aspect of her artwork, from the elements of construction, to concept and interaction is designed not to reject anyone at any circumstance because there is enough of that in life.
Michelle Herman’s new media and interactive works are often inspired by moments of communication that occur on the smallest of scales. Some examples include quorum sensing (the way in which bacteria are thought to communicate) and “contagious” gestures such as yawning and smiling (which are thought to activate mirror neurons in the brain). She is interested in how these processes seem to highlight our intrinsic need to connect with one other as well as how modern culture and technology has mediated these experiences. Like the ideas they explore, these works are interactive so the viewer can truly experience the work in a multi-sensory way. Herman wants them to feel the piece in a more active sense than just presenting them with an image.
Jackie Hoysted’s main concern is to no longer relegate the art audience to viewer but to integrate them in the art making process where they become collaborator and co-creator. Her idea is that the audience becomes engaged in the creation of the artwork and determines the aesthetic “look” of the artwork based for example on color selections and placement. As a result, the artwork can never be completed as the audience can choose to rearrange the artwork at any time. The artwork is therefore never fixed and mutable.
Denise Philipbar’s installations follow two modes of enquiry. Some installations are musings on our interactions with the technology we create hence forming the basis for their interactive nature, while other installations are social practice projects in nature and evolve from the premise that social practice projects grow out of thoughts that are inspired by the way we interact directly with each other, rather than technology. For Philipbar’s musings on technology, she mostly uses found objects such as test tubes or surveillance cameras that are assembled and modified into site specific, large-scale works. In contrast, her social practice projects are typically constructed with objects that she either handcrafts or has manufactured/altered to her specifications.
About the artists:
Heloisa Escudero grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, but relocated to the United States in 1987 where her interest in Fine Arts developed. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. She holds American, Italian, and Brazilian citizenships. She is interested in conceptually based art that is both tactile and interactive. Her recent art projects focus on art that emphasizes the participation of the viewer. In 2007 she moved to Sweden where she worked as a full-time artist, creating four successful projects and exhibiting in Sweden as well as in Spain. During this time she built the first three BackPack Gallery Sculpture Units, starting the BackPack Gallery Project. In 2010, she relocated to New York City, where she collaborated with DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) in the project Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica. This collaboration was exhibited at the New York Photo Festival 2012. One of her exhibitions was held at the popular urban park, The Highline. In the beginning of 2013 Heloisa set up her studio in Arlington, Virginia, where she is working on collaborating with DC area artists on several projects. When Heloisa Escudero is not in her studio making art she is working at the Hirshhorn Museum as an Exhibit Specialist. Escudero has been showing in the DC area on a regular basis. The City of Alexandria Commission for the Arts awarded Escudero a Special Opportunity Art Grant for 2015-16 for the performance of the “Everyone Is A VIP” Project. www.heloisaescudero.com
Michelle Lisa Herman graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 and currently lives and works in Washington, DC. As an interdisciplinary artist, her work spans a variety of media from abstract painting to interactive installation, often exploring ideas of communication and a desire for connection in the digital age. A five-time DCCAH Artist Fellowship Grant recipient, Michelle has shown nationally in both group and solo exhibitions at locations such as the Hillyer Art Space, Load of Fun Art Gallery, the Washington Project for the Arts, the Corcoran, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Kennedy Center. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. at the Maryland Institute College of Art. www.MichelleLisaHerman.com
Jackie Hoysted is a native of Ireland, currently residing in Bethesda, Maryland. She has a degree in computer science from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and a fine arts degree from the George Washington Corcoran College of the Arts & Design, Washington DC., USA. She has had multiple solo shows of her artwork throughout the US, including Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois and has been featured in several publications, including: The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Express, The Gazette, The Washington City Paper, The Pittsburgh Review and the Richmond and Baltimore Examiners’. The digital media author Scott Ligon selected her work for inclusion in his book The Digital Art Revolution. She has been awarded Individual Artists and Scholars Grants from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Vermont Studio Center and has attended artist residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Virginia, USA, 2014 Cill Rialaig, Ireland 2015 (also forthcoming 2018) and the Tyrone Guthrie Center, Ireland 2016. She is the founder of Countdown Temporary Artspace and co-founder of ArtWatch, a Washington, DC collective that aims to to develop ways to use the power of visual communication to express their support for values, such as inclusion, tolerance, equality under the law, and stewardship of the environment. Jackie is also the visual arts curator for Solas Nua, an Irish organization that promotes contemporary Irish culture in the Washington, DC area. www.jackiehoysted.com
Denise Philipbar www.denisephilipbar.com
Sky On Ground
Common Ground Gallery
VisArts is pleased to present Sky On Ground a solo exhibition of paintings by Shona Macdonald. Shona Macdonald’s work, for the past fifteen years, has been determined by place. She responds to whatever environment in which she finds herself. Currently she lives and works in New England, a place that for landscape painters has long figured into the notion of a pastoral ideal. Her understanding of pastoral is any expansive green space that offers a respite from the built environment, a sanctuary. Her current work investigates the conflict between ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ landscape. By this, she means that the ‘ideal’ of the pastoral has gone unchallenged yet continues to shape the human relationship to the landscape. She perceives that the pastoral, (or nature) is still idealized in this country, particularly in New England, because it represents a place in which to escape.
The paintings in Sky On Ground attempt to counter this ideal by representing the landscape as an uneasy, mysterious, and unpredictable place. The work acknowledges that reflections in water are a significant part of the history of painting yet rather than depict reflections as places that evoke elevated or sublime emotional states, she focuses attention on the puddle as a melancholic after effect. These works reflect (literally and metaphorically) upon the environment. She offers a poetic space, such as a puddle, to gaze into. Puddles, and their attendant reflected images, shrink and disappear, hinting at our transient and fragile hold on the earth. At the heart of this work there is an uncanny ‘doubling’ embedded in the use of reflections that she purposefully employs to exaggerate a sense of dislocation and displacement as people move throughout the world.
About the artist: Shona Macdonald received her M.F.A. in 1996 in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her B.F.A. in 1992 from Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She has had selected solo shows at the Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL, (2015), Gridspace, Brooklyn, NY, (2014), Ebersmoore, Chicago, (2012), the Roswell Art Museum, Roswell, NM, (2011), Engine Room, Wellington, New Zealand, (2010), Proof Gallery, Boston, MA (2009), Reeves Contemporary, NY, NY (2008), Den Contemporary, LA, CA, (2007), Skestos-Gabriele, Chicago IL, (2005), Galerie Refugium, Berlin, Germany, (2002), and Fassbender Gallery, Chicago (1998 and 2000). Her work has been included in numerous group shows across the United States, UK, Australia, and Canada. Reviews of her work are included in Art in America, Art News, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, Artscope, and New American Paintings. She has been a Visiting Artist at over forty institutions, including Wimbledon College of Art, London, (1998), Georgia State University, Atlanta, (2007), Cornell University (2006), the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary, Canada, (2002). Shona Macdonald was the recipient of a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NY, (2009), a Fellow at Roswell Artist-in-Residence in Roswell, New Mexico, (2010-11), Can Serrat, Barcelona, Spain, (2012), the Cromarty Arts Trust in Scotland and will be resident at Ballinglen in Ireland, summer of 2017. She is currently Professor of Studio Art and Graduate Program Director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and formerly Associate Professor at Illinois State University, where she taught from 1998 until 2006. www.shonamacdonald.com
- Wednesday & Thursday: 12 – 4pm
- Friday: 12 – 8pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 12 – 4pm
VisArts at Rockville is located three blocks from the Rockville Metro station at 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD. For information, please visit www.visartscenter.org or call 301-315-8200.