VisArts Presents These Mirrors are Not Boxes

By Editorial Team on June 11, 2015

Sat, 06 June 2015 - Sun, 12 July 2015

Amy Hughes Braden, Ways of Keeping Unattached (detail). Courtesy of Visarts.
Amy Hughes Braden, Ways of Keeping Unattached (detail). Courtesy of VisArts.


Reception: Friday, June 12 from 7pm to 9pm


These Mirrors are Not Boxes is the inaugural exhibition of VisArt’s new Emerging Curator Program. The VisArts Emerging Curator Program offers a unique opportunity for an emerging curator to work with an experienced mentoring curator to develop and present an exhibition and to assist in the presentation of the mentor’s exhibition in the Kaplan Gallery at VisArts. The VisArts Emerging Curator Program provides emerging curators with practical, hands-on experience at a community arts organization. It is designed to support diverse exhibitions presenting a broad spectrum of ideas and curatorial approaches. In addition, it enhances the VisArts exhibition experience by developing educational opportunities, public programming and opportunities for community engagement through expanded use of interactive interpretive media in its gallery program. Each year, a jury of arts advisors and professionals, selects a single VisArts Emerging Curator. The program provides the emerging curator and the mentor with an exhibition budget and additional support for printing, promotions, and execution of exhibition programming.

Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is the 2015 VisArts Emerging Curator.  Independent curator and writer, Laura Roulet is serving as her mentor.  Go Back to Rockville, an exhibition curated by Roulet and featuring artists Naoko Wowsugi and Graham Coreil-Allen, will open at VisArts on September 8, 2015.  The VisArts Emerging Curator Program is funded through a generous grant from the Windgate Foundation.

These Mirrors are Not Boxes examines the complexities of contemporary identity through the work of six local female artists: Amy Hughes Braden, Milana Braslavsky, Anna U. Davis, Nora Howell, Annette Isham, and Lisa Noble.  Mirrors of ourselves are often not available on checkbox forms of designated identity categories.  Individually the artists contend with issues of categorization, pliability, empathy, and domesticity.  Together through a sociocultural lens they contend with issues of marginalization in its myriad of mainstream forms.   Moments of present day are juxtaposed with fragments of memory and lucid dreams.  Disparate aesthetics reveal hidden similarities in themes of calamity and misperception.  In juxtaposition the works harness the power of experimental dialogue of which only art can provide.

Milana Braslavsky’s photographic scenes of hidden identities provide a vast interpretation of political and social structures of categorization. Her work empathizes with the struggle for individual identity of peoples of communist regimes, but is also relevant to all people who feel societal pressure to conform to designated, rigid constructs of identity.

Anna U. Davis’ portraits in mixed media suggest an unprecedented invented racial identity. She attempts to validate her self-identification as a culturally blended person/ household through her art.

Amy Hughes Braden’s mixed media projects contend with her “place” –both perceived and internalized—in a male dominated art world.  Her artwork is very much about art itself, but is grounded in questions of female identity and marginalization.

Annette Isham’s work in photography and video examines identity labeling and identity tropes through constructed absurdist scenes and storytelling.  Isham shines a light on forces seeking to limit or invalidate certain persons for being not of the norm.

Nora Howell’s work in mixed media and performance challenges “white norms” as she is herself, and identifies as, white.  Her exploration of identity is unexpected and challenges boundaries of race labeling.

Lisa Bertnick-Noble’s drawings evoke a certain fairytale sensibility while challenging the treatment of females in such stories.  Her scenes at first glance seem innocuous but reveal danger and discomfort for her female leads.

These Mirrors are Not Boxes explores the surprising, alternative, even subversive means and ways identity is formed, presented, confronted, and challenged when marginalized personas are brought out of the fringes.

About VisArts at Rockville: VisArts at Rockville is a nonprofit arts center dedicated to engaging the community in the arts and providing opportunities for artistic exploration through educational programming, gallery exhibitions and a resident artist program.

Gallery Hours:

  • 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 or call 301-315-8200.