Reviews

East City Artnotes: Fluid Dynamics at Takoma Park Community Center

Jacqui Crocetta, Leap, Installation in atrium, Takoma Park Community Center, 2018. Part of the exhibit Fluid Dynamics. Works by Clare Winslow on the walls. Photo by Claudia Rousseau for East City Art.

There’s still time to catch an exhibit at the Takoma Park Community Center in downtown Takoma Park, Maryland.  There are four artists exhibiting in this show, Jacqui Crocetta, Brendan L. Smith, Clare Winslow and Farhad Heidarian.  It’s something of a mixed bag, but the work of Crocetta and Winslow has a certain harmony, although Smith’s pieces visually stand completely apart.  One might imagine that the title of the show, Fluid Dynamics, was meant for Crocetta’s work, which positively stands out among the four.

Jacqui Crocetta, Leap: Connect, with Flow and Protect. Photo by Ulf Wallin.

Her new works in this series, titled Leap, are practically like kites, made for the air.  Inspired by the space for which they were made, they float like clouds above the oddly shaped atrium at the Center, suspended from wires above.  As the artist explains, each construction is a three-dimensional materialization of sketches she made while thinking of how to visually imagine aspects of the creative process.  As expressions of the stages of the creative process, each work within the group has its own title and meaning.  Beginning with Cultivate: the gathering of knowledge and ideas, inspiration, experiences they move through Persist, Perspective, Flow, Connect, Insight and lastly Protect: the vulnerability of sharing your creations with the world. 

Jacqui Crocetta, Leap: Persist (center), Cultivate (left), Insight (right), Connect (behind Insight).

Using a white translucent fabric on wire armatures, Crocetta intended that her sketches be “transformed into drawings in space;” not only three-dimensional, but kinetic as well.   The lines of the sketches have become the wires that the artist has hand sewn—with hundreds of stitches, over hundreds of hours—with a translucent thread that must have been a challenge to control.  Crocetta was inspired by a traditional Korean wrapping cloth construction called bojagi.  In the spirit of this traditional craft made of sewn together patches and specially prepared fabric, Crocetta’s work was a meditation of protracted duration.  It led her to contemplate how the example of her mother who taught her to sew, and her paternal grandfather, and Italian immigrant shoemaker, were significant inspirations to her work as an artist.  Interestingly, the painfully slow process she employed for this installation produced works that seem to connote freedom and lightness, even of flying, which the artist—and probably all of us—have dreamed about as children.

Brendan L. Smith, Seen Not Heard, 2016 (in Fluid Dynamics). Photo: artist.

The works by Brendan L. Smith (currently Arts and Humanities Coordinator of the Center) also refer to the past and the transformation of things and people over time in a completely different aesthetic.  His Melted Vinyl series is fascinating with its odd assemblages of materials as different as plastic, discarded electronics, toys, comics and antique photographs.  Spread over a downstairs area in various vitrines, each group appears to address a thematic idea and employ different materials in their melted vinyl frames.   I especially liked the contrast of the electronic elements and the old family photos which lure the viewer to contemplate our relation to their time in contrast to ours.


Fluid Dynamics, through July 8, 2018 at the Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912.  Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 AM – 9:30 PM; Friday 8:30 AM-10 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM; Sunday 12-6 PM.  301-891-7100

Claudia Rousseau, Ph.D.

Born and raised in New York City, Claudia Rousseau completed a B.A. in Art History at Hunter College (CUNY), and an M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University in New York. She is Professor of Art History at Montgomery College and is an internationally published scholar, a recognized critic and a curator of many art exhibits in the region. Dr. Rousseau was art critic for the Gazette Newspapers in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick Counties for eleven years, publishing extended monthly reviews of exhibitions of contemporary art. In 2010 she received the honor of juried membership in the prestigious International Association of Art Critics (AICA) for her writing on art. Dr. Rousseau has served on many important art juries, including the Bethesda Painting Competition (the Trawick Prize), the fellowship committee for the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, and the Awards Review Panel for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She also serves as a panel member of the Public Arts Trust Steering Committee of the AHCMC, as well as the Art Review Panel at Maryland Park and Planning for public art.