March Mid City Gallery Exhibition Previews

By Phil Hutinet on March 4, 2015
Feya Grand's powerful African Landscapes on view at gallery plan b later in March.
Freya Grand’s powerful African Landscapes on view at gallery plan b later in March.

Mary D. Ott’s Compulsive Botany at Touchstone
Mary Ott has created a series of seemingly uniform paintings of the same subject with color appearing as the only variant.  At first sight, the viewer might find the repetitive nature of the work almost compulsive, serial and mass produced.  However, upon closer inspection, the individuality of the each piece finds itself at odds with the viewer’s first impression in that forms and shapes begin to appear.  Are those grasses?  But what are these grasses? Are they sea oats or amber waves of grain? Perhaps they are marsh reeds rising out of the muddy waters toward the sky.  To this end Ott’s work forces the mind to find recognizable shapes amidst the streaking upward lines.  However, an attempt to discern recognizable botanical patterns presents the viewer with a new conundrum—Ott’s paintings may appear representational, however they may also simply be abstract.  Herein lies Ott’s success with this series; by rendering the familiar abstract and obscure, serial and individual, banal and complex, Color challenges the viewer to make sense out of what s/he sees and to interpret systematically contradictory visual language.  Read more about the exhibition here.

Freya Grand’s Africa at gallery plan b
A decade and a half focus on landscape painting has brought Grand to secluded parts of the world far away from manmade places such as cities or farms and the places where the urban and natural worlds intersect.  For Grand, far-flung and uninhabited environments provide the most inspiration for her majestic and sometimes large-format canvases.  In a departure from her powerful rocky seascapes, Grand turns her attention to vast empty stretches of an entire continent—Africa.  Her many travels throughout the continent have led her to create a series paying homage to the some of the most desolate valleys and mountain ranges she encountered there.  Africa depicts jagged, rough mountain peaks and craggy high-altitude deserts softened by a mildly warm palette which employs natural, earth tone hues from light rust to deep brown.  The viewer can’t help but feel awe and inspiration at the sight of Grand’s African landscapes.

Chris Suspect Proves “Punk’s not Dead” 
In the past five years, a large number of local museums and private galleries have offered countless retrospectives exhibitions on the DC hardcore movement employing photography and documentary screenings as the primary content.  Critics have called these retrospectives “nostalgic.”  However, it would appear that documentary filmmakers, historians, curators and scholars have only begun to scratch the surface of a movement that influenced the music of an entire generation.  DC Hardcore influenced every major Gen X band from Nirvana and Pearl Jam in Seattle to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Los Angeles to Brooklyn’s favorite sons, the Beastie Boys.

Photographer Chris Suspect grew up going to DC Hardcore shows in the 1980s and has experienced the movement first hand from its inception.  While many of us are looking back, Suspect is looking forward.  In Suspect Device, Chris Suspect exhibits 20 black and white prints which, upon first glance, appear to be yet another DC Hardcore retrospective.  However, Suspect has captured scenes from the last four years– 2011-2015.  Suspect’s imagery provides documentary evidence of the DC Hardcore movement’s resilience as a new generation of Washingtonians dive into the city’s thriving underground music scene. Read more about Suspect Device HERE

March Mid City Gallery openings:

1530 14th Street NW
202.234.2711 |
Africa by Freya Grand
March 25 – May 23
OPENING RECEPTION:  Saturday, March 28, 6-8 p.m.

977 F Street NW
202.787.5900 |
Suspect Device by Chris Suspect
March 6 – Spring 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, March 6 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20001
202.347.2787 |
•    Sprout Touchstone member artists present works of color and pattern illuminated by spring’s early light.  Collage, painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and hand pulled prints reveal an interest in sprouts of green, new growth, and budding tranquility.
•    Color Painting by Mary D. Ott
March 4 – 29
OPENING RECEPTIONS: Friday March 6, 6 – 8:30 pm
Coffee and Cake:  Sunday March 22, 2 – 4 pm

Current Exhibitions on View:
1530 14th Street NW
202.234.2711 |
TEN BY TEN: The Anniversary Show
Gallery plan b will be celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary. A select group of artists exhibited at the gallery from the past 10 years will present 10” x 10” works.
Through March 22

2608 Georgia Avenue NW
Print Exchange
NOTE: Exhibition is at Upshur Street Books, 827 Upshur Street NW
Hand-pulled prints by Pleasant Plains Workshop resident artists
Through Mar 29

1515 14th Street NW
202.234.5601 |
Stained Paintings: 1964 – 1970 by Willem de Looper
Through March 28

1234 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
202.232.4788 |
ReFresh V
Featuring new works by Mike Weber, James Hunter, Ryan McCoy, Robert Stuart, Casey Vogt and Rebecca Coles.
Through March 29

1404 P Street NW
202.483.1102 |
NOTE: Exhibition is at AU Katzen Center, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Locally Sourced
Provides an in-depth look at the extensive collections of six regionally focused Community Supported Art and Flat File programs that seek to grow recognition and support for artists in their communities.
Through March 15