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“Duality and Wholeness: Flip Dolls and other Healing Dolls” by Erika Cleveland & “Simple Still Life” by Mary Beth Gaiarin

September 12, 2017 - October 5, 2017

“Duality and Wholeness: Flip Dolls and other Healing Dolls” by Erika Cleveland & “Simple Still Life” by Mary Beth Gaiarin Open in TAG; The Associates Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, September 14 – October 5, 2017

Two featured artist shows, “Duality and Wholeness: Flip Dolls and other Healing Dolls” by artist Erika Cleveland, and “Simple Still Life” by artist Mary Beth Gaiarin will open in TAG (The Associates Gallery) on September 14, 2017. This exhibition by Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association members Erika Cleveland and Mary Beth Gaiarin pairs the impressionistic, simplistic realism of Gaiarin’s still lifes with the universality of the themes explored by Cleveland. The show will be on on display from September 14 to October 5. An opening reception will be held on September 14, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

Erika Cleveland, TAG member and healing doll artist, has been exploring “flip” or “topsy turvy” dolls over the past year and a half, since receiving a grant from the Potomac Fiber Arts Association. In this exhibit, she showcases some of the dolls she has been creating as part of this project. Using the modality of the flip doll, she explores dualities such as joy versus loss, constraint versus freedom and a sun goddess versus a moon goddess. Her smaller flip dolls are inspired by her work teaching flip doll making to homeless women at the N. Street shelter in Washington, DC.

Cleveland will also show some dolls that were created with healing intention for specific individuals. The “You Can Dance at Any Age” dolls were made for her mother’s 80th birthday last year. “Eir” and “Airmed,” (along with mini books describing their specific healing intention) were made in collaboration with two women. She hopes that the universality of the themes explored in all of these dolls will resonate with viewers. Cleveland’s work can also be seen at the Jackson Art Center in Washington, DC where she creates her dolls.

Mary Beth Gaiarin, an oil painter, was juried into the Torpedo Factory in March of 2017, and will begin working this month from Studio 322. She paints from life, seeking order and structure from carefully arranged objects but delves deeply into an exploration of color and value. When creating a composition, Gaiarin often elevates her subject to eye level and casts the lighting to create mood and drama. Using a brush or knife, she carves her subjects from the shadows with brilliant hues and shades. She maintains a tight intimate focus to draw the viewer in, strives for a balance of serenity and calm, but with a surprise of intense color.

In this show, Gaiarin demonstrates her love of painting small, intimate arrangements. She explores the architectural structure of single subjects, or several within simple setups — such as a vase of flowers or strawberries in a green cardboard box. She seeks an intimacy and invitation that will call to and draw the viewer from across the room.


September 12, 2017
October 5, 2017
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1801 N Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302 United States
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Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
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Torpedo Factory Art Center is part of the City of Alexandria Office of the Arts, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.