The Art Center’s signature evening series features eclectic art and activities. In among three floors of open artists’ studios, find gallery receptions, stimulating artist talks, pop-up performances, hands-on projects, lively music, and more.
Hands on projects, music, craft beer, and more light up Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Late Shift. With projects by contemporary and emerging artists Julia Kwon, Danielle Dravenstadt, Kate Fitzpatrick, Emily Fussner, Lilia Gestson, Kerry Hentges, Jen Lillis, and Dawn Whitmore.
INSTALLATIONS & PERFORMANCES:
to Break / to Mend
Guest-Curated by Danielle Dravenstadt
What does it mean to heal? This collaboration explores the ways in which artists unearth a lost wholeness, mend brokenness, order chaos, and make the invisible visible. In to Break / to Mend, artists explore the human instinct to connect with the ground as a means of survival, respite, and healing.
- Kate Fitzpatrick
- Emily Fussner
- Kerry Hentges
- Lilia Gestson
- Jen Lillis
- Dawn Whitmore
ABOUT THE PROJECTS AND PERFORMERS
KATE FITZPATRICK: TIDE
Kate Fitzpatrick is a painter, MFA candidate, and Graduate Lecturer at George Mason University. Her work challenges the viewer to think about the nature of language, symbols, and meaning. Instead of replicating known letters or rearranging words to make new meaning, she uses marks to simultaneously deny transfer of information and invite the viewer to create new meaning. The viewer observes the “postscript” and becomes the foreigner, experiencing a new language for the first time. The unintelligible calligraphy functions as writing and it is our inability to unlock the information contained in those marks which invites a dialogue about the nature of language and meaning. We can enjoy the formal qualities of the letters and how they’re put together, but cannot fathom their intent. Because of this, we can appreciate the text as a container but are left with letters that don’t function as they should. Fitzpatrick’s postscript invites a dialogue about the relationship between symbols and meaning that viewers can use to create a new reality.
Project Statement: “Ocean tides embody the process of movement through the rise and fall of sea levels that are caused by the powerful forces of the moon, sun, and the rotation of the earth. Although we have no control over these ebbs and flows, they are structured patterns that can be predicted. I sometimes think of the ocean tide during yoga practice when using the vigorous breathing technique, Ujjayi Pranayama. This breathing method is used throughout the yoga practice to warm up the body and keep the oxygen flowing to all parts of the body (prana). To practice Ujjayi, you completely fill your lungs by slightly contracting your throat and breathe out through your nose, which creates an “ocean sound” that helps me stay present and self-aware.”
Emily Fussner is an interdisciplinary artist with a BS from Gordon Weselyan University and an MFA from George Mason University. She was born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and grew up equal parts overseas and in the US. Her work questions what it means to care for the stepped-over and to pause for the fleeting. How does one mend and fill a gap? Or materially archive the immaterial? Her site-responsive practice seeks the overlooked, often filling and casting cracks in the ground with paper pulp, or tracing and capturing shapes of sunlight and shadow. By highlighting and translating overlooked spaces and fragile patterns, what is usually mundane and peripheral can envelop and confront us in new ways, inviting us to re-examine our relationship to our own daily landscape.
LILIA GESTSON: HEALING GARDEN
Lilia Gestson grew up in the suburbs of DC where she cultivated her love for the visual and performing arts. As a performing artist, Lilia pursued a career in dance with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. During her recovery from an injury, she discovered her love for the visual arts and shifted her artistic focus to fine art. She is currently living in Gaithersburg Maryland and pursuing a Fine Arts degree at Montgomery College. Most recently, she has shown her work in the Solo Lab 5 Performance Art Festival (2019), the Olly Olly Talk Show (2019), and Montgomery College’s Student Exhibition (2019). Her work has also been shown in the Print Club of Rochester’s Political Impressions international juried exhibition (2018), the VisArts NextGen5.0 juried exhibition (2018), Montgomery College’s Student Exhibition (2018), and the Baltimore Jewelry Center’s Radical Jewelry Makeover exhibition (2017). Lilia was awarded the Rockville Art Department Endowed scholarship in 2018 and is the president of Montgomery College’s Student Art League. She is currently working at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden where she continues to cultivate a love for contemporary art.
Project Statement: “This artwork will be an interactive fiber arts piece that will use the essence of nature to create a healing garden. As a performative work, Healing Garden will lay on the ground as a carpet and visitors will be encouraged to interact and contribute to the garden. Healing Garden will start as a flat lace carpet and each visitor will be encouraged to write a healing wish on a small naturally hand dyed square that will then be sewn as a 3D abstract flower onto the lace carpet. The sewing will take place either by the visitor or myself in real time during the duration of the event. As more visitors contribute there will be more flowers added and the healing wishes will be interconnected with energy form nature. The naturally dyed fabric and lace will symbolize the grounding energy from nature and will hold these wishes inside them, allowing visitors to acknowledge their pain and give it to nature for healing.”
KERRY HENTGES: HANGING TOGETHER
Kerry Hentges is a mixed media artist who utilizes found objects, writing, thread, and book art to confront anxiety. While anxiety motivates her studio practice, the practice in turn helps her understand and ease anxiety. According to Hentges, art is a way of understanding oneself and meditating on what is important. Hentges’ current work focuses on understanding thought pattern and emotion. According to Hentges, “thought is inherently contradictory, humans experience many emotions at once.” Hentges explores this contradiction in her work through materials like wood, nails, and string and she studies the patterns they make together. The goal of her work is for others to analyze their own thoughts and find a source of healing.
Project Statement: “Hanging Together is an on-site thread installation depicting the complexity of thoughts. Hentges takes a simple fabric sheet and stitches complex patterns representing different emotions. From anxious to calm, the threads work their way down the tapestry and ground themselves in an orderly pattern at the bottom. The bottom threads weave towards other works in the gallery that help viewers explore concepts of caring and healing.”
Jennifer Lillis is an artist and administrator in Northern Virginia with an MFA from George Mason University and a BA from Marymount University in 2012. Her work focuses on deconstruction, transformation, and ritual of landscape, language and material through her studio practice. She is the co-founder of ELEMENTS and Gallery Manager at the McLean Project for the Arts.
DAWN WHITMORE: SLEEP
Dawn Whitmore is a Washington, DC based interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on myth and identity. She received a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art in 2005. She is presently an artist in residence at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. Her work has been shown nationally including: the Corcoran Gallery of Art (DC), Mesa Museum of Contemporary Art (AZ), Hemphill Fine Arts (DC), Area 405 (MD), Spring Gallery (NY) and published in The Guardian, The Washington Post and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She is a recipient of the Artist Fellowship Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts.
Project Statement: “Sleep is an installation that mimics the decent and journey into sleep as the mind begins to downshift to process memories and emotions as well as healing the physical body. The soundscape begins by making audible the chattery processing of the mind (stages 1-2 of our sleep cycle), then the deep coma-like state where physiological healing occurs (stages 3-4) and finally the vivid and dream intensive REM sleep. According to Dr. Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, ‘we are now living in a worldwide test of the negative consequences of sleep deprivation.’ Sleep enable both the body and mind to heal – without proper sleep we would die. This work is an auditory journey into the underworld of sleep and where we mend both emotional and physical ailments.”
ABOUT THE GUEST-CURATOR
Danielle Dravenstadt is an interdisciplinary artist, specializing in photography, with an MA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA from Furman University. She is a photography instructor at the School of Art at George Mason University. Her work explores, challenges, and transforms the ordinary through photography, painting, printmaking, and installation. She transfigures mundane and transient moments into arresting and immutable artifacts, revealing nuanced perceptions of the quotidian.
EXHIBITIONS & ARTIST PROJECTS
SOLO EXHIBITION: JULIA KWON
PROJECT: 7–10 pm
Target Gallery presents interdisciplinary artist Julia Kwon. Kwon creates sculpture and textile art that explore reductive representation, othering, and objectification, in relation to ethnicity and gender as a Korean American woman. Kwon was chosen from nearly 130 artists from across North America for this annual competitive opportunity for a solo show.
From 7-10pm, the artist will be present to Collective Quilting in the Grand Hall directly in front of Target Gallery.
Collective Quilting is an ongoing, collaborative project where participants contribute to a large communal quilt while discussing issues regarding gender and ethnicity. Participants may bring in remnant fabrics from their own lives or embroider images and texts to share their thoughts and personal experiences of objectification. Each work is added to a larger patchwork in support and solidarity with others. The project has been hosted at Textile Arts Center (2017), Montgomery College (2018), IA&A at Hillyer (2018), Korean Cultural Center in DC (2019), and NARS Foundation (2019).
OPENING RECEPTION: KIM SANDARA
Summer Post-Grad Resident
RECEPTION: 7–10 pm
Kim Sandara is a queer, Laotian/Vietnamese artist based in Northern Virginia. A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Sandara’s narrative and abstract works encourage empathy, wonder and self-reflection. Sandara’s work has been featured in many D.C. community events including a recent workshop at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She is currently working on a graphic novel on her coming out story. Stop by her studio from 7-10 pm to meet the artist and see her work in person.
SOLO EXHIBITION: SISSY CUTCHEN
RECEPTION: 7–10 pm, ARTIST TALK: 7:30 pm
Sissy Cutchen is a contemporary American folk artist using found objects in particular windows, furniture, and textiles as her canvases. Her work is happy, whimsical, and fun.
Sissy celebrates the lives and stories of objects and their creators. She loves to appreciate an item’s history by bringing it into a contemporary value through making it a part of her beautiful folk art. This work is repurposing in its highest form.
MASON ARTS PROJECT STUDIO (STUDIO 8)
OPEN STUDIO: 7 – 10 pm
Danielle Dravenstadt is an interdisciplinary artist, specializing in photography, with an MA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA from Furman University. She is an MFA candidate and photography instructor at the School of Art at George Mason University. Her work explores, challenges, and transforms the ordinary through photography, painting, printmaking, and installation, articulating nuanced perceptions of everyday life.
Project Statement: In Tend, Dravenstadt transforms simple gestures of care into radical expressions of acceptance through photography and installation. Dravenstadt builds an aesthetic around the tender engagement with materials of caretakers to make care visible, mentionable, and to provoke a consideration of the transformative potential of practicing care in daily life.
STUDIO 5: HANDS-ON PROJECTS
The Omi Collective
OPEN STUDIO: 7 – 10 pm
The Omi Collective provides artist-inspired fashion and design products to consumers seeking unique, authentic, and artful items to inspire, and add to, their personal style. They maintain mindful and conscious support for the artists who create them. Stop by Studio 5 for hands-on projects with the artists and see their brand-new mural design on the studio floor.