Tag Archives: Featured

The Late Shift: Folklore

October is the time for stories, traditions, and folklore. It’s also National Arts & Humanities Month. Hear old familiar tales and create new stories.

MasPaz @MasPaz
Maspaz.co

MasPaz was born in Bogota, Colombia, adopted from La Casa De La Madre Y El Niño orphanage, to an American family, and raised in Washington, DC. His Latin American heritage plays a huge role in his art today. MasPaz is a graduate of George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. His studio work, installations and gallery projects have been exhibited throughout the world most notably The Smithsonian Institution, Corcoran Gallery of Art and The New Museum. MasPaz lives and works in Arlington, Va, but spends a majority of his time traveling, teaching and painting murals across the world.

 

 

 

Monolith @monolithdc
Monolith is a DC-based artist from Northern Virginia, whose work is informed typography, pop culture, social justice and political philosophy. They believe that art forms born in the streets, graffiti and street art in particular, can reclaim space monopolized by eyesores of capitalism and advertising. A co-founder of the 411 Collective, Monolith uses street art to elevate the creative language of resistance as one of the few remaining avenues of independent expression and culture in local communities facing rapid gentrification.

 

 

 

JAH-ONE @you_are_jah
www.youarejah.com

JAH-ONE is the moniker chosen by this artist. He was classically trained in watercolor and acrylic at a young age and would later go on to teach himself how to paint with oil and sculpt using traditional and synthetic clays. Through fortunate occurrence he was introduced to aerosol and the art of graffiti. The skills and lessons gained from graffiti, have allowed him to begin creating larger work more rapidly. He is now a full-time artist that splits his time between his roots in the studio and his new found love of public art in the form of murals.

 

 

 

Jamilla Okubo @jamillaokubo
www.jamillaokubo.co

Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media artist. Washington, D.C. raised, Okubo earned her BFA in Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design. Her work has a consistent theme of exploring the intricacy of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity and aims to use her interdisciplinary concentration as a medium to address topics within her culture. Rotating between collage, painting, fashion design, and printmaking her work is heavily inspired by the art of storytelling through textiles and fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gean Martinez @_grave__
Gean Martinez is a self-taught fine artist and muralist from Washington, D.C. His artwork embodies elements of nature, space, and the afterlife. Though it is ever evolving during the process he aims to use household and found objects to create earthly textures. He uses this method of painting to one day change the thought process of humans relationship with nature.

 

 

FAME @dcsofaimeous
FAME is a visual/mural artist from Washington, DC. He began writing graffiti when he was 14-years old. His creative talents have contributed to numerous public and private murals throughout the city, most recently Little Havana, a Cuban/Caribbean restaurant in Columbia Heights, DC. He is a founding member of ART B.L.O.C. DC and is part of the Double Down Kings graffiti crew.

 

 

 

 

Michelle Chen @shiyuart
www.shiyu.art

Michelle is DC-based artist from Maryland. Working primarily in acrylic, oil, and spray paint, Michelle explores identity, belonging, and transformation with an eye to how these emerge from shared stories and symbols. Michelle is the Gallery Assistant and Events Coordinator at IA&A at Hillyer and is currently a New Project Studio artist-in-residence at Torpedo Factory Art Center.

 

 

 

 

Shani Shih @shanishih
www.shanishih.com

Shani is a multimedia artist based in Washington DC, originally from New Jersey. Featuring bold linework, gritty textures, and human figures intertwined with industrial structures, much of her personal work speaks to day-to-day social and bodily experience in the stratified and colonized landscapes of the modern world. Shani works in the DMV around community arts, anti-displacement, and is currently also artist-in-residence at Torpedo Factory Art Center’s New Project Studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Omi Collective transforms the South Hall of the Art Center into an Art Lounge, featuring two community art projects for visitors to join in.

Featuring the collaborative work of artist Nicole Wandera and boys and girls from the Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys & Girls Club. The finished work will hang in the club as a gift from the artist and the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Nicole Wandera  @nicole_the_african

Nicole Wandera is a multidisciplinary artist, who brings to life the essence of the human experience. Raised in Nairobi Kenya, she uses her cultural background to build depth and colour into her work. Through the use of traditional and digital mediums, she creates visual stories that depict the beauty and complexity of the world we live in.  Her art is mostly figurative, and use symbology as a means of conveying emotion where words tend to fall short.

As a champion for social justice, Nicole has used her talents as a vehicle for change. Her work is a catalyst for conversations not easily started, while capturing moments that strike at the heart of many of today’s issues by telling the stories of those whose voices have been silenced, through discrimination and injustice.

 

Visitors are also invited to take part in completing a work-in-progress by Torpedo Factory Art Center studio artist Michael Fischerkeller (Studio 5). The finished work will be donated to the Carpenter’s Shelter as part of the Art Center’s ongoing mission to bring art and inspiration to the Alexandria community.

 

Michael Fischerkeller @m_fischerkeller

Following a meditation – induced heart opening in the Summer of 2013 , Michael Fischerkeller was inspired to elucidate through art the truth s of disruptive social issues of our time. Having acquired a Ph.D. in political science in 1996, Michael leverages his academic background to offer concise, often poignant compositions and accompanying narratives to provide deep understanding and coherence of complex issues. Fischerkeller is inspired by street artists and so, recognizing that the “street” is most often and most severely impacted by social issues, he chose their primary instrument of communication – spraypaint – to deliver his messages. His starting point is always a black canvas, symbolic of the black light referenced in Sufi mystical prose from which the light of our universe emanates, light that seeks to overcome the darkness in our lives. Through on – going meditative practice Michael receives guidance on issues upon which he should focus and imagery to support their understanding. His art w ork has been shown in dozens of juried exh i bitions , nationally an d internationally , with a particular emphasis on exhibit ions focusing on art’s role in promoting social change. He strives to ensure that his art educates, inspires, and offers opportunities for personal healing . Michael lives and creates in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

  • Healing the Body – Site 2 Exhibition and Interactive Project with visitors
  • Pop-up performances with Through the 4th Wall to celebrate their new musical “19” – a play about women winning the right to vote.
  • Three floors of art studios and galleries to explore all night.
  • Torpedo Row – featuring artists from across the DMV.

Connecting the Dots 2: Dot’s Beauty Salon

The Torpedo Factory Art Center welcomes back The HRCHY C.I.A. to the New Project Studio for a follow-up to their successful 2016 project, “Connecting the Dots,” an ongoing exhibition dedicated to highlighting artists from diverse backgrounds living in the DC, MD, and VA metropolitan area.

Connecting the Dots 2: Dot’s Beauty Salon

CONNECTING THE DOTS is an ongoing exhibition dedicated to highlighting urban artists from unique backgrounds living in the DC, MD, and VA metropolitan area presented by The HRCHY C.I.A

• This year’s 2018 Connecting The Dots 2 is inspired by Gentrification, “The Culture of Black Beauty,” and how the first affects the second in regards to the dynamics of unity, confidence, and pride in its communities.

• The purpose of this year’s exhibition is to encourage and promote a strong sense of culture, pride, and confidence to young girls of color as well as promoting entrepreneurship, business, ownership, and financial well-being at a young age.

Concept

CTD2: Dot’s Beauty Salon is a pop up community retail space based in Washington, DC in 1980. A time when DC was known as the “Chocolate City” and DC solely thrived off urban culture, black business, and building and unifying the community. CTD2: Dot’s Beauty Salon is an exhibition in the form of an upscale black beauty shop/salon/community hub. The Exhibition itself is an installation piece and chosen works will be curated on the “salon” walls.

Beauty + Barber Shops have always been a staple in the black communities offering and sharing business, work, news, gossip, and support. Despite their importance, Black Beauty Shops and supply stores are usually the first to be removed from these communities when Gentrification takes place. The Beauty shop is the social focus and the art presented in the beauty shop will help depict ethnic and urban culture in DC, MD, VA.

Watch the Artists Panel

Related Events

 – Exhibition Dates: New Project Studio: Saturday, October 6th – Friday, December 28th, CTD2 Annex Site 2: Friday, December 7 – Sunday, February 10
Opening ReceptionFriday, October 12th (part of the October “Folklore” Late Shift, 7 – 10 pm)
Beauty Gala: Creative Artist Panel and Soiree/Mingle Thursday, October 25 (in conjunction with Howard University’s Homecoming Week)
– Closing Reception: Friday, December 14th (part of the December “Connecting the Dots II” Late Shift, 7 – 10 pm)

The Exhibiting Artists

  • JAMILLA OKUBO

  • DANI SMITH

  • CITA “MISS CHELOVE” SADELI

  • JERMAINE “JET” CARTER

  • DARIUS MORENO

  • GABIREL “FILTHY FELLOFF”

  • KAYLA “GOLD LEMONS” MYERS

  • HALEIGH NICKERSON

  • ASHA HANNAH

  • SAM LINDENFELD

Curated Artists

  • Asha Hannah
  • Nia Keturah
  • Jordan Ross
  • Lionel White
  • Lloyd Foster
  • Conrado Muluc
  • Jamon Jackson
  • Ania Siniuk
  • Kiery Benitez
  • Julie Sheah

 

About the HRCHY

THE HRCHY C.I.A is a start-up creative intelligence agency that specializes in branding and campaigning. We offer many creative solutions and services that enable our clients to promote their brand and/or product in new and innovative ways. These services include, but are not limited to, conceptions, event planning, web and graphics design, commercial filming, & product seeding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Juror

Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media artist. Washington, D.C. raised, Okubo earned her BFA in Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design. Her work has a consistent theme of exploring the intricacy of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity and aims to use her interdisciplinary concentration as a medium to address topics within her culture. Rotating between collage, painting, fashion design, and printmaking her work is heavily inspired by the art of storytelling through textiles and fashion.

Her work has been exhibited at Milk Gallery, Calabar Gallery,  Weeksville Heritage Center, and the Dray Walk Gallery.

 

Yoga & Sound

Local sound artist, yogi and meditation guide, Jeneen Piccuirro, will lead her signature one-hour class carefully guiding a gentle yoga series with a crystal bowl accompaniment and closing with a gong meditation. Jeneen’s authentic integrated holistic offerings are designed with comfort, health and ultimate rejuvenation in mind. It’s a great start to the weekend for mind, body and soul while surrounded by the art and creativity of the Torpedo Factory.

Doors open at 8:30 am. Class starts promptly at 9 am. Please arrive with time to settle in and bring a yoga mat and water bottle. (A limited number of mats will be available for rent by the teacher for $5.)

Price: $10 advance ticket sale online. $15 at the door.

Buy Tickets Now

Organized by the Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. 


Class outline

Class begin with a crystal bowl meditation and will include gentle movement for circulation and flow and move in to a few accessible seated Asanas (poses) for stretching and release. Options for all levels will be offered. Chairs will be available for those who would like them. Class will end with a 15 min Savassana, in which students will be invited to lie down and listen to the gong.

Crystal Singing Bowls are made of quartz and resonate to specific frequencies. They create a clear “toning” that brings a state of calm and centeredness to the body. This vibrational sound is heard and felt through the whole body and assists in the process of relaxation which can be very helpful in yoga asana or meditation practices.

The Symphonic Gong in contrast, made of a brass compound, belongs to some of the oldest musical instruments known. It has complex harmonics with a clear fundamental tone and rich dynamic overtones that literally wash over and through the body. Due to the complexity and totality of this sound, the effects are quite comprehensive and the sound in affect “re-sets” the body and mind to a state of neutral.

Instructor Bio

Jeneen Piccuirro, MFA, has over 25 years of experience leading original Art, Meditation, Yoga, Dance, Sound Healing and Movement based offerings, and is a pioneer in integrating and genuinely combining these modalities to bring the body & mind into balance for long term well-being. Her skillful approach gently shifts people out of habits of escapism and avoidance into healthier patterns of acceptance and understanding, paving the way for a deeper residing peace and joy.

Community Writing Workshop

Community Building Art Works returns to the Riverview Room for the next Community Writing Workshop. No creative writing experience required!

September’s workshop will be led by the National Endowment for the Arts Lit Team: Amy Stolls (Director of Literature) Mohamed Sheriff (Literature Specialist) Jessica Flynn (Literature Specialist) Katy Day (Assistant Grants Management Specialist).

About the Series

Led by accomplished authors, these generative workshops focus on the craft of writing as a tool for introspection, communication, and connection. Bring a pen, a notebook, and an open mind! Tickets are free, but we appreciate a donation of $5-10 to support our programs.

Light refreshments will be provided. Doors at 6:30 pm; workshop begins promptly at 7 pm.

$5 suggested donation. Registration required.

Register Now

RESCHEDULED — Beer & Wine Torpedo Garden

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Due to the expected inclement weather from Hurricane Florence, the 16th Annual King Street Art Festival has been postponed to September 22 & 23. Likewise, the Beer and Wine Torpedo Garden is changing dates to match.

Many activities from The Late Shift: Culture ALX will be moved to this weekend, as it has been canceled for weather. The Shop & Stroll to the Art Center will proceed as originally planned.

Check back for an updated schedule of activities.



While exploring the 16th Annual King Street Art Festival, step inside to shop for art with a drink in your hand and shade overhead. Sample crafted beer and wine throughout the Art Center.

RESCHEDULED — Beer & Wine Torpedo Garden

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Due to the expected inclement weather from Hurricane Florence, the 16th Annual King Street Art Festival has been postponed to September 22 & 23. Likewise, the Beer and Wine Torpedo Garden is changing dates to match.

Many activities from The Late Shift: Culture ALX will be moved to this weekend, as it has been canceled for weather. The Shop & Stroll to the Art Center will proceed as originally planned.

Check back for an updated schedule of activities.



While exploring the 16th Annual King Street Art Festival, step inside to shop for art with a drink in your hand and shade overhead. Sample crafted beer and wine throughout the Art Center.

Torpedo Talks: Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery

Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery is the first gallery in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area dedicated exclusively to work in a fiber medium or fiber technique.

In September, hear from a panel of gallery members about trends and what’s next in the fiber arts.

CANCELED — The Late Shift: Culture ALX

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Due to the expected inclement weather from Hurricane Florence later this week, we will be canceling the September Late Shift on Friday, September 14.

We hope you will join us the following weekend, September 22 and 23, for the similarly rescheduled Beer & Wine Torpedo Garden event, part of the 16th Annual King Street Art Festival. Much of the festivities from The Late Shift will be moving to this weekend instead.

Also, save the date for the October Late Shift: Folklore, on Friday, October 12.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We hope you stay safe this week.




Artists, poets, and performers showcase the vibrant cultures that have greatly contributed to the region’s remarkable tapestry. Target Gallery celebrates the opening of Juxtaposed, highlighting the contrasting and contradictory.

 

  • Opening Reception for Juxtaposed, a group exhibition focusing on the contradictory or conflicting. Whether it be through the use of mixed media or the themes represented, the works in the exhibition are at odds with two or more juxtaposing concepts. Reception, 7-10 pm, Artist and Juror Talk, 8 pm.
  • Closing reception and final Hands-on workshops for New Art/New Voices with emerging artists Han Sol Jeon, Michelle Chen and Shani Shih in the New Project Studio (Studio 8).
  • Artist Talk with Post Grad Sara Roberts as she finishes her 3-month residency at the Art Center. Conversation in the Riverview Room (208)

    Paint Jam Art Project on the Waterfront

    • Curated by New Project Studio artists Shani Shih and Michelle Chen, seven DC and Northern Virginia-based artists come together to create unique artworks to be donated by the Torpedo Factory Art Center to various nonprofits and social-minded Alexandria-based organizations.

MasPaz @MasPaz
Maspaz.co

MasPaz was born in Bogota, Colombia, adopted from La Casa De La Madre Y El Niño orphanage, to an American family, and raised in Washington, DC. His Latin American heritage plays a huge role in his art today. MasPaz is a graduate of George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. His studio work, installations and gallery projects have been exhibited throughout the world most notably The Smithsonian Institution, Corcoran Gallery of Art and The New Museum. MasPaz lives and works in Arlington, Va, but spends a majority of his time traveling, teaching and painting murals across the world.

 

 

 

Monolith @monolithdc
Monolith is a DC-based artist from Northern Virginia, whose work is informed typography, pop culture, social justice and political philosophy. They believe that art forms born in the streets, graffiti and street art in particular, can reclaim space monopolized by eyesores of capitalism and advertising. A co-founder of the 411 Collective, Monolith uses street art to elevate the creative language of resistance as one of the few remaining avenues of independent expression and culture in local communities facing rapid gentrification.

 

 

 

JAH-ONE @you_are_jah
www.youarejah.com

JAH-ONE is the moniker chosen by this artist. He was classically trained in watercolor and acrylic at a young age and would later go on to teach himself how to paint with oil and sculpt using traditional and synthetic clays. Through fortunate occurrence he was introduced to aerosol and the art of graffiti. The skills and lessons gained from graffiti, have allowed him to begin creating larger work more rapidly. He is now a full-time artist that splits his time between his roots in the studio and his new found love of public art in the form of murals.

 

 

 

Jamilla Okubo @jamillaokubo
www.jamillaokubo.co

Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media artist. Washington, D.C. raised, Okubo earned her BFA in Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design. Her work has a consistent theme of exploring the intricacy of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity and aims to use her interdisciplinary concentration as a medium to address topics within her culture. Rotating between collage, painting, fashion design, and printmaking her work is heavily inspired by the art of storytelling through textiles and fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gean Martinez @_grave__
Gean Martinez is a self-taught fine artist and muralist from Washington, D.C. His artwork embodies elements of nature, space, and the afterlife. Though it is ever evolving during the process he aims to use household and found objects to create earthly textures. He uses this method of painting to one day change the thought process of humans relationship with nature.

 

 

FAME @dcsofaimeous
FAME is a visual/mural artist from Washington, DC. He began writing graffiti when he was 14-years old. His creative talents have contributed to numerous public and private murals throughout the city, most recently Little Havana, a Cuban/Caribbean restaurant in Columbia Heights, DC. He is a founding member of ART B.L.O.C. DC and is part of the Double Down Kings graffiti crew.

 

 

 

 

Michelle Chen @shiyuart
www.shiyu.art

Michelle is DC-based artist from Maryland. Working primarily in acrylic, oil, and spray paint, Michelle explores identity, belonging, and transformation with an eye to how these emerge from shared stories and symbols. Michelle is the Gallery Assistant and Events Coordinator at IA&A at Hillyer and is currently a New Project Studio artist-in-residence at Torpedo Factory Art Center.

 

 

 

 

Shani Shih @shanishih
www.shanishih.com

Shani is a multimedia artist based in Washington DC, originally from New Jersey. Featuring bold linework, gritty textures, and human figures intertwined with industrial structures, much of her personal work speaks to day-to-day social and bodily experience in the stratified and colonized landscapes of the modern world. Shani works in the DMV around community arts, anti-displacement, and is currently also artist-in-residence at Torpedo Factory Art Center’s New Project Studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Omi Collective transforms the Waterfront into an Art Lounge, featuring two community art projects for visitors to join in.

Featuring the collaborative work of artist Nicole Wandera and boys and girls from the Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys & Girls Club. The finished work will hang in the club as a gift from the artist and the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Nicole Wandera  @nicole_the_african

Nicole Wandera is a multidisciplinary artist, who brings to life the essence of the human experience. Raised in Nairobi Kenya, she uses her cultural background to build depth and colour into her work. Through the use of traditional and digital mediums, she creates visual stories that depict the beauty and complexity of the world we live in.  Her art is mostly figurative, and use symbology as a means of conveying emotion where words tend to fall short.

 

As a champion for social justice, Nicole has used her talents as a vehicle for change. Her work is a catalyst for conversations not easily started, while capturing moments that strike at the heart of many of today’s issues by telling the stories of those whose voices have been silenced, through discrimination and injustice.

 

  • Healing the Body – Site 2 Exhibition and Interactive Project with visitors
  • Pop-up performances with Through the 4th Wall to celebrate their new musical “19” – a play about women winning the right to vote.
  • Video Projections on the Waterfront side of the building, featuring works by Nguyen Khoi Nguyen , Gabrielle Tillenburg, and more (full list to come).
  • Three floors of art studios and galleries to explore all night.

Through the 4th Wall presents “19” – Staged Reading

Immersive theater company Through the 4th Wall  (Creators of the Poe production Dream within a Dream: Madness) return to the Art Center to they bring their latest play to life.

The musical 19 celebrates the dynamic and little-known story of Alice Paul, suffragists and the fight to get women the right to vote— the 19th Amendment. The inspirational story of these fearless women is brought to life through jazz, spoken word, dance and audience interaction.

Book and Lyrics by Jennifer Schwed & Doug Bradshaw

Music by Charlie Barnett


Performance dates:

  • Wednesday, September 12 – Cancelled due to high water in Old Town
  • Tuesday, October 16
  • Wednesday, November 28

Show Information:

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (doors at 7:00 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm)
Tickets: $10

Purchase Tickets Now

Be sure to also visit the Through the 4th Wall table at the following three Late Shifts for more information about this exciting new play, as well as pop-up performances throughout the evening’s activities.

  • Friday, September 14 – Late Shift: Culture ALX – Cancelled due to high water in Old Town
  • Friday, October 12 – Late Shift: Folklore
  • Friday, November 9 – Late Shift: 100

About Through the 4th Wall

As filmmakers and multimedia storytellers, TT4W brings fantasy worlds to life. They build an elaborate “mythology” and then create an experience centered around audiences, while simultaneously engaging them to become a part of the story. They design immersive experiences that place audience not just in the front row, but through the imaginary “4th Wall” of the performance. Through these productions, they build a unique relationship with each audience member by changing them from a “passive viewer” into an “active participant.” The goal is always to make you a part of the story.

TT4W’s most recent collaboration at the Art Center was A Dream Within A Dream: Madnessa two-month sold out run in 2016 – a surreal and romantically macabre show that explored the twisted mind of Edgar Allan Poe.

Juxtaposed

Reception: Friday, October 12, 2018 | 7-10 pm

Target Gallery is happy to announce selected artists for Juxtaposed, a group exhibition focusing on the contradictory or conflicting. Whether it be through the use of mixed media or the themes represented, the works in the exhibition are at odds with two or more juxtaposing concepts.


Participating Artists

Miranda Brandon
Nora Burghardt
Theresa Devine
Travis Donovan
Nadia Estela
Ryan Lewis
Brian McClear
Christina Reed
Pam Rogers
Lyle Rushing
Caroline Wayne
Megan White


About the Juror

Megan Rook-Koepsel is an independent curator working in the greater Washington, DC area.  She has served as a curatorial intern at the Rose Art Museum and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Graduate Coordinator for the Stamp Gallery and mentor to the Contemporary Art Purchasing Program at the University of Maryland, and as Exhibitions Manager for Arlington Arts Center.  Rook-Koepsel has curated and organized numerous exhibitions in the area including Disidentifications (2009) at the Stamp Gallery; Constructed Place (2010) at Annemarie Garden Sculpture Park and Art Center; WPA SELECT (2014); Homeward Bound (2015) and King of the Forest: Adventures in Bioperversity (2016) at Arlington Arts Center; and Performing the Border (2017) for the Alper Initiative for Washington Art at the American University Museum. Recently, Rook-Koepsel was asked to identify women artists in the DC/Baltimore region for consideration in the upcoming exhibition Women to Watch 2018 at the National Museum for Women in the Arts. Rook-Koepsel holds a BA in Art History from Brandeis University and an MA in Art History with a focus on Contemporary Art and Theory from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Notes from the Juror

jux.ta.pose

:to place (different things) side by side (as to compare or contrast them or to create an interesting effect)[1]

In the language of art and art history ‘juxtaposed’ is a significant word. Any student of art history learns very early on that placing two artworks next to each other can open up incredible ways of thinking and allow us to notice things that we might not have before. Juxtaposing helps to define certain elements, ideas, and styles. Juxtaposed works can reveal otherwise subtle or hidden meanings. Yet the definition of the word juxtapose is a surprisingly simple one. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines juxtapose as “to place (different things) side by side (as to compare or contrast them or to create an interesting effect).” That’s it. To place things side by side. What can we learn when we place one thing next to another?

The works in this exhibition encompass the subtlety and complexity that can unfold from the simple act of “placing side by side.” Whether it be a literal placement of two disparate visual elements side by side as in the case of Megan White and Nora Burghardt’s Topos series, or Pam Rogers’s Rescue and Contiguous; or the juxtaposition of tone between the visual and the content as in Caroline Wayne’s Pretty Real series, Miranda Brandon’s Erasure, or Theresa Divine’s ‘Til Disability Do Us Part & In Sickness And In Health, these works present a juxtaposition that gives us pause, allows us to access difficult content, and dig into the more complicated meanings at hand.

Many of the works in this exhibition use juxtaposition to present hard truths with which we must grapple. In Ryan Lewis’s and Travis Donovan’s works, for example, juxtaposed elements call attention to identity, and how easily (or not easily) one fits within the structures of our society. Society, and a reminder of the structures of power that continue to plague it, are also on display in Nadia Estela’s Vis Insita and Lex Insita. Lyle Rushing, Christina Reed, and Brian McClear remind us that sometimes what is juxtaposed is our highest ideals as a society—justice, equality, freedom of expression—and the actual lived reality for many of us.

It is my hope that these works, ‘placed side by side’ not only “creates an interesting effect,” as in the dictionary definition of ‘to juxtapose,’ but also provides an entry into the complex, challenging, thoughtful (and thought provoking) narratives that each work brings out through its own juxtaposition, as well as through being placed in context with each other. The dictionary definition of ‘to juxtapose’ belies the incredible depth of knowledge and understanding that can arise from two things placed side by side. The works in this exhibition redefine this simple action into one far more significant.

—Megan Rook-Koepsel

[1] From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary (www.merriam-webster.com)

Image Credit: Travis Donovan, Skeletor, ceramic, 2017