If you have read Part 1 to this post, you already know I had a great time at the Bethesda Row Arts Festival! I love getting to see new artists’ work! Now in Part 2, it’s time to share 5 artists who really stood out for me at the festival. (Quick side note, the images below are mine unless otherwise noted in the caption…because I had my toddler with me that day…and snapping photos while keeping an eye on a three year-old can be difficult!)
1. Michael Gard
These sculptures completely took my breath away! Michael Gard has captured the motion and elegance of dancing by using his own unique wire weaving technique. According to his website, “each figure begins as a block of clay and a spool of wire. The clay is sculpted. This sculpture is reproduced in wax. Individual lengths of wire are woven and knotted stitch-by-stitch around the wax form. Finally the wax is melted away, leaving a rigid figure, both light and strong.”
On the day that I visited, these figures twirled gracefully in the breeze, suspended by a barely noticeable translucent line. Gard’s sculptures move with the air and allow the viewer to appreciate this three-dimensional work from all sides. Yet, the sculpture itself is only half the artistic story. When the lighting is right, Gard’s work also creates the most exquisite shadows. When two or more of these dancers are displayed in close proximity, the shadows enter into their own seemingly choreographed ballet. Check out Gard’s website to see images of his work installed in homes.
He also incorporates LED lights into some of his pieces to create glowing, celestial bodies. Go to my facebook page to see a video of two of his LED-lit pieces in motion. Trust me, you’ll want one for your home!
2. Mark H Brown
The still life paintings (oil on canvas) by Mark H. Brown are magnificent! Do you know how hard it is to paint glass… and actually have it look like glass?? I do…because I tried…in college (I was painting an arrangement of perfume bottles for my fine arts class) and it was maddening!! How do you accurately capture something that light moves through?? Let alone deal with all the shadows and reflections! I wanted to reach out and grab one of these perfect oranges, but I was utterly captivated by the glass bowl.
3. Andrew Sovjani
Andrew Sovjani creates the most hauntingly striking photographic work and his artistic process is fascinating. Each image is originally captured using black and white film that is then developed in the dark room. According to the artist’s website, “Over several days the B&W print is altered by hand using bleaches, acids, toners, and various homemade concoctions. This reworking changes the silver in the paper and creates beautiful colors, mark making, and spontaneous effects…These raw work prints are then tweaked in the computer until the final visual image is realized and printed using archival pigment inks on 100% rag Baryta coated paper.”
The end result is something that feels dream-like and ethereal. Some pieces even feel painterly, especially where wash marks are still visible. Sovjani’s Wandering series (pictured above) elicits a meditative calm (and Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes keep coming to mind).
A piece from the artist’s Citywerk series had me standing still the longest. A gorgeous shot taken inside New York City’s Grand Central Station with a long exposure (lasting 25 seconds). The clock in the main terminal is stopped at 9:30AM, a time when the train station should have been bustling with commuters. Yet, because of the long exposure, the only people captured in this image are the ones standing still. The calm and serenity of the piece is made all the more powerful given the normally chaotic setting. Sovjani’s work had me thinking about stillness and existence, whether alone in nature or as one of many in a crowd. See images from his Citywerk series here.
4. Suzy Scarborough
Layers upon layers upon beautiful layers…this is how to describe the work by artist Suzy Scarborough. These mixed media treasures begin as collages from book pages. On her website, the artist explains, “I like late nineteenth century and early twentieth century books for their beautiful intricate engravings, drawings and the golden brown paper. I use more modern sources also including: botanical drawings, mechanical drawings, maps, mathematical/geometric drawings, architectural drawings, medical/anatomical illustrations, non english texts, illustrations of ancient cave drawings and other archaeological sites, etc.” On top of the collaged paper, Scarborough paints using various media creating lush, organic, and imaginative dreamscapes. Softened by layers of paint, bright colors peak out from beneath the haze. These rich paintings will have you happily discovering new details with each viewing.
5. Richard Gayle
Richard Gayle has a passion for travel and a desire to share this love with others through his photography. Gayle refers to his work as worldscapes. According to his website, the artists explains, “I try to capture the natural beauty of our world through simple, unique perspective, selective color, and motion techniques. My desire is to create an ethereal image that draws others into the excitement and desire to travel, while introducing new styles and perspectives to the otherwise ordinary image.”
These photographs are such a joy to view in person. They are all large-scale and printed on aluminum (not on photographic paper!). The aluminum’s super smooth surface lends a clarity and crispness to even small details and the size of the work welcomes the viewer to step into the scene. Often, Gayle uses bright pops of color in an otherwise black and white or gray-toned image to grab the viewer’s attention and help us notice details that may otherwise be lost using large scale photography. Like a window to another place, Gayle’s works succeeds in showing the viewer his travels and transporting us there.
So, there you have it!!! Five artists who stood out to me at the Bethesda Row Arts Festival! I hope it shows the range of styles and the quality of the artwork on display last weekend!
Did you go to the festival? Which artists caught your eye? If you could display the work of any of the above artists in your own home, which would it be?? Leave me a note in the comments section below!