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Art and the City – December 2017

Scott Warren. Photographed by Janet Worne

There are a multitude of realities in any one place—it’s not just about how it looks. Scott Warren knows that. As a photographer, he can get very good pictures of the actual location in minutes. But the question is, what’s really going on?

For Scott, the painter, it’s the feeling of the place that counts. The sense of it—the human emotions that draw from the sights, atmosphere, and ultimately the physical sensation of being a part of the transformation—changing from one reality to another, endlessly.

In the studio, the painting releases the essentials of the landscape that he carried in his memory. It’s there, in the paint. The first stroke of color will be followed by others until he discovers the meanings and magic in the scene he first recorded in a photograph.

The pictures rearrange themselves, taking liberty to become a new reality. They escape into art. It’s not an interpretation so much as a transformation into forms, colors and lines that continue to move and vibrate and declare their independence.

Scott earned a BFA from Utah State University in 1980 with a major in photography, but took classes in art and art history as well. He has been a professional photographer since 1983 and has traveled the world for the Smithsonian Magazine and publications like National Geographic Kids. But his career included a discovery of art museums around the globe and that exposure has infused itself into his work.

With Scott Warren, paintings need meaning, and meaning comes from within the paint. This is not magazine art. There are no famous scenes or people. He “uses ambiguity to editorialize the information.” The information is in the use of color and its variations. The information creates realities. The realities create meaning.

You can see his work this month at the Hill Center. (See, at the galleries.) www.scottwarren.com.

Vase With Flowers. Oil on canvas. Photographed by Scott Warren

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
Every inhabitant of a living place has its own life—its own reality. From trees to lakes, mountains, people…even human structures are constantly changing and becoming something a little different. The earth moves and light slides and plays games with solid forms. Brightness intensifies or dims. Colors are wavelength fantasies that stimulate cone cells, and can lead to questionable assumptions of genuineness. Components age while you look at them. Cellular structures are altered by the elements. The chemistry of nature is free to deconstruct and reconstruct—to appear in ever-evolving facades.

A photograph can be the ultimate con…it can trick you into thinking it embodies the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Professional photographers like Scott Warren (see Artist Profile) know better. These days, everyone is a photographer. You have a pocket instrument that can capture light rays crisply and images precisely. So…that digital image has to be the way it is, right? Yet, you keep taking pictures until you get one you like. How many selfies are deleted? Why? Because reality is ultimately what you want it to be.

Bug Sur II. Oil on canvas. Photographed by Scott Warren

We all carry a vision around in our heads and the neurons get together and discuss how many variations are possible. Many of you, a few artists included, ultimately reject variants and accept only one set of visual facts. But most artists (painters, poets, writers, etc.) grow and thrive in the uncertainty of the apparent. They revel in it. They know it’s all in their heads…and hands.

Scott Warren views his photographs as launching pads for paintings—to unleash the memories of a place—of a moment—and lead you into possibilities of not just realities, but the very idea of reality. The possibilities are unlimited.

At the Galleries

Single Artist Exhibitions
Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania. Ave. SE
– Dec. 30
The Hill center fall show is actually a collection of solo shows—six in all. There is a good variety of styles and media: Oil painting, photography, monoprints and collage.

Scott Warren (See: Artist Profile) travels the world professionally, visiting all the great museums and bringing the meanings of those exposures into his own paintings—“an important part of who I am.” “Worldviews,” is a composite collection of those experiences.

French artist Jonathan Bessaci, in “Maps,” selectively cuts maps and rearranges the pieces into portraits and figurative works. He integrates rivers, highways, lakes, parks and even oceans into elements of the images. He builds multiple levels, with a piece of glass between each to create a sense of depth.

Rachael Bohlander is a Washington DC lawyer and artist. In “Art of Empowerment,” she expresses her interest in social justice issues based on photographs taken in DC and while traveling. She utilizes “found” materials like newspapers and recycled artwork.

Karen Edgett is a long-time resident of Capitol Hill and creative director of an advertising agency. In “Truth,” she seeks the truths—“what is not yet known”— imbedded in a painting.

Michael Ford is a filmmaker who recorded everyday community life in Mississippi in his documentary “Homeplace” in 1975. His exhibit “Homeplace,” features photographs taken between 1970 and 2010.

Judith Peck is an “allegorical figurative artist” who paints haunting metaphors and ever-questioning realities, embedded with “gessoed plaster shards.” She features an individual model to “travel life’s broken path.”


Gregory Ferrand
Adah Rose Gallery
3766 Howard Ave
Kensington, MD
– Jan 6
Opening Recep: Sat, Nov. 18, 6-8
Gregory Ferrand paints intrigue. “It IS You (and me too)” is about alienation—the barriers we construct to keep ourselves in, or keep others out. It is also about painting. He focuses on light and color to get a feeling of the “ebb and flow” of the human dynamic through the composition—it has to be natural. Gregory Ferrand has a “need,” visually and psychologically, to find common ground. And you will.

Capitol Hill Art League
545 7th St. SE
Dec. 9 – Jan. 3
Holiday Sale—Dec. 9,  5-8
This is the big holiday show and the chance to pick up gifts for those special people on the list. Member artists will be offering the perfect answer, usually smaller works, that can be taken off the wall immediately. The show itself will continue through the month. www.chaw.org.

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