Art and the City

Artist Profile: Rosa Vera  

“Passing Through”, acrylic, 30” x 34”. photo: Greg Staley

It’s a place where your mind goes. It sinks into the idea of the painting and tends to stay…or at least linger awhile. The figures seem to emerge from floating patterns of symbols and color. Identities are muted, like the pigments, which could be oil, acrylic, watercolor, wax, or in combinations.

The occasional exception is the strong, stark dominant figure that exists outside the joyful forms, tints and shades—self-isolated from the full color adventures of a life fully lived.

Rosa Vera was born in Lima, Peru and goes back often. She has spent much of her life in the DC area and throughout the world; she worked for the International Monetary Fund for most of her career. She has lived in Virginia, DC, Mexico and Canada. As a result, her work is essentially bi-cultural.

She borrows from Pre-Columbian art, artifacts and architecture in terms of color and design. She loves Mayan towns—“so much richness in color.” Add European influences and you see an ever-evolving expression of a discrete style. Her stories are personal, using subtle symbolism, not obvious but intriguing. Her work is mostly figurative and she plays with the imbedded questions and riddles.

Her landscapes are more traditional, with pronounced focal points and perspective. The colors are natural, but serve as a departure point for the patterns and symbolism that become the timeless story and traditions of art.

Rosa has won national and international awards, and has exhibited nationally. You can see her work this month at the Touchstone Gallery. (See: At the Galleries.) Also,

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
The writer and Nobel laureate, Giorgos Seferis, said, “Don’t ask me which authors have influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he’s digested, and I’ve been reading all my life.”

The same is true of painters. We look at everything. Some of us are choosy in what we eat and digest. Others, like me, gobble up everything so influences come from everywhere.

“Ellis Island Immigrant”, acrylic, 20” x 23” photo: Greg Staley

Multi-cultural influences, taking part of this and part of that, create an individual interpretation of the whole world. It comes together in a new expression.

Artists have historically incorporated “foreign” forms and inspirations. Greek art was influenced by the Egyptians, and the Greeks influenced just about everyone. In more modern times, Van Gogh collected Japanese prints and incorporated that visual language into his own work. Picasso, along with the German Expressionists, gravitated to African tribal sculpture. Jackson Pollock was taken by Hopi sand painting.

Rosa Vera (See, Artist Profile) was born in Peru and is inspired by the powerful stylistic architecture and carvings of the great civilizations that ruled what is now Latin America before the arrival of Columbus and the Spanish Conquistadores. Yet, European and other American artists contribute to her overall aesthetic.

That’s true for most art. Influences are now so inclusive and blended that identifying specific historic modes, methods and cultural ideas is near impossible. We are less a prisoner of the past, but defining the present is much more difficult.

Call For Entry
Attention artists: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, CHAW, is seeking applicants for its 2019 Gallery Artist Residency, a six-week paid residency January 7 through February 8, in CHAW’s Gallery at 545 7th Street, SE. This is an opportunity for an artist or artist team to create or evolve in a supportive environment. Applications are due September 15, 2018. For details:


At the Galleries

Hill Center Galleries
921 Pennsylvania. Ave. SE
-Sept. 22
This is the annual Hill Center Galleries Regional Juried Exhibition of over 100 artists from DC, Virginia and Maryland. Three cash awards, plus five honorable mentions were awarded. Alexander Gray, the August Artist Profile in this column, won the $1000 first place prize with his woodcut, “Hardware River Aqueduct II.”

Besides the prizewinners, “What Makes Your Heart Sing“ by Suzanne Vigil, is a masterpiece of drawing. As usual, she opens doors to your imagination that you thought were locked. Hanging next to it is “Reflection #3” by Monica Servaites. Both artists have been previously profiled in this column.

The Hill Center opens a new show September 27, which runs to January 7. The opening reception is on Wednesday, Oct 3. 6:30—8:30. More information next month.


Foundry Gallery
2118 – 8th Street, N.W.
September 5 – 30,
Reception:  Sat, Sept. 15, 6 – 8
“à deux” is a collection of collaborative works by Charlene Nield and Ann Pickett. Painting “side-by-side in a meeting of creative minds,” they focus on the figure, with a shared sense of color and whimsy.


The Corner Store
900 South Carolina Ave., SE
-Sept. 23
This is the “Happiness art exhibit—art that makes you smile.” The artists are Ann Pickett, Jan Kern, Karen Cohen, Paula Cleggett, Chica Brunsvold, Kim Bursic and Terri Rea. And yes, there is much to make you smile in this collection of terrific work. The Corner Store is on the corner of South Carolina and 9th St. SE—near both Eastern Market and the Hill Center.


Rosa Vera
Touchstone Gallery
901 New York Ave, NW
Sept. 7—30
Recep: Fri., Sept. 14, 6–8:30
Rosa Vera, (See Artist Profile) has traveled extensively between two cultures: Latin American and North American. In “Passages and Borders” she visits both, and displays the resulting multiculturalism in her work

In Gallery A, the theme is “Dreams” as Touchstone artists create artworks related to an ideal: a perfect life, or a perfect world. Dreamed images or self-deluding fantasies co-exist side by side in this all-media exhibit.