Honoring Earth Day April 2023, Must See Art Exhibits

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Rendering of imagined sculptures. Schematic created by Ira Tattelman.

Saturday, April 22 will mark the 53rd year that Earth Day has been observed.  The global environmental movement annually mobilizes one billion people in over 190 countries, according to the organizers’ website.  This April, several artists will use the occasion to exhibit environmentally themed work which repurposes discarded items.  Listed below, four DC-based exhibitions, three in-gallery and one outdoor public art project, ask viewers to reconsider how we see everyday objects, how we use them and what they can become in order to avoid the landfill. 

“Found” at Alethia Tanner Park
Opening:  Saturday, April 22, from noon–2 pm.
Artist Talk: April 29, from noon–2 pm.
Free public workshop:
Saturday, April 8, 10 am–1 pm.
www.founddc.net

A group of local artists—Sondra N. Arkin, Tim Kime and Lisa Rosenstein—led by artist-facilitator Ira Tattelman, invite the public to attend a series of workshops to create found-object sculptures which will be publicly displayed at Alethia Tanner Park in Eckington during an Earth Day opening event.  So what exactly is found-object art? According to New York’s Museum of Modern art it is “an object—often utilitarian, manufactured, or naturally occurring—that was not originally designed for an artistic purpose, but has been repurposed in an artistic context.” Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal which he signed, then titled “Fountain,” is perhaps the best-known example of found-object art.  Have you ever thought to yourself “I can do that” after seeing Duchamp’s infamous work?  Now is your chance to prove it!  Join the artists of Found at their next workshop and create your own artwork out of found material.  The organizers will have some found objects available but encourage participants to bring their own.  The found-object artmaking will culminate in an Earth Day opening celebration on Saturday, April 22 from noon-2 p.m. While participation is free, registration is required and a release, available online, must be signed.  227 Harry Thomas Way NE. DC.

Maria Luz Bravo “Untitled.” Image courtesy Hamiltonian Artists

Hamiltonian Artists
Maria Luz Bravo “Glimpse, Gathered”
March 25, 2023 – April 22, 2023
www.hamiltonianartists.org

Maria Luz Bravo, originally from Mexico, has called DC home since graduating from the Corcoran with a Master of Arts in New Media Photojournalism.  While on her daily walks, Bravo turned her attention to the sidewalks and alleys of Northwest DC avoiding what she calls “the manicured porches” in favor of “the ordinary sublime scattered throughout daily life.”  Her solo exhibition “Glimpse, Gathered” at Hamiltonian Artists, where she was a fellow from 2020-2022, consists of a series of photographs which record her explorations.  Bravo explains that her subject matter “consist[s] of artifacts from previous lives, architectural remains of incessant efforts to expand and renovate, imprints of foliage on concrete, shopping lists, and love messages that fell from pockets only to disintegrate into the sidewalk.”   While Bravo’s work does not explicitly deal with the environment, she provides the viewer with a way to look at our surroundings differently by appreciating the juxtaposition of the natural world with the urban.  In DC especially, we are fortunate to live in a city where these two worlds coexist comfortably, side-by-side and in some cases, harmoniously.  1353 U St NW, DC. Hours: Thu.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 202-332-1116

Studio Gallery
Lynda Andrews-Barry “Petrichor: the Scent of The Earth after a Warm Rain,” curated by Gaby Mizes
March 29–April 22
Closing Reception:
Saturday April 22, 4–6 pm.
www.studiogallerydc.com

Lynda Andrews Barry “Rockfish.” Image Courtesy of
the artist.

Do you find the smell of rain appealing?  There is a word for that wonderful smell—it’s called “petrichor.”  However, Lynda Andrews-Barry’s solo exhibition “Petrichor” addresses a much more unpleasant topic—the catastrophic impact our interactions have with the environment.  Andrews-Barry examines “The possibility of a future with only remnants of The Earth,” a place where petrichor disappears altogether, in other words, a world where rain no longer smells agreeable.  Through a series of sculptural works, the artist predicts that, given man’s systematic destruction of the environment and unwillingness to change course, many of the natural wonders we take for granted will simply cease to exist. Andrews-Barry sees a future where “our natural world [will] be a manmade place where fabricated tableaux memorialize the once common but now extinct.”  For example, we will have are images of forests but none in which to hike.  Andrew-Barry’s dystopic vision of a future where environmental collapse is imminent resembles the 1970s movie “Soylent Green” or more the recent “Blade Runner 2049” but her intent is neither shock-value nor the desire to instill despair in the viewer.  Instead, she hopes the exhibition “encourages conversations that will animate citizens to engage emotionally to internalize an environmental ethic, and ultimately, truly feel the exigencies of our generation.”  2108 R Street NW, Washington, DC. Hours: Wed.-Fri.: 1-6 p.m. & Sat.: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 202-232-8734

Lynda Andrews Barry “Rockfish.” Image Courtesy of
the artist.

The Yard at Eastern Market
“Materiality” group exhibition
Curated by Gia Harewood
Opening Friday, March 24, 2023 6–8 pm.

While this last exhibition listing does not deal with Earth Day themes per se, many of its artists repurpose materials in their artmaking process giving rise to the possibility of creating aesthetically pleasing work with unconventional media.  Curated by Gia Harewood, participating artists include: Sobia Ahmad, Aliana Grace Bailey, Buck, Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, Ruth Gowell, Sarah J. Hull, Blake Pierre, Adi Segal and Candice Tevares.  Aptly titled “Materiality,” the artists use materials in novel ways.  For example, artists Aliana Grace Bailey and Sarah J. Hull are both part of a growing artistic movement which uses fabric as a medium to create artwork.  In recent years, textile art has been increasingly recognized and elevated to fine art status.  Bailey and Hull’s work reflect this encouraging, upward trend.  700 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Washington, DC.  Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 202-929-4779

Phil Hutinet is the founding publisher of East City Art, DC’s visual art journal of record. For more information visit www.eastcityart.com