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Art and the City: New, Retrospective and 11 Go Solo

Experience the evolution of artist Jacob Kainen’s work at HEMPHILL Gallery’s retrospective exhibition, spanning 1951-1988. Hill Center Galleries showcases 11 local artists in their 2023 Fall Solo Exhibitions, and Luis Pazo’s PFA Washington DC debuts with inaugural exhibition “Epicenter”.

HEMPHILL
Jacob Kainen
Through October 28
www.hemphillfinearts.com/exhibitions
HEMPHILL Gallery unveils a major exhibition of artist Jacob Kainen’s work which premiered September 16. This highly anticipated event will remain a captivating fixture at the downtown DC gallery through October 28. The exhibition offers a retrospective voyage through Jacob Kainen’s remarkable artistic odyssey spanning the years 1951-1988, complemented by a carefully curated selection of works on paper from 1950-1970.

Jacob Kainen, born in 1909 in Waterbury, CT, embarked on his artistic journey under the tutelage of the Art Students League and further honed his craft through participation in the WPA Graphic Arts program during the 1930s. His early oeuvre, steeped in the ethos of social realism, poignantly captured the turbulent era of the Great Depression and World War II. However, Kainen’s relocation from New York to Washington in 1942 marked a transformative juncture in his career, heralding the embrace of organic abstraction and the development of a distinctive spatial, gestural painting style that ingeniously incorporated everyday objects, rendering them enigmatic through abstraction.

The exhibition commences with a selection of paintings from 1951 and 1953, accompanied by a series of paintings on paper that illuminate the rapid evolution of Kainen’s innovative abstract style. Notably the masterpiece “Mr. Kafka” (1970) draws its creative impulse from suspended clothing, crafting a compelling representation of the human form. This composition became a recurring motif, revisited by Kainen in various sketches and etchings. Throughout the ensuing decades, particularly the 1970s and 1980s, Kainen navigated between periods of lyrical and geometric abstraction, employing meticulous layering techniques to craft compositions that evoke ethereal, floating elements.

Jacob Kainen’s current exhibition is the seventh solo exhibition of the artist’s work at HEMPHILL Artworks since 1997. Kainen’s illustrious career achieved well-deserved recognition with a retrospective exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1993. His artistic legacy resides in the prestigious collections of institutions such as the National Gallery of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Yale University Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.  Hemphill is located at 434 K Street NW, Washington, DC. Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m. 202-234-5601.

Hill Center Galleries
2023 Fall Solo Exhibitions
Through January 7, 2024
Hillcenterdc.org/product-category/fall-solo-2023/

Hill Center Galleries presents its annual 2023 Fall Solo Exhibitions featuring the exceptional works of 11 local artists including Suzi Balamaci, Alan Braley, Barbara Brennan, Paula Cleggett, Jeffrey Felten-Green, Scot McKenzie, Isabella Merlos, Terence Nicholson, Rindy OBrien, Felicia Reed, and Nazanin Sadri. This diverse lineup promises a captivating blend of artistic expressions that will be available both online and in-person from September 11th, 2023, until January 7th, 2024.

Scot McKenzie “Desert Mystery”

Alan Braley’s art invites viewers to lose themselves in a world where color and space intertwine, evoking dreamlike memories. Scot McKenzie, inspired by nature and surrealism, crafts metal sculptures that challenge our perception of reality. Barbara Brennan transforms vintage postcards into timeless pieces of art, while Paula Cleggett’s narratives on canvas offer compelling stories with vivid characters and palettes.

Isabella Merlos delves into therapeutic and intricate creations that foster empathy, while Suzi Balamaci explores the moments she missed becoming a part of the world. Jeffrey Felten-Green’s art ranges from satirical to serious, reflecting influences and muses. Terence Nicholson embraces Taoist thought’s “emptiness” in his art, while Felicia Reed’s “Healing Wraps” blend traditional techniques with positive energy.

Rindy OBrien’s rich textures and colors invite viewers to step into her artworks, and Nazanin Sadri’s powerful message against discrimination and gender-based dress codes adds a thought-provoking dimension to the exhibition. Hill Center Galleries’ Fall Solo Exhibitions promise a journey through diverse artistic visions and narratives, inviting visitors to explore, reflect, and appreciate the creative talents of these local artists. 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC. Monday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. | Friday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m. | Saturday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. | Sunday: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 202-549-4172

PFA Washington DC
“Epicenter”
Through November 2
pazofineart.com
Luis Pazo is set to open PFA Washington DC, a new art gallery just off U Street Northwest. Located in a brand new building set among older brick row houses, the setting captures the essence of visual art’s evolution in a city steeped in both rich heritage and constant change. The inaugural exhibition titled “Epicenter,” showcases the works of Sue Crawford, Elise Ferguson, and Richard Tinkler, offering a journey into abstract expressionism.

PFA Washington DC Installation view, “Epicenter”. Photograph by Vivian Marie Doering. Courtesy Pazo Fine Art.

In conversation with Luis Pazo before the inaugural public opening, the gallerist unveiled the serendipitous origin of PFA’s expansion into DC, driven by the opportunity to open a gallery once occupied by Hamiltonian, known as H-Space. Pazo’s aspiration for PFA to become an integral part of DC’s art scene fueled this move and he emphasized the gallery’s goal to contribute to the city’s artistic community.

The gallery’s unique approach combines renowned artists from New York with local DC talents, fostering artistic dialogue and elevating each artist’s significance.

The “Epicenter” exhibition introduces artists Elise Ferguson, a Paris-based phenomenon, Sue Crawford, whose talent emerged from a group exhibition at PFA Kensington, and Richard Tinkler, an artist seamlessly straddling abstraction and representation.

Pazo clarifies the nomenclature of PFA’s two locations, PFA Kensington and PFA Washington DC, underscoring their shared name and distinct presence in their respective art scenes.

Luis Pazo’s innovative strategy of juxtaposing local and established artists fosters artistic dialogue and promises an enduring impact on contemporary art.  1932 9th Street NW, #C102, (Enter from 9 1/2 Street) Washington, DC.  Open by appointment Tuesday through Saturday. 571-315-5279

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

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