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Art and the City: Colors and Crossroads

Hill Center Galleries
2024 Regional Juried Show
Through May 4
The Hill Center Galleries: 2024 Juried Exhibition, curated by Amy Cavanaugh, Executive Director of Maryland Arts Place (MAP), unveils a diverse collection of artists hailing from DC, Maryland, and Virginia. This juried showcase offers a platform for selected artists to compete for cash prizes and five honorable mention awards. The top three winners stand to receive significant recognition, with first place securing $1000, second place earning $750, and third place awarded $500. Additionally, the exhibition includes honorable mention certificates, further acknowledging outstanding artistic contributions.

Amy Cavanaugh, the esteemed juror, brings over a decade of experience as the Executive Director at MAP. Her leadership has been instrumental in transforming MAP into a cultural hub within downtown Baltimore, extending its services beyond the visual arts. Having steered MAP back to its original home, the Bromo Arts and Entertainment District, Cavanaugh’s influence has been pivotal in fostering a thriving artistic community. With a background as Vice President and COO of ARCH Development Corporation and a co-founder of Honfleur Gallery, Cavanaugh’s multifaceted expertise adds depth to the curation of this eclectic juried exhibition. 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20003. Contact Hill Center for access hours. 202.549.4172

Foundry Gallery
Kathryn Mohrman “Two Blue Cities”
Through February 25
Embark on a chromatic journey through the lens of Kathryn Mohrman’s camera in her solo exhibition titled “Blue Cities Unveiled.” The exhibition delves into the significance of blue as it intertwines with nature, spirituality, and social stratification.

Kathryn Mohrman, “Moroccan Man Wearing a Djellaba”, photography, 22″ x 18″.  Image courtesy of the artist

The artist elucidates, “The color blue joins water and sky with the land,” symbolizing a harmonious connection between the elements. Drawing inspiration from Jodhpur in India and Chefchaouen in Morocco, both cities steeped in rich history, the exhibition unravels the tales behind their azure facades. In Jodhpur, blue becomes a cultural marker, a symbol of prosperity, spirituality, and an ancient caste-based hierarchy. Chefchaouen, on the other hand, reflects the diaspora of Spanish Jews during the Inquisition, bringing with them a tradition of adorning structures with the calming hue.

“Come with me to experience the visual excitement of these two blue cities,” Mohrman invites the viewer, promising an immersive encounter with captivating narratives woven within the vibrant spectrum of blue. 2118 8th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001. Hours: Friday–Sunday from 12p.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: 202-232-0203.

Willem de Looper “Paintings 1972 – 1975”
Through March 2

In contrast to the exhibition “Willem de Looper: Paintings 1968 – 1972,” presented two years ago at HEMPHILL, “Paintings 1972 – 1975” marks a notable evolution in de Looper’s artistic approach. This transformation sets him apart from his Washington Color School peers, a group largely known for maintaining consistent painting methods throughout their careers.

In 1973, post initial acclaim, de Looper and his wife Frauke embarked on a cross-country journey across the United States. The expansive deserts and towering mountains of the American Southwest profoundly impacted the artist, proving a revelation for him as a DC resident who emigrated from Europe.

Willem de Looper, “Laguna”, November 1973, acrylic on canvas, 59 3/4 x 119 inches, Courtesy of HEMPHILL Artworks.

Upon returning to DC, de Looper his practice transformed significantly. Confining his color palette, he adopted a new technique—utilizing paint rollers to create horizontal bands of layered colors. This shift marks the inception of his subsequent phase, defined by thematic separations into earth tones, foliage, and sky colors. The division between these bands captures the dramatic essence of nature’s boundaries, ranging from severe to subtly indistinguishable. The larger paintings from 1973 to 1976 mirror the overwhelming scale he experienced encountering with Southwest for the first time.

“Paintings 1972 – 1975,” stands as a distinct phase in the artist’s career or what the HEMPHILL calls “a second act,” affirming the artist’s enduring commitment to innovation and depth. 434 K Street NW, Washington DC, 20001. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. -5 p.m. and by appointment. 202-234-5601

The Walters Art Museum
“Ethiopia at the Crossroads”
Through March 3, 2024
Ethiopia at the Crossroads Performances: February 24, 2024, 2–4:30 p.m.
The Walters Art Museum is hosting an exceptional exhibition, “Ethiopia at the Crossroads,” delving into Ethiopia’s artistic traditions spanning over 1,750 years. This groundbreaking display, the first of its kind in America, showcases more than 220 objects from the Walters’ renowned Ethiopian art collection, supplemented by loans from American, European, and Ethiopian sources.

Positioned at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia boasts diverse climates, religions, and cultures, with over 80 ethnicities and religious groups. The nation’s rich artistic production historically supported Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

“Folding Processional Icon in the Shape of a Fan”, Ethiopian, late 15th century (Stephanite), ink and paint on parchment, thread.  Image courtesy The Walters Museum.

Examining Ethiopia’s art as a reflection of its remarkable history, the exhibition explores themes of cross-cultural exchange and the human role in creating and moving art objects. It highlights Ethiopia’s unique position as the only African nation never colonized and an early adopter of Christianity.

The artworks on display span various mediums, including painted Christian icons, church wall paintings, healing scrolls, bronze crosses, basketry, stone and wood sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, and contemporary pieces. The exhibition unveils the movement of art objects across seas and continents, emphasizing Ethiopia’s interconnectedness with the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, and the Nile River.

Contemporary Ethiopian artists, like Wosene Worke Kosrof and Aïda Muluneh, present works alongside historical pieces, illustrating the ongoing influence of Ethiopia’s cultural heritage. Tsedaye Makonnen, a guest curator and Ethiopian American multidisciplinary artist, offers insights into the tangible impact of historic artworks on contemporary artists, fostering a deep connection between past and present. “Ethiopia at the Crossroads” invites visitors to explore the multifaceted cultures and histories that converge in this vibrant African nation. 600 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201. Hours: Wednesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Thursday, 1–8 p.m., Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Phone 410-547-9000.

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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