‘Friends’ re­turn to Mid­dle Street

Rappahannock News - - EDITORIAL & OPINION - BY GARY ANTHES

If you want to see an amaz­ing ar­ray of artis­tic styles and ma­te­ri­als, you could go to the Na­tional Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Soho area of New York City or the Pom­pi­dou Cen­ter in Paris. Or you could go to the Mid­dle Street Gallery here in our own Washington this month and next.

The 16-per­son non-profit artists’ co­op­er­a­tive is putting on its sec­ond an­nual “Artists and Friends” ex­hi­bi­tion, fea­tur­ing the works of mem­bers and their col­leagues from around the re­gion. On Satur­days and Sun­days through Feb. 27, you will find the fa­mil­iar land­scape oils of Chris Stephens, stained glass pieces of Patti Bren­nan, black and white pho­to­graphs of Paula Endo, enig­matic clothes-pin fig­ures of Wayne Paige and works in var­i­ous me­dia by a dozen other gallery mem­bers.

But that tra­di­tion­ally rich va­ri­ety is now con­sid­er­ably aug­mented by the likes of Chris­tine Sa­jecki (friend of mem­ber Thomas Spande), who has an “en­caus­tic and pho­to­copy trans­fer on rice paper and birch panel.” If you don’t know quite what that is, the ti­tle may or may not help: “B Boys B Boom B Bass B Black B Blue BBB Boom Boom Boom.”

Jeanne Drevas (friend of Linda Tarry) is show­ing a stack of nude dolls, or “de­con­structed Bar­bies,” called “Totem.” And Ann Cur­rie (friend of Janet Brome) has a beau­ti­fully col­ored still life of pears in “col­ored gesso, graphite and col­ored pen­cil.”

For­mer gallery mem­ber Paul Ter­rell (friend of Chris Stephens) re­turns with a ce­ramic ab­stract wall hang­ing made from raku­fired clay. Jim Ser­bent (friend of Pa­tri­cia Un­der­wood) has a brightly col­ored piece called “Koan-14” that he calls a pho­to­graphic dye print, and his wife Bar­bara has a lovely im­age of a wood­land bird, “Poor­will,” from that same medium.

And Nina Shepardson (friend of Jim Ramsay) has a col­lec­tion of beau­ti­ful Batik-dec­o­rated eggs in your choice of goose, duck, chicken, quail or rhea.

Fi­nally, you could prowl all of Soho and not find a sculp­ture like Drevas’s “Mar­garet’s Dream.” Mar­garet ap­par­ently dreamed of a tur­tle, and the re­sult taxed the gallery’s la­bel-maker with this me­dia de­scrip­tion: “broom corn, tur­tle shell, clay, tulip po­plar seeds, grapevine ten­drils, maple, metal leaf and paint”.

But not to worry. If your New Year res­o­lu­tions don’t in­clude mas­ter­ing avant-garde art forms, you will find plenty of the more tra­di­tional me­dia and styles at the gallery, in­clud­ing oil and wa­ter color paint­ings and pho­to­graphs, from both mem­bers and their friends.

Bring your own friend and visit the gallery, next to The Inn at Lit­tle Washington, be­tween 11 and 6 on Satur­days and Sun­days. And do at­tend the free pub­lic open­ing re­cep­tion from 3 to 6 p.m. Jan. 29, when artists and food will be as plen­ti­ful and var­ied as the gallery’s 50 new works.

Photo by Gary Anthes

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