The American University Museum will be exhibiting the work of four Washington-based artists this summer Michael Gross, John Winslow, Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard in addition to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition and the Visvaldi Ziedins: Travels in the Imagination (posts to follow). Although they represent a small fraction of the numerous artists who live(d) and work(ed) in Washington D.C., these four artists and their works exemplify the wildly diverse and often idiosyncratic artistic styles that flourish in the region, making this a lively place to be.
Michael Gross: Abstraction
ON VIEW: June 13-July 26
The Michael Gross exhibition, titled Michael Gross: Abstraction, includes both paintings and prints produced by the Washington D.C.-based artist. His works have their roots artists like Jackson Pollock, William De Kooning and Richard Diebenkorn through their intentional interplay of lines, colors and shapes. But Gross’ intent is subtly different from his forbears. He desires that his works will elicit contemplation within the viewer—drawing them in and giving them “a vision of the incredible power, ambiguity, intricacy and beauty of our lives.”
Realism Transformed: John Winslow’s Wild New World
ON VIEW: June 13-July 26
In the early to mid 1980s, John Winslow, Washington native and realist painter, radically recast his art replacing the precisely defined spaces, right angles and static figures characteristic of Realism with ambiguous compositions, curvilinear lines, and gravity defying figures. The focus of this exhibition, these later works seek not only to merge abstraction with realism but also to make these opposite polarities coexist. In addition, rather than incorporating purely contemporaneous figures, Winslow later works include figures from artistic, literary, political and aeronautical history. In so doing, Winslow’s subject matter and artistic approach intentionally elicit questions about artistic practice and style.
Outliers: Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard
ON VIEW: June 13- July 26
Curated by James Mahoney, the exhibition Outliers features the work of Washington-area artists Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard. Going against conventional contemporary artistic practices, Packard and Godwin created their works through the transformation of ordinary objects, found images and simple matter. Godwin’s works present complex visual narratives influenced by alchemical speculations and the work of his mentor Marcel Duchamp whereas Packard’s works draw on a myriad of sources including the I Ching, astrology and the meanings of colors, letters and numbers to create unexpected symbolic significances.
I am delighted to announce that upon the closing of these three exhibitions showcasing Washington-based artists, the museum will begin construction for the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. This new space will be dedicated to the display of Washington Art and feature programming that celebrates the vibrant culture of Washington, DC. The Alper Initiative is scheduled to open in January of 2016. For more on the Alper Initiative and project updates click here.