Art’s beauty, diversity and universal language is on display in “Emerging Artists,” the city’s current show in the Activity Center at Bohrer Park featuring work in a variety of media by up-and-coming artists. Last Thursday’s reception featured a record turnout powered by the happy energy of seeing so many examples of creativity spanning all age groups—the youngest artist is eight-year-old Alice Jane Chen.
The exhibit provided an opportunity for new artists to gain confidence in their work while showing in a gallery setting that afforded them the chance to think and talk about their creative processes with an audience.
Iona Nave Griesmann’s “The Fird’s Garden” recalled an Alice in Wonderland-style dream in a garden with its cats, tails, eyes and peacock feathers. “I just went for it!” Griesmann said. “There is a layer of charcoal underneath, which is the method I started with. I’m getting into digital art and pencil drawing.”
Experimenting with art all her life, Carol Starr was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s work in the French city of Arles to create her “Moonlight in Arles.” “I spent a lot of time in southern France,” Starr said. On “a beautiful night in October … a magical night with the moon,” she snapped a picture and later painted the moonlit scene from photos and memory.
Shyam Rele is a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases scientist by day and prolific abstract artist in his free time. His expansive canvasses present explosions of color, pattern, seamlessness and precision of line. “Celebration” is no exception—a 24×36 dynamic abstract. It is inspired, Rele said, “by the festive seasons around the globe and the happiness they bring across diverse global populations. It also reflects the excitement in accomplishing personal milestones in one’s life.”
Abstract artist Robb Williams captivated me the most in this show, especially with the way he articulated his feelings about painting. Each of his three works on view have specific meaning and emotion attached to them, he said. He is serious about his work but gives it a contemplative quality, allowing its images to float into interpretation. He takes inspiration from Van Gogh and Gauguin, specifically with his deep oranges, browns and greens—”the dreaming of nature,” he said, “from a modern, surrealistic vision.”
“Advice from Paul” “incorporates what I saw when I was young … colors of clay I used to play with,” Williams said. He created it with nudging from his friend Paul who constantly challenges him to do something different.
Williams did just that in his “Outside,” a piece composed of arch shapes rather than reliance on variations of the square.
“Neon” was done when he was “thinking of a time that I would be in the city with the things I like about it—the landscapes and the signs.” Williams credits his parents for their influence and inspiration, observing that his father’s work as an architect lends itself to his penchant for line and shape and his mother’s work as a painter and art teacher at the Washington Studio School led him on the path to painting for the past 25 years.
“Emerging Artists” is on view at Bohrer Park through April 22, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.