Call them marks, impressions, symbols, signs, tokens, indications or streaks, mark making is the foundation of visual art. Four diverse artists are now showing their interpretations of mark making at the Arts Barn. Three of the artists were on hand for a reception on May 24. I always love the shows at the Arts Barn—on point, well done and inspiring in an accessible and welcoming atmosphere. It is a rich gem in the heart of the leafy Kentlands neighborhood that must be experienced by all.
This evening, I was immediately struck by the geometric, precise line markings interspersed with cloud-like formations in the five pieces by native Singaporean artist Chee-Leong Kung, always begun, he told me with a “germ of an idea.” I liked the fascinating play of specific markings, with the abandon of free-form markings in black against white and intermittent explosions of subtle coloring. Inspired by “sense of space, moods, weather, the kind of day,” Chee creates usually in two- to three-hour intervals, mostly because he works full-time at another profession, and this gives him time to step aside and return to critique his work with fresh eyes. The time constraints prevent him from “going too far down a path,” he said, continually asking the question, “does it still work?”
Chee began his career at architectural school and was drawn to sketches that suggested ideas and how they could be transformed further—working together with the imagery and form of the lines. His work begins with application of color washes and brush work and then layering with ink, charcoal, acrylic marker and masking tape, employing precision, intellectual discovery and invention. Favorite inspirations include the recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, memories in his head upon waking, life in Singapore and rain clouds.
Inspired by Chinese calligraphy, Lori Anne Boocks uses “text as subject matter—near and dear to my heart, like a journal.” Her charcoal markings of text, verses and poetry incorporated into broad shadings of color are an extension of archiving, journaling, a communication from relatives experiencing dementia. They are methodical. “I usually know the title before painting,” she said.
She starts out with a rigid foundation and then begins to loosen up, layering charcoal, repeated phrasing, capturing time elapsing and a narrative. The writing is meaningful and personal. The surrounding colors are those found in nature. “I loved the desert colors and early cave paintings with ochre are an inspiration,” she said. She also is highly influenced by the work of American painter, sculptor and photographer Cy Twombly.
Annapolis artist Anna Fine Foer’s marks are those from collage—cut paper and shapes. Her themes are highly intellectual and futuristic, revolving around scientific discoveries, technology, alternative energy and natural and unnatural disasters. She created textiles in art school, which eventually led her to collage, working in a Cubist style. Anna said that she finds all these concepts interwoven as parts of the brain are interconnected, receiving messages. A particularly interesting piece incorporates avatars, Pokemon figures, Ferris wheels and playground equipment, a traditional Japanese interior and an urban garden—colorful, lively, curious. An eclectic collection of thoughtful images merges into a theme.
Rounding out the exhibit are ceramics from Kevin Hluch. Curator Mary Weiss-Waldhorn feels that the marks Hluch uses to enhance his clay forms complement and encompass the work in the exhibit. Sophisticated shapes and lines in his ceramics coupled with their earthy, classic colors give a finishing touch to the marksmanship theme.
Visit the Arts Barn to take in these unique treasures until July 7, 2018.