J o a n B e l m a r

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East City Art

c. d. Edwards Studio Presents Prism II

Work by Joan Belmar. Courtesy of c. d. Edwards Studio.

Work by Joan Belmar. Courtesy of c. d. Edwards Studio.

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Opening Reception: Saturday, September 24 from 6pm to 9pm

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c.d. Edwards Studio presents a pop-up exhibit in studio 9 located at 716 Monroe Street, NE Washington, DC 20017.  The opening Reception is September 24, 2016 from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm.  The exhibit will be up from September 24 until October 24th, 2016.  The Artists are Joan Belmar, Cheryl Edwards, Lisa Rosenstein, and Wilfredo Valladares.

Prism II is an exhibit examining the concept of a prism in a metaphorical perspective. Prism is defined as a transparent solid body, often having triangular bases, used for dispersing light into a spectrum or for reflecting rays of light. This exhibit is conceptualizing the reflection of light as it relates to culture, humanity and memory. The Artists have interpreted a prism as a viewpoint of a subject that is important to each artist.

Joan Belmar
I got interested in the situation of the indigenous Selknam people a few years ago when I went back to my native Chile after becoming an American citizen. I walked along a small street in Santiago and went into a bookstore. I couldn’t take my eyes off a book containing the story and photographs of naked indigenous people. I bought the book titled HAIN about the initiation ceremonies of the Selknams people in Tierra del Fuego by Anne Chapman.

From this book I learned that the Selknam, also called Onas, had lived a semi-nomadic life for thousands of years in Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) at the southern cone of South America.  They had a rich culture that involved music, dance, theatre and performance.  After the European colonists arrived, they suffered a campaign of extermination with the support of the Argentine and Chilean governments.

My knowledge of their persecution gave birth to a series of paintings titled Tierra del Fuego, which I have shown at Charles Krause Reporting fine art in 2012.  These photos are aligned with the paintings in that series.

Cheryl Edwards
While on a visit to Havanna, Cuba in 2014 I was struck by the reverence of water by the Afro-Cubans as it related to immigration and spiritual practices. I began to start contemplating water as a concept of identity and information. In 2016 I went to Stuttgart Germany and learned about new research from the Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart which supports the theory that water has a memory. I ordered the book entitled Water has Memory authored by J. Schock and M. Ebert.

My research has led to a beginning of a new series of work focused on identity developed from a very organic perspective.  In this exhibit my artwork of ink stained canvas and gilded wasp nests are the beginning of this investigation of rebirth and identity.

Lisa Rosenstein
I often find that life is chaotic, complex, noisy, and at times painfully full. I reflect on the need for peace and quiet using paint (mostly white) and found objects. While reflecting on the importance of memory both personal and universal I create visual narratives through the careful placement of found objects on canvas. Although, much of my work has been white on white, for this exhibit I have explored hues of color in a very soft manner as it is created from a white light passing through a prism. I think of color as an aspect of light. All color is present in the refracted light of a prism much in the same way that all humans emerged from a single spark.

My exhibited work in Prism II consist of intimate drawings and paintings full of texture created in a way to explore the relationship of light, color reflection and shadows.

Wilfredo Valladares
Unmasked is a series of sculptures that explore the interconnectedness of cultures. Portraits and headdresses capture relationships between time, memory and space.

Studio 9 is located at 716 Monroe Street NE.

Art At Katzen

Updates from the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center


Joan Belmar describes his art as being deeply influenced by Washington, DC and the experience of living in a city with free museums and vibrant galleries. Trance-Lucid #IV, Al Fin Del Mundo, At the End of the World reflects a sense both of place and of displacement. The under painting draws associations to maps, but the translucent plastic cups affixed with map tacks create a sense of distance, displacing the viewer from fully engaging with the image beneath.

Photo Jun 18, 6 12 08 PM





Joan Belmar, Trance-Lucid #1V, Al Fin Del Mundo, At the End of the World




The Washington Post  By Mark Jenkins July 30,2016

Museums

In the galleries: Norman Rockwell would have recognized these socialist images



There’s also a pop-art flourish in the museum’s “The Looking Glass: Artist Immigrants of Washington,” which showcases 10 local artists with roots in Latin America. Ric Garcia updates Warhol by crisply and colorfully portraying edible products for the Latin market, with labels far funkier than any designed for Brillo or Campbell’s.

Among the other works are sculpture and installation, with political content that includes F. Lennox Campello’s anti-Castro drawings and Carolina Mayorga’s video of a gagged waitress. The most traditional are the handsome wood blocks and linocuts on immigration themes of Uruguay-bred Naul Ojeda, who lived in Washington from the late 1970s to his 2002 death.

There are large, striking pieces by Irene Clouthier, whose paper airplanes hang above the entrance, and by Joan Belmar, whose circular plastic-cup assemblage bends around a corner. Frida Larios’s boldly stylized “picto-glyphs” are derived from Central American folklore, and yet sometimes rendered in vinyl. They’re simultaneously mythic and as modern as a can of Goya black bean soup.

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..Then there are the artists that blend in. Jose Bermudez’ works are artifacts of the 1960s, demonstrating the broad reach of abstraction after World War II. His sculpture could converse well with Alexander Calder; his painting, with Robert Motherwell. In dialogue with more contemporary materials and abstract processes is Joan Belmar’s installation of wall painting and plastic cups.

What ties it together is Juan Downey’s video, and possible de facto inspiration for the exhibition’s title (if not the exhibition). His video about Diego Velazquez’ painting “Las Meniñas,” breaks down the ways of seeing and reading the painting as told from the perspectives of an artist, various art historians, a mirror salesmen, and others. It underscores the dynamic of how we see, how we are seen, and how we perceive others being seen.


Put more simply, it’s about empathy. As the exhibition demonstrates, it’s with empathy we can transgress most borders and boundaries—either real or imagined.


At American University Museum to Aug. 14.  Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Free. american.edu.



Art I’d Buy: Creative Alliance Marquee Ball Auction

Highlights from the 21st Marquee Ball Auction Exhibition at Creative Alliance by Cara Ober

It’s art auction season – this means it’s your chance to own a really good piece of art for a lot less than it sells in a gallery or art fair. Typically, starting auction prices are set around half of an artist’s usual market value – with the hopes that the price will rise significantly as bidders do their thing. This rarely happens in Baltimore (sad but true), which is a bummer for artists but it is a great opportunity for a collector to purchase a work by an artist that has been previously out of your price range.

In past years I have bought affordable work at MAP’s Under 500 and Out of Order (happening on Friday), as well as School 33’s Lotta Art, and Creative Alliance’s Marquee Ball. I know everyone goes to these parties to drink and have fun, but I actually keep a slush fund from previous art sales for such occasions. I go to the events to buy art!

After a preview of works up at this year’s Creative Alliance, curated by Amy Eva Raehse, Lat Naylor, and Jeremy Stern – here are my picks on the art I would buy if I could.

IMG_9244IMG_9238IMG_9210IMG_9209IMG_9196 Joan Belmar: 3D Sphere Black and White, 2011 Mixed Media – starting bid is $800
IMG_9198 Erin Fostel: Sparrows Point Blast Furnace (After Aubrey Bodine) 2016, Charcoal and graphite on paper – starting bid $200
IMG_9200 Sam Allerton Green, Synaptic Vesicles, 2013, Oil on Canvas – starts at $200
IMG_9202 Kyle Tata, White Fluorescent Diffuser #10 (Pink), 2015 – starts at $350
IMG_9204 Ellen Burchenal, from Daily Drawing Series Florence, 2015, Ink and watercolor on paper – starts at $200

IMG_9204Kyle Bauer, 48 Points, 2015-16, Mixed media – starts at $250

IMG_9207 Rosemary Liss, Rinse Out (2010) – starts at $200

IMG_9211 Karen Hubacher, Respite.02, 2013, Encaustic and Oil – starts at $350
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Top: Graham Coriel-Allen, Shadow Crossing 2013, Found plywood, digital print, acylic paint lettering – starts at $150

Bottom: Lillian Hoover, Untitled (Baseboard and Shadow) 2013, Oil on panel– Starting bid $850

IMG_9216 Joseph Hyde, Beach Rocks 2015, Archival inkjet photo from silver gelatin negative – Starts at $200
IMG_9223 Tom Scott, Memory Stones, 1984-92, Acrylic on photograph- Starts at $500
IMG_9225 Mike McConnell, Night Run 2014, Acrylic on Panel – Starts at $300
IMG_9229 Yambe Tam, $29B, 2014, Pastel and pigment on panel – starts at $375
IMG_9234 Joyce Scott, From the Still Funny Series: Lover 1, 2011 – starts at $3000
IMG_9236 Amy Sherald, Untitled 2016, Graphite on paper – starts at $200

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REVIEWS

East City Artnotes: Looking Forward/Looking Back at the Brentwood Arts Exchange

Works by Wayson Jones, Joan Belmar, Sheldon Scott and Ellington Robinson. Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

Works by Wayson Jones, Joan Belmar, Sheldon Scott and Ellington Robinson.
Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

Looking Back/Looking Forward: 15 Years of Millennium Arts Salon, now on view at the Brentwood Arts Exchange, defies easy categorization as it captures a wide swath of area artists in its artistic net. The twelve selected artists—Holly Bass, Joan Belmar, Anne Bouie, Welsey Clark, Hedieh Ilchi, Wayson Jones, Anne Marchand, E J Montgomery, Ellington Robinson, Sheldon Scott and Stan Squirewell—work in a variety of mediums, including painting, printmaking, sculpture and even video. Abstract works largely take center stage, although portraiture and sculptural vessels are also included.

Listen to My Song of Freedom 
Hedieh Ilchi
Acrylic and Watercolor on Mylar
Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

While at first glance, the wide variety of works make it initially difficult to pinpoint a cogent message, closer inspection shows certain themes beginning to arise. Many of the abstract works touch upon the systemic constraints posed by biology and/or geography, while the portraiture adds a layer of human complexity to the mix. Hedieh Ilichi’s Listen to My Song of Freedom presents a tsunami of hot pinks, vibrant ochers and blood reds clashing with cool blues and teals holding the fires in check; a diminutive female, her body eclipsed by her flowing black tresses, stands with bullhorn ready to reign in this fray. A similar feeling of kinetic energy held at bay is seen in Anne Marchand’s Moving Times where burlap fragments hold explosions of color in check. Joan Belmar’s Blue Note, featuring a lattice of red lines and black dots add a geographic note to this idea, while Ellington Robinson goes full-on geopolitical with his 4th Dimension.

Blue Note Joan Belmar Mised Media on Paper Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

Blue Note
Joan Belmar
Mixed Media on Paper
Photo for East City Art by Eric Hope.

These constraints become more personal in Sheldon Scott’s John Henry Man, a character study of a man literally held firmly in check by gravity, but figuratively weighed down by unseen societal structures. Injecting a human element into the mix demonstrates how these unforeseen forces, kinetic energies and physical structures react to each other in sometimes chaotic ways. While this cacophony of forces can create beautiful moments like the northern lights, it can also influence political strife.Looking Back/Looking Forward demonstrates that investigating the overlapping, often unseen forces around us can lead to a deeper understanding of our societal norms, morals and political systems.

Looking Back/Looking Forward: 15 Years of Millennium Arts Salon runs through January 2nd, 2016 at the Brentwood Arts Exchange.  For hours and directions, visit their website here.


Editor’s Note: a previous edition had listed Nekisha Durrett as a participant.  Ms. Durrett was originally approached to be a part of the exhibition but was not able to participate.  The gallery’s listing was only recently corrected.

Eric Hope
Authored by: Eric Hope

Eric Hope is a curator and writer based in Brookland. He moved to Washington DC in 1997 and a twist of fate found him a volunteer marketing job at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In 2009, after ten years of marketing work at large museums in DC he moved into the realm of curating, staging a variety of solo, duo and small-group shows for the Evolve Urban Arts Project. He currently freelances as a curator and writes about local artists and the DC arts scene for a variety of online publications. Originally from Missouri, Hope holds degrees in International Relations and Public Service Administration from DePaul University in Chicago.

In the galleries: Getting ‘Personal’ at King Street

About CHORDS #40 ART(202) The official blog of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities

[A guest post from Artist Joan Belmar, as part of our Art Bank Collection series]

My approach to making art tries to impose some discipline on what remains, at bottom, a chaotic process.  My first step is to fly like a bird.   For example, when I am not in my studio, I am always seeking to explore new situations, research new possibilities, read art books, visit exhibitions, art studios and discover new music.etc.  Sometimes, the information I compile can be painful.  Too many times I have seen examples of unfairness in the world.  For instance, a few years ago when I went back to my native Chile after becoming an American citizen, I walked along a small street in Santiago and went into a bookstore.  I couldn’t take my eyes off a book containing the story and photographs of naked indigenous people. I bought the book and devoured it in few hours.

From this book and online research I learned that the Selknam, also called Onas, had lived a semi-nomadic life for thousands of years in Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) at the southern cone of South America.  They had a rich culture that involved music, dance, theatre and performance.  After the European colonists arrived, they suffered a campaign of extermination with the support of the Argentine and Chilean governments.  Large companies paid sheep farmers or militia a bounty for each Selknam dead, which was confirmed by producing a pair of hands or ears, and  later a complete skull. Some of them were taken to France to be displayed as animals in the zoo. Bounty hunters were given more for killing a woman than a man.

Today the Selknam are extinct.  My knowledge of their persecution gave birth to a series titled Tierra del Fuego and was shown at Charles Krause Reporting fine art in 2012.  In this series, I mixed imaginary maps, with drawings of Selknam almost hidden or erased from the surface of the canvas or paper–emulating in a way their extermination from this earth.

In 2013 I approached this series in a different way. The new works were less literal and were shown by Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington and New York.  In 2014, I had a solo exhibition at Addison Ripley Fine Art, entitled “CHORDS,” where I melded the qualities of color and textures  to creating a musical compositions.  CHORDS #40 came from this last body of work.  In making this abstract piece, I used many techniques, including the techniques that were part of my painting process for over twenty-five years.

The second step in my creative process is to choose a painting surface. In the case of CHORDS #40,  I used oil paper because it absorbs very well.  I start cutting paper. I mark it with sawing tools or anything that can leave a mark or a pattern on it. Then I pour different kinds of inks, acrylic or liquid watercolor onto the paper and allow them run free without any expectation of where they should go. It is a joy to see the painting flying free and mixing without premeditation. In their accidental travels they change their properties and transform.  Then, I create translucent layers of paint and polymer, gradually increasing their thickness until become opaque and solid.

My third step is to organize this beautiful mess. I  balance the colors; I draw lines, dots, grids, and eliminate areas.  In the case of  the “Territories” series, I used  the images of indigenous people with paint on their  body or faces.  In a photo computer program, I inverted the image to obtain an image where their perceptible flesh disappears and the dots or lines of their body paint remain. Then I project this image and I draw the dots or lines on the painting.  So as a result,  I get an abstract map feeling, but I feel and I know the indigenous people are part of the work.   At the end, I add velvet colors on top as a contradiction to all the transparent layers behind.

DCCAH2015.008_Belmar Joan_Chords Paper 40

As an aside, the art world that I perceived as hostile and distant when I came to the United States in 1999 is my friend today.  And I think of all the people in it as my family–from the artists who struggle so hard just to pay the rent to the art leaders and collectors.  I cannot thank DCCAH enough for its support since the beginning of my journey here.

– Joan Belmar

[In support of visual artists and art galleries in the Washington metropolitan area, fine artwork is purchased each year to expand the District’s Art Bank Collection, a growing collection of moveable works funded through the Art in Public Places Program. Works in this collection are owned by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and loaned to other District government agencies for display in public areas within government buildings.]


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Joan Belmar

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Artists Beyond Our Doors | Blog


Visual Arts Viewpoint: Interview with Artist Joan Belmar

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Visual Arts Viewpoint: Interview with Artist Joan Belmar

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Before you make your way to a table at the new Busboys and Poets in Takoma Park, allow yourself generous time to walk around the space and contemplate the worlds inside Joan Belmar’s paintings hanging on the walls. A palette of browns, whites and sepias in granular textures evoke earthy terrain, while velvety black circles suggest opaque nighttime skies. At times, bright colors assert themselves uncompromisingly. Across portions of these mindscapes march topographical stitching lines suggesting boundary demarcations; across other portions meander lines of contour mapping. Belmar’s work is built up layer after layer in a complex dance of opposites—transparent and opaque, textural and smooth, organic and geometric, earthy color and bright reds or blues.

Joan Belmar.

Joan Belmar.

I’m sitting down over coffee with Chilean-born, Takoma Park-based artist Joan Belmar at Busboys and Poets to discuss his work. Entitled Discover the Art of Social and Political Change, the paintings are on exhibit through April 30th.

What is the significance of the title of the show and the bodies of work you show here?

The original title of the show that contained these pieces in 2012 at Charles Krause Reporting Fine Art was Hidden Treasure. The artwork came from two different series: the Americas series, created between 1999 -2006, as an emigrant from Chile and Spain it reflected my first impressions of America; and, the Tierra del Fuego series, created in 2012, inspired by the Anne Chapman book Hain about the ceremonies and the extermination of the indigenous Selknam people by the Chilean and Argentine governments in the early 1900’s.

Territories-50.

Territories 50.

Do you view your work as overtly political?  If not, is it meant primary as an aesthetic experience or is there another take away?

I believe all art is political. The best example for me is Jackson Pollock. His works are abstract and apolitical but they communicated the unrestricted nature of freedom and were used to promote freedom in the United States during the cultural Cold War with Russia. Nevertheless, when I’m working, I don’t think of the work as political. I just follow my instincts, helped by personal experiences, and I do whatever I want. I like to experiment, change, challenge myself. Yes, some of my series could be seen as more or less literal than others. It all depends on the venue I have in mind and my motivation at the moment.

Mapping symbols and circular imagery abound in your work. Why?

I have always been interested in marks, scars, signs, etc., because for me they register evidence of a past. And that became more evident to me during my research of the maps and geographical regions where the Selknam people lived. I love circles because they are present in everything. Think about it, when you look the line between the ocean and the sky it looks straight but we all know that our planet is round.

Becoming Paper 2.

Becoming Paper 2.

How important are titles of work to you? 

I don’t like to set titles because they can narrow the personal vision of the viewer.I may be completely different from someone who views my work but I believe I can connect with that person through my work about deep, hidden, and universal feelings. That is why my titles are mostly abstract and not explicit, because I don’t want that experience to be narrowed by a title.

Describe briefly your process. Has your background as a graphic designer had an impact on your work?

I work on several pieces at a time and they often become a series. I work on the floor. In the case of my paintings, I choose a supporting base background and then I let the painting freely run, mix, fight and find a destination. Later, I need to find a way to balance and connect it with concepts that I am working at the moment. My three-dimensional work is more disciplined and organized.

My background as a graphic designer gave me the chance to learn to draw and be aware of many art techniques. Also it gave the technical knowledge, which I combine with my intuitive knowledge, to balance intense and chaotic paintings. You need to know these rules in order to know the right way your particular art should break them.

In addition to the paintings in this exhibit you make work that is more 3-D, can you say a few words about these works?

I think of my 3-D work as the voice of the hidden sculptor inside me. I took me many years to develop this technique. I wanted something that would evoke sculptural sensibilities but that was also hard to classify because it didn’t correspond with any specific category. What I came upon was something like sculpture trapped inside a painting frame. I don’t like conventional boxes and I love contradictions. I love the process that involves apparently insignificant, common and translucent objects and how they can be used to create pieces that play with the way we appreciate things. Also, I love how light constantly changes these 3-D pieces and how they also change depending upon the viewer’s angle.

Tierra Del Fuego 1.

Tierra Del Fuego 1.

Do you feel the DMV to be a good place to be an artist? In your opinion, what institutions/organizations help artists to exhibit, form a community, and thrive there?

Yes. We live amid a vibrant art scene. But one problem we have is that we don’t have many galleries or other venues that can represent, provide exposure and take artists to a higher level outside DC. In my case, Washington Project for the Arts was crucial to my development as an artist. Also Hillyer Art SpaceTransformer, School 33 in Baltimore, and McLean Project for the Arts are great non-profit art organizations where artists can show a serious body of work without thinking about the commercial aspects.

What does the DMV need to help artists thrive?

In general, more education to help people appreciate the visual arts. And, for those beginning to collect art, it is important to emphasize to them that they can collect great art in this area without having to go to New York or abroad.

LINK
Joan Belmar’s
 website.

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ADAH ROSE GALLERY

3766 Howard Ave
Kensington, MD 20895 
United States
T  +1 301 922 0162

E-mail address : adahrosegallery@gmail.com 
Website :http://www.adahrosegallery.com 

ABOUT

Adah Rose Gallery showcases contemporary art in a variety of mediums. The gallery exhibits art incorporating many modern movements with a speciality in Text-Based work. The gallery was founded in Sept 2011 and additionally shows art in a variety of spaces in DC including law firms, pop ups and architectural spaces. 

Exhibitions rotate monthly and include duo, solo, and group shows of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation and mixed media. The gallery also works with emerging artists and showcases the work of recent MFA graduates in a number of shows each year. The gallery is dynamic and is always exploring new ways of exhibiting and promoting art. 

Adah Rose Gallery recently participated in Pulse Miami 2014, The Silicon Valley San Francisco Art Fair 2014, Pulse New York 2014, PULSE Miami 2013, the Dallas Art Fair 2013, PULSE New York 2013 and PULSE Miami, 2012. 

  • Adah Rose Bitterbaum owner/director


On the Pulse

architectural digest magazine

10 OF OUR FAVORITE WORKS OF ART FROM PULSE NEW YORK

3 Members On the Pulse

A perennial highlight during Manhattan’s March art-fair madness, PULSE New York has returned for its tenth edition, showcasing extraordinary works from more than 50 leading galleries. Here are just a few of the pieces that got our hearts racing.

architectural digest magazine

10 OF OUR FAVORITE WORKS OF ART FROM PULSE NEW YORK

A perennial highlight during Manhattan’s March art-fair madness, PULSE New York has returned for its tenth edition, showcasing extraordinary works from more than 50 leading galleries. Here are just a few of the pieces that got our hearts racing.

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Arauco Paper #18, 2013, Joan Belmar. Exhibited by Adah Rose Gallery.

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With wires and beads, exhibits dangle intrigue in front of visitor’s eyes

February 20 at 12:38 PM

“Drop, Hover, See-Through, Lean” — the subtitle of a three-artist exhibition at the McLean Project for the Arts, is appealingly straightforward. Barbara Josephs Liotta’s sculptures do seem to hover, although they don’t disguise the strings that suspend the stone shards. Annie Farrar combines found objects into vertical assemblages and then slants them against the wall. Joan Belmar arrays plastic forms in wall-mounted boxes — abstract dioramas that are literally if not thematically transparent.

The show’s full title is “Manifesting Phenomena: Drop, Hover, See-Through, Lean,” and it’s that first part that’s tricky. The three area artists seem less inclined to manifest than to manipulate. Liotta contrasts heft and weightlessness, taunting gravity by seeming to float rocks in midair. But she sometimes emphasizes artifice, allowing dangling string to pool on the floor or arranging green stones on a descending scale in a piece that resembles musical notation.

Farrar’s materials, which include a lot of brooms, are often made of wood. So bundling the items into upright clusters suggests that she’s returning them to their origins as trees, except that she denatures the lashed-together pieces by painting them black, yielding an industrial look. Belmar’s constructions hint at both landscapes and the maps that chart them. But placing the elements behind plastic gives them a sense of distance — the remove from his Chilean homeland? — and even mystery. While Liotta’s and Farrar’s art exists palpably in space, Belmar’s appears just out of reach.

Although it’s in a separate space, Jean Sausele-Knodt’s “Out for a Spin” is a good fit with the arts center’s main show. The artist’s wall sculptures are partially abstract, while incorporating the forms of clouds and foliage. Yet the organic shapes are conjured from building materials, as such titles as “Concrete Mix One” and “Rebar Mix Two” indicate. Like Farrar, Sausele-Knodt returns manufactured articles partway to a state of nature.

Manifesting Phenomena: Drop, Hover, See-Through, Lean: Works by Joan Belmar, Annie Farrar and Barbara Josephs Liotta and Out for a Spin: Mixed Media Paintings by Jean Sausele-Knodt On view through March 7 at McLean Project for the Arts, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. 703-790-1953. www.mpaart.org.

Sun Gazette

Subtle spheres, shapes take center stage at McLean Project for Arts Sun Gazette News Thursday, January 22, 2015 12:00 pm

by BRIAN TROMPETER, Staff Writer

MPA exhibition 2

"Interlude No. 2," a mixed-media work by Chilean-born artist Joan Belmar, is among works by five artists on display through March 7 at the McLean Project for the Arts' three galleries.

The exhibit in MPA’s Emerson Gallery, titled “Manifesting Phenomena: Drop, Hover, See-Through, Lean . . .,” shows works by Farrar, Joan Belmar and Barbara Liotta.

Chilean artist and U.S. permanent resident Belmar, whose first name is the Catalan equivalent of John, supplied several works with spheres of various sizes painted on translucent acrylic panels, which he then placed on top of multiple slices of white paper.

“I am playing with pieces that tie together memory and altered perceptions, depending on light and the viewer’s position,” said Belmar, who lives in Takoma Park, Md.

A fine example is Belmar’s “Interlude No.  2,” a roughly 4-by-5-foot work bounded by a black frame. The artwork, which combines spherical elements with wavy brown and black vertical lines and a grid pattern of tiny black dots, is  perhaps the most striking artwork of all on display.



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Joan Belmar

Circles are also a motif in Joan Belmar’s “Chords,” at Addison/Ripley Fine Arts. Some of these drawing-paintings suggest interstellar charts, with dotted lines that might indicate hypothetical orbits. But their vast expanses also could represent deserts, such as the barrens of northern Chile, the local artist’s homeland. Grids add to the sense that Belmar is charting some sort of territory, although he contrasts 

Circles are also a motif in Joan Belmar’s “Chords,” at Addison/Ripley Fine Arts. Some of these drawing-paintings suggest interstellar charts, with dotted lines that might indicate hypothetical orbits. But their vast expanses also could represent deserts, such as the barrens of northern Chile, the local artist’s homeland. Grids add to the sense that Belmar is charting some sort of territory, although he contrasts the Cartesian elements with watery shapes and three-dimensional effects. Bubbles seem to rise from the picture plane, and painted shadows create the illusion that orbs are spinning above it. Sometimes, as in “3/D #1,” the multiple levels are actual, and not just skillfully simulated.

Working mostly on canvas or paper, Belmar combines acrylic, ink, oil and gouache. That list alone gives a sense of his work’s layered complexity. Yet the compositions and color schemes in “Chords” appear simpler than in Belmar’s earlier work. The pictures are mostly rendered in grays and blacks, accented by hues that are usually muted but occasionally bright. Yellow and orange illuminate “Small Canvas,” while aqua seeps through the complex “Liberto,” at eight-feet high the largest piece. At that scale, the map and the landscape begin to merge.

Joan Belmar: Chords On view through Oct. 25 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-338-5180; www.addisonripleyfineart.com.

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Artsy Editorial New York, NY, United States

Featuring strata of paint applied to untreated strips of Mylar and acetate, which are then submerged under more pigment and material, the artist’s compositions evoke the language of cartography while wryly echoing, in effect, the strategic self-presentation and positioning required by a life of long-term statelessness. Debuting at Addison/Ripley Fine Art this month, his newest body of work, “Chords,” continues that investigation, exploring harmony and dissonance through the framework of musical composition. Ever sensitive to the nuances of assimilation, these acrylic, ink, and gouache paintings accommodate different artistic traditions, from the Spanish painting of Joan Mirò, for whom Belmar was named, to American artist Kenneth Noland’s Color Fields

As with an early series of abstract multi-media works from his “America” series, which Belmar hid from the public for 13 years and finally debuted in 2012, Chord is not overtly political, in topic or content. Instead, the paintings employ the motif of overlapping circles, Venn-diagram-like, to suggest the multiplicity of influence and identity, intimating the reality of the artist’s heritage through the sensory effect they produce: an unsettling of the visual field, as spheres of form and color bleed and dissolve into each other. In Belmar’s art, produced from a mediated space between worlds, the ghosts of underlying layers eternally peek through. Just like the residue of former cultures, attitudes, and traditions, they may fade, but they persist. 

—Emily Nathan

Joan Belmar: Chords” is on view at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Washington, D.C., Sept. 12th–Oct. 25th, 2014.

Follow Addison/Ripley Fine Art on Artsy


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3 Hamptons Fairs Bring Art to the Beach

10/07/14 7:22 AM EDT
3 Hamptons Fairs Bring Art to the Beach
(Clockwise) Vee Speers's "Untitled #1, The Bulletproof Series," 2013, Joan Belmar's "Becoming Horizon," Ron Aloni's "NET Piece in white," 2014, Römer + Römer's "70's die große Welle," 2009 and Picasso's "La Femme Au Fauteuil," 1949.
(Courtesy Art Southampton/ Pentimenti Gallery/Ron Aloni/FREIGHT+VOLUME/Galerie Mourlot, New York)   
   

Blouin Art Info

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Paper Clips 

Pentimenti’s Paper Please!

Each work in the show has the qualities that cause a viewer to stop and closely examine, rather than quickly move on. Joan Belmar’s paintings are an examination of how objects change when they are viewed as part of a whole. The papers look as if they have been folded many times to create a textured fabric, but this effect is achieved entirely through Belmar’s painted process.


Bmoreart's Picks: Baltimore Art Openings, Events, and Galleries March 18 - 22


Joan Belmar

Joan Belmar

Joan Belmar

“Without Boundary” at School 33 Art Center’s Main Gallery
Opening Reception Friday, March 21
Exhibit March 21 – May 31, 2014

School 33 Art Center is pleased to present “Without Boundary,” a group exhibition featuring Kyle Bauer, Joan Belmar, Ben Boothby, Ruth Hiller, Andrea Joki, Alison Stigora and Jay Walker.

The exhibition is on display in the Main Gallery from Friday, March 21 through Saturday, May 31, 2014.  An opening reception takes place Friday, March 21, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm.  School 33 Art Center is a facility managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and is located at 1427 Light Street.  Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6pm and Saturday from 11am to 4pm.

Curated by Christine Pfister, director and founder of Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, the works included in “Without Boundary” maintain a relationship between abstract and figurative aesthetics.  Each of the seven artists depict elaborate craftsmanship by creating innovative works from unconventional materials including, but not limited to, duct tape, cardboard and glass.  “Without Boundary” sparks critical dialogue concerning the categories of contemporary art practice and challenges audiences to rethink the limitations of such categories.

More info here.

David Brown, Yellow Oval

David Brown’s “Roaming around the Quadrangle” at School 33 Members Gallery

School 33 Art Center welcomes “Roaming Around the Quadrangle,” a solo exhibition of recent works by David Brown.  The exhibition is on display in the Members’ Gallery from Friday, March 21 through Saturday, May 31, 2014.

An opening reception takes place Friday, March 21, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm.  School 33 Art Center is a facility managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and is located at 1427 Light Street.  Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6pm and Saturday from 11am to 4pm.

In creating his art, Brown is influenced by the immediate force of the shape and color, the “push” of the image.  After the initial impact of the image or shape, he draws the viewer in to see the work up close.  Unlike traditional minimalism, Brown’s work tries to create a more personal and organic, yet minimalist image.  His aim is to create an image that allows the viewer to experience the process.  The audience is encouraged to join Brown in the same personal meditation he feels during the creation of each piece. More info here.



School 33 Art Center is excited to unveil “Sticky Fingers,” a site-specific installation by Baltimore-based artist Lauren Boilini.  The work is on display in the Project Space from Friday, March 21 through Saturday, May 31, 2014.  An opening reception takes place Friday, March 21, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm.  School 33 Art Center is a facility managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and is located at 1427 Light Street.  Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6pm and Saturday from 11am to 4pm.

Boilini finds inspiration in physical action, indulging in pleasure and pain, searching for her limit.  “Sticky Fingers” features mural sized paintings dealing with ideas of excess and gluttony.  Viewers of the installation are completely surrounded by the floor to ceiling paintings which also cover the floor.  Through her work, Boilini posits that “We are a hedonistic society, always looking for more until the more we are looking for loses its meaning.”

More info here.

School 33 Art Center is dedicated to providing opportunities for visual and performing artists through solo and group exhibitions, art classes, hands-on workshops, a Studio Artist Program and special events. A program of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, School 33 Art Center is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and through private contributions.

Color Redivivus: Abstract Music From Washington by Donald Kuspit

               

No more copying from nature…rather,abstract painting in color.  Color, colors with their laws, theircontrasts, their slow vibrations in relation to the fast or extra-fastcolors.  Their interval.... As in music,an auditory art, this was a visual art whose forms, rhythms, developments allstart from painting as music, which has no sonority in nature, but only in musical relations.                                                                                               

 …In thisperiod, about 1912, it was called pure painting. Robert Delaunay in a letter to the American painter Sam Halpert(1)

In the painting of pure color, it is color itself which, by its play, itsruptures, its contrasts, forms the skeleton, the rhythmic development, withoutcollaboration with old methods like geometry. Robert Delaunay Seen by Robert Delaunay(2)  

It is the art of music which mostcompletely realizes this artistic ideal, the perfect identification of matterand form. WalterPater, “The School of Giorgione”(3)

All men agree that music is one ofthe pleasantest things….But music is pursued, not only as an alleviation ofpast toil, but also as providing recreation. And who can say, whether, having this common use, it may not also have anobler one?....May it not also have some influence over the character and thesoul?  And that they are so affected isproved in many ways, and not least by the power which the songs of Olympusexercise; for beyond question they inspire enthusiasm. Aristotle, Politics,Book VIII, Chapter V

 

Robert Delaunay’s Fenêtre sur la Ville, 1911 and 1912,revolutionary paintings in which “the first germ of color for the sake ofcolor” appeared,(4) are now a century old. They still remain fresh and exciting—two sets of “sensational” colors,one a series of pointillist dots repeated in a pattern, the other of irregularplanes in an eccentric grid, interacting to form what today would be called an“all-over,” “polyphonic” painting, to use Clement Greenberg’s terms—but“paintings of pure color” are no longer revolutionary.  Like Seurat, Delaunay applied Chevreul’stheory of the simultaneous contrast of colors to create his musical paintings,but color “simultaneity,” as Delaunay called it, has become a formula. 

Albers reduced Delaunay’s livelyprivate window on the world to an anonymous empty square, diluting his colors,and so-called color field painting reified color into vacuous purity,tautologically self-same and grandly staged—“publicized”--but mute.  Color loses what Delaunay called its“mobility,” in effect petrifying it.  Theintimacy and richness of Delaunay’s colors, and the complexity of hiscompositions, were replaced by the matter-of-fact colors and simplisticorderliness of Kelly’s spectrum paintings. Color becomes a decorative phenomenon in itself, if no longer “somethingmerely decorative to form,” as Delaunay said it is in representational painting.  Gestural formlessness and geometricalform—eloquently integrated in Delaunay’s Fenêtres,clearly geometrical however much he claimed to eschew geometry--went theirseparate ways, resulting in the opposition between Abstract Expressionism andConstructivism.   Insistently pure andheroically itself, each became a sort of reductio ad absurdum of abstraction toa one-dimensional dead-end, and as such finally self-defeating, that is, nolonger seemed to make beautiful music. 

Without its musical raison d’êtreabstraction seems to be “motivated,” as Mark Rosenthal argues, “by escapism,foolish utopianism, or pessimism, and so alienated, or so solipsisticallyconcerned with the self,” or “so independent, self-contained, and, too often,hermetic,” that it seems “irrelevant”(5) to human experience.  Which raises the question what kind of humanexperience does musical experience, mediated by abstract painting, and ingeneral, afford?

I will argue that the“constructions of color”—Delaunay’s phrase--in this exhibition of abstractpaintings by Washington artists remobilize color so that it once again makes a“musical sound,” to use Kandinsky’s language, more broadly, they show thatabstract paintings at their musical best have what he called a spiritual  effect. That is, they are able to generate--and in a sense embody--“visionaryspiritual experience,” thus satisfying the deep “need to transcend the limitingboundaries of the self…postulated to be a basic neurobiological need of allliving things.”  More particularly, forliving human beings, visionary spiritual experiences involve “efforts to breakout of the standard ego-bounded identity,”(6) and, one might add, everydaysocial identity. 

Since Delaunay and Kandinsky—astheir exchange of letters makes clear, they both thought that making abstractmusical paintings was a sort of spiritual activity—abstract paintings have cometo be thought of in strictly technical, materialistic terms, clever “solutionsto formal problems,” as Rosenthal said. The “materialistic attitude” that Kandinsky deplored, and that purepainting intended to counter with its “spiritual attitude,” had taken it over,vulgarizing it.  It no longer evoked whatKandinsky called “superfine feelings,” stepping stones on the way totranscendence, as distinct from the “coarse feelings” of everyday life.  Materialistic abstraction was neither—it wasemotionally neutral, even emotional indifferent and feelingless:  it was driven neither by what Kandinskycalled “internal necessity” nor “external necessity, which is why its colorsmade no “sound,” to use Kandinsky’s term. In short, since the days of Delaunay and Kandinsky paintings of purecolor have slowly but surely been losing musical subtlety, not to say spiritualsignificance.  The paintings in thisexhibition are serious, convincing attempts to restore music to pure painting,and with that to restore the basic meaning of abstraction.  It is “a process of emphasis, and emphasisvivifies life,” as the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead wrote.   It is “a stripping bare…in order tointensify,” giving rise to “aesthetic experience,” which is “feeling arisingout of the realization of contrast under identity.”(7) 

If color liberated from abstractionbecomes sublime—transcendental in import, or at least suggests that everyone iscapable of having a visionary spiritual experience—then the process ofreductive emphasis or “stripping bare” that occurs in the so-called minimalistabstraction of Albers and his followers de-sublimates color, implying that itis incapable of affording the opportunity for a visionary spiritual experience,let alone an intense aesthetic experience, or what the art historian AnandaCoomaraswamy calls an “aesthetic shock.” With Albers the spiritual abstraction of Delaunay and Kandinsky becamean intellectual exercise, and as such nominally pleasing.  It lost its spiritual authenticity andauthority; restoring music to abstraction the Washington painters renew it,sometimes with painterly verve, sometimes melodically geometrical.  Whether more constructivist or more expressionist—morea matter of Apollonian geometry or Dionysian gesture, to play on Nietzsche’s“duality of art”--but ingeniously reconciling both, all use their resources tomusical effect, suggesting that abstraction can continue to have transcendentalsignificance.  Their paintings are, inspirit, “songs of Olympus,” charged with “enthusiasm.” 

Thus one can understand the threebroad bands of colors in Gene Davis’s ThreeSisters, 1962 as bars of music.   Thebars are in effect fugues--polyphonic constructions of heterogeneous colors,each oddly “off-beat” however rhythmically unified on each bar.  Each color is subtly implicated in the other,yet they remain autonomous and differentiated. The darker colors function as intervals between the lighter colors, evenas they have a solemn tone of their own. A sort of ironical harmony emerges from the rhythmic interplay of theoptical colors.  The repetition of thecontrasting bars, each of the same length but with a different combination ofcolors, adds to the musical tension.  Incontrast, Anne Truitt’s Way, 1981, withits sublime display of yellow—the white strip beneath it is a kind of horizon,suggesting that we are thrown towards transcendence, as it were—is moremelodically uniformFor all its horizontality, the paintinghas an “uplifting” effect, that is, it lifts us “vertically” into the sky,creating a transcendental effect.  Thedifference between Davis’s painting and Truitt’s painting is the differencebetween “horizontal” and “vertical” music, however indirectly vertical Truitt’spainting is.  Alma Thomas’s Horizon, 1974 and Joan Belmar’s Like Bubbles #1, 2013, have a similarverticality, for all their horizontal planes, and textural differences.  In “horizontal music,” the culture historianJacques Barzun writes, “the composer writes melodic lines that move forwardalong four, six, or more paths simultaneously. In these combinations, the notes sound together pleasantly most of thetime—hence the other name, counterpoint: one point or note [or color] jammed againstanother.  But this piling up occasionallyproves harsh or intolerable.  Out of thispredicament comes the idea of composing ‘vertically,’ that is, taking care ofthe collisions that occur between horizontal lines.  This musical style bears the other obviousname of harmony.  It offers the listenera melody as being on top…and having ‘below’ a group of notes (chord) so chosenas not to shock the ear [eye]—or, if they do, to do it in a passing way,quickly ‘resolved’ into harmoniousness. Both styles, polyphony and harmony, are equally capable ofexpressiveness, although harmony is better suited to the lyrical, individualvoice and its nuances of feeling.”(8) The best musical painting, as I see it, is simultaneously epic andlyrical, which is what Delaunay’s Fenêtresand Kandinsky’s Compositions were,and what the paintings in this exhibition are—epically lyrical or lyricallyepic, that is, individual and transcendental at the same time.     

With Carol Brown Goldberg’s NT 21, 2011, Abstract Baroque musicflamboyantly comes into its own.  Its tworadiating centers in opposing corners of the inner rectangle, linked by red andblack gestures, fluid and irregular compared to the straight black linesradiating from the centers, form an eccentrically “imitative counterpoint,”another term for the fugue.   The wordfugue derives from the Latin fuga,which means flight or pursuit: Goldberg’s gestures, with their conflicting colors, fly recklesslyacross the canvas, even as they seem to pursue each other, sometimes crossingpaths but never converging.   Thetriangles in the literal center of the work are another “musical phrase,” theirgeometry at odds with the squares in the corner centers.  The squares are small compared to thetriangles, their hard angles at odds with the soft curves of the lineargestures.  The whole drama is staged in adarkish inner frame edged with luminous dots, a pointillist matrix of “touchy”sensations, neatly arranged in a grid, extending to the outer frame.  The auratic atmosphere, a grayish blend oflight and shadow, adds to the haunting intensity and transcendental effect ofthe work. Pulverized glass informs the surface, reminding us that Titian’s lushcolors were informed by crushed glass, making them ingeniously radiant, suggestingthat Goldberg’s work is a kind of Venetian painting, which, as Pater argued, isthe model for all musical painting. Goldberg’s painting can be read horizontally or vertically, suggestingthat it is doubly musical.

Sam Gilliam’s Plantagenets Golden, 1984, with its dramatically intersectingplanes and eccentric shape, giving the flat painting a sculptural, evenconstructivist character, is a masterpiece of musical intricacy, compression,and expressive ambiguity.  Gray, red,black dominate the overlapping, interlocking planes, some squares, someparallelograms, some curved, some angled, sometimes painterly, sometimes with agrainy texture--always haptically exciting as well as visually“sensational.”  Always at odds with eachother, abruptly yet intimately related, the friction between them palpable,they nonetheless bizarrely cohere.  ThePlantagenets were the royal family that ruled England from Henry II’s accessionto the throne in 1154 to Richard III’s death in 1485.  Richard III was “a deformed monster whomurdered his nephews, the young princes in the Tower,” but as Barzun reminds usthis was the “big lie” invented by Thomas More, who served the Tudors whooverthrew the Plantagenets.  Can one saythat the little circle in the angle formed by a wooden rectangle and a somewhattarnished golden plane—the fragment of a Suprematist square—is the remnant ofthe royal crown?  Is the halo-like form asort of relic of the glory that once was? Does the “deformed” work represent the deformed Richard III, its “hunchbacked”right side reminding us that Richard III was supposedly a hunchback, thought tohave been made vicious and resentful by his irreparably crippled body?  Apart from its metaphoric character,Gilliam’s work, an extreme, radicalized kind of Analytic Cubism, is, musicallyspeaking, a sort of fantastic tone-poem, the Plantagenet reference giving it aprogrammatic, romantic character.  Theplanes function like different musical instruments, orchestrated into a dissonantcomposition, suggesting the work’s relationship to ultra-modernist music, alsocomposed of tonal fragments, a family of forms that make strange musictogether.

Tom Green’s Gong, 1988 and Jason Hughes’s PowerTrip, 2009 are so-called pattern paintings, but the pattern in Green’spainting is somewhat discombobulated, while the mandala-like pattern inHughes’s painting invites repeated meditation. The sound that Green’s gong makes is loud and jarring, all the more sobecause it echoes in a variety of forms and colors, intertwining and intersectingyet never reconciling.  What might beregarded as a kind of enigmatic Kufic writing—sacred hieroglyphs, as itwere--appears on the surface of a tablet-like red plane.   To me it is the clue to the whole work:  writing is like painting, painting is likewriting:  they are equally “occult.”  The shapes of the letters are in effectwritten large on the canvas—dramatized and transformed into unequivocally pureabstract forms.  They are green, red,blue, yellow, and brown, of various intensities.  The eccentric, driven shapes are outlined inblack, and the black is outlined in white, with another outline of white aroundthe plane of color, except in the case of the bright yellow plane, therepetitive little curves of its right half spiked with light.  Green’s hyper-excited gong won’t stopringing:  does its percussive music callus to prayer?  Kandinsky would thinkso.  In Hughes’s more symmetrical,schematic work the music is calmer, the colors and forms fewer.  The center, composed of concentric circles,black, red, and brown, is surrounded by squares, which contain the samewhirligig form—the Buddhist wheel, signaling the cycles of life, involvingendless reincarnations until enlightenment is finally achieved—as appear in thecenter.  Sometimes the circles are white,suggesting an enlightened state of mind, despite the passionate red and thematerialistic black.  As the brokencircles—displaced alternative centers, as it were—at the four corners of thework suggest, the work extends into our space: the lively forms confront us even as they invite us to passivelycontemplate them.  They are at oncetranquil and dramatic, like the forms composed of square and circle—acontradiction in terms that nonetheless suggests that it is possible to squarethe circle, unite the opposites, achieve cosmic completeness.  Green’s dissonant music can be regarded as aprelude to the more harmonious music of Hughes, with its more orderlycomplexity. 

Howard Mehring’s Mirage Double, 1962 and W. C.Richardson’s Plus (For J. E.), 1985,are more conspicuously minimalist than the works mentioned, and morehallucinatory in effect.  Mehring’sintersecting/overlapping red, blue and yellow squares—the primary colors andfundamentalist Suprematist geometry--are ingeniously reconciled.  If the squares were circles, I would say thathis painting conveys the harmony of the spheres.  Richardson’s triangular shapes, variouslysized and interacting, intersect/overlap with concentric circles.  Opposites are again reconciled, in heavenlyspace, as the luminous white space of the paper strongly suggests.  Both works are subtly visionary, howeverdeceptively simple.  Their geometry isepic, their colors lyric, their unity melodic.

In a sense, the works thatepitomize the spiritual point of the exhibition—the presentation of abstractmusical works that have what the psychoanalyst C. G. Jung calls a “transcendentintegrating function,” best exemplified in art by music, as Pater argues--areRobin Rose’s Fathom, 2006, a dark patternpainting, and Pat Goslee’s Enigma of theEternal Now (Lift), 2012, an atmospheric, passionately coloredpainting.  Taken together, they suggestthat one must fathom the emotional depths to reach the transcendentalheights—instantly available in the eureka moment when one perceives thesublimity of abstract musical painting. Geometrical forms are eternal and unchanging, and the tones of colorsmay “atmospherically” change but the colors themselves are informed with theeternal light in which they “originate.” The spirit of the original musical abstractionists continues to inspirethe Washington musical abstractionists.         

 

Notes

                (1)ArthurA. Cohen, ed., The New Art of Color:  The Writings of Robert and Sonia Delaunay(New York:  Viking, 1978), 36-37

(2)Ibid., 17

(3)Walter Pater, “The School of Giorgione,” The Renaissance(New York:  Modern Library, n. d.[1873]), 114

(4)Cohen, 13

(5)Mark Rosenthal, Abstraction in the Twentieth Century:  Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline (NewYork:  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,1996), 236

(6)David Lukoff, “VisionarySpiritual Experiences,” Psychosis andSpirituality:  Consolidating the NewParadigm, ed. Isabel Clarke (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 207

(7)Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making, in Alfred North Whitehead:  An Anthology  (New York: Macmillan, 1953), 510

(8)Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence,1500 to thePresent:  500 Years of Western CulturalLife (New York:  HarperCollins,2000), 157-58

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Galleries: ‘Hubs + Feeders,’ ‘When What’s Right Is Wrong’

D.C. shows feature Tim Makepeace, Trudy Myrrh Reagan, Joan Belmar, Lori Anne Boocks, Rachel Farbiar

The Washington Post

Joan Belmar and Lori Anne Boocks

By Mark JenkinsPublished: November 1 

The richly textured paintings of Joan Belmar and Lori Anne Boocks are nearly abstract, yet suggest both personal and historical meanings. The two artists’ works, on display in “Mathematics, Maps and Myths” at Adah Rose Gallery and Studio 1469, feature mottled, grainy textures that suggest layers of earth and sand. For Boocks, the depths symbolize family history; to Belmar, they represent the indigenous peoples of Chile, his native land.

The artists are showing larger pieces at Studio 1469 and smaller ones at Adah Rose, but even the latter feel expansive. Boocks begins and ends with charcoal, with which she renders forms, often rectangular, as well as words and numbers. In between, she lays down and then partially removes acrylic washes. The technique gives luminosity to the muted hues, often earthy browns or metallic blues. Sometimes she connects pictorial elements with drawn lines, cotton twine or rusted twigs of metal. The sculptural aspect adds another tier to her intriguingly multi-strata style.

The bottom level in Belmar’s pictures is spray-painted and soft, but the D.C.-based artist contrasts that with hard-edged, brightly colored forms derived from maps he studied as a child. Belmar’s “Arauco” series, named for the region of southern Chile where his father was born, contrasts precise and amorphous forms, chart and terrain. The painter calls his subject “a search for freedom in a structured world,” but in such dense, immersive paintings as “Arauco #1,” the straight lines and perfect circles are just as crucial as the loose, watery color fields.

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June 14, 2013

The Washin

Bethesda Painting Awards

You don’t have to be a Bethesdan to enter the annual Bethesda Painting Awards; it’s open to artists from throughout Maryland, plus Virginia and D.C. But seven of this year’s eight finalists (chosen from nearly 300 entrants) are from Maryland, and the top prize went to Baltimore County’s Barry Nemett. Several examples of his work, as well as pictures by the other finalists, are on display at Gallery B.

Some of the artists, including Hedieh Ilchi and Joan Belmar, had recent shows in D.C. galleries. Most balance abstraction and representation, whether by incorporating both modes or by engaging in one while hinting at the other. Nemett, for example, paints landscapes but in a misty style that sometimes dissolves into pure color and texture. Iran-born Rockville resident Ilchi, who took third place, paints colorful clouds and tendrils that sometimes become three-dimensional but also inserts intricate gilded illustrations in the manner of classical Persian books. Cara Ober and Bill Schmidt, both of Baltimore, mix drawing and painting in intricate compositions that suggest the tradition of illuminated manuscripts.

Among the boldest pictures are those of Belmar, a Chile-bred Takoma Park inhabitant, and Lutherville’s Dennis Farber. Belmar contrasts hard-edged black shapes with loosely painted, earth-toned areas, while Farber paints so thickly that his free-hanging, vividly hued canvases become almost sculptural. All eight painters show great finesse, but Belmar and Farber match that quality to crackling energy.

So where are the symbols?
Tom Green - “First One” anchors the exhibition “Sigil,” a round-up of sometimes cryptic art at Addison/Ripley.Rig

One painting dominates “Sigil,” an exhibition at Addison/Ripley Fine Art spotlighting eight Washington artists, including veterans and rising stars.

At roughly six feet tall and 10 feet wide, Tom Green’s canvas — covered with rows of hieroglyphic-like symbols against a vibrant red background — is so large that curator Carol Brown Goldberg wasn’t sure it would fit into the gallery. But the painting by the acclaimed artist (who died last year of Lou Gehrig’s disease) was the first piece she knew she wanted in the show. Titled, appropriately enough, “First One,” it in some ways sets the tone for the entire show. Visual harmonies with Green’s richly symbolic work reverberate throughout the gallery, but there also are intriguing notes of dissonance.

Superficially, artists W.C. Richardson and Andrea Way seem most closely aligned with Green. Not because their work looks the same. It doesn’t. Even in his smaller paintings, Green communicates with a vocabulary of abstract signifiers that are almost like an illegible language. The way that Richardson and Way speak through their densely patterned art is closer to mapping than to writing. Yet all three artists rely on complex systems of markmaking — a series of codes that are not easily cracked but that hint at deep mystery.

Furthest from Green stylistically are Maggie Michael and Robin Rose. Michael’s “Lick,” for instance, features thick puddles of latex house paint in an evocation of what Jackson Pollock might have made had he used a ladle to spoon paint onto a horizontal surface instead of flinging it. Two acrylic works by Rose — the blood-red “Sanguine” and the lushly colored triptych “Elemental Nobility” — are studies in pure, almost featureless color from an artist best known for his luxurious pigm

Sigiland the lushly colored triptych “Elemental Nobility” — are studies in pure, almost featureless color from an artist best known for his luxurious pigmented-wax works.

So where are the symbols?

Right in front of you, as it turns out. What’s more iconic than color and gesture, each of which is on flamboyant, almost ritualistic display in Rose’s and Michael’s works? Their paintings speak to the unattainable sublime.

Joseph White’s paintings and Renee Butler’s shadow boxes, on the other hand, are grounded in something more mundane. In deceptively simple works, White depicts the sun-drenched balconies of Miami, where the couple has a second home, while Butler uses glass — shards of a broken window or panes of frosted glass — to evoke simple X and O shapes.

Although their inspiration seems drawn from ordinary life, their subject matter is light itself.

Joan Belmar’s work is probably the hardest to categorize in “Sigil.” The Chilean-born artist incorporates the image of a hobby horse in the sardonic “Where’s John Wayne #2 (red).” But his other works are far more subtle, featuring patterns that evoke human cells, tribal markings and other abstract, almost primitive power symbols.

Like his “Sigil” peers, this artist has figured out that meaning is most tantalizing when it remains just out of reach.

The Story Behind the Work

“Sigil” is the first attempt at curation by Carol Brown Goldberg, an artist whose own work also is heavily suggestive of unseen forces. The list of the show’s eight artists came to her in a flash, she says, well before its theme began to take shape.

The show’s odd title was suggested to her by gallery owner Christopher Addison, who knew the word “sigil’ from the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” where it refers to an emblem or icon — say, a lion or a stag — used as a family crest. Goldberg, who had never watched the show, looked it up and was intrigued by definitions hinting at another, broader meaning. Rather than a badge defining membership in a group, the word called to mind a visible manifestation of the invisible.

It’s a term that evokes, for Goldberg, an “edge” state — a space between meaning and mystery, between language and silence, and between knowing and unknowing. Though that sounds a bit like what the Romantic poet John Keats called “negative capability,” Goldberg resists that phrase’s pejorative implication, preferring to describe it as making peace with ambiguity.— 

Michael O'Sullivan

Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Joan Belmar’s “Bateux on Papier” (“Paper Boats”) is part of the “Le Temps de l’Eau,” or “The Time of Water,” opening Feb. 22 at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. She is one of 12 Take Me to the River artists featured in the exhibit.$RETURN$$RETURN$

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Joan Belmar’s “Bateux on Papier” (“Paper Boats”) is part of the “Le Temps de l’Eau,” or “The Time of Water,” opening Feb. 22 at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. 

The Washington Post The Washington Post

(Courtesy Joan Belmar and Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art) - Joan Belmar’s “Reforma #1.” Acrylic, ink, gouache, oil and colored pencil on paper. From “Tierra del Fuego Series,” 2012.

At first glance, it’s hard to understand why Joan Belmar hid his “America” series for 13 years. The collaged paintings are mostly abstract, and the childlike images etched into or drawn atop the paint don’t seem especially controversial. The simple outlines of feet and airplanes testify to travel, exile and rootlessness, and even the more ominous shapes — a gun, a jackboot — aren’t necessarily political. But the Chilean artist wasn’t a U.S. citizen when he made these works, and he decided it was better not to show them until he became one. (That happened in 2010.) After all, one of the paintings is titled as a tribute to Victor Jara, the singer-songwriter executed during Chile’s U.S.-backed 1973 coup.

The “America” paintings and a more recent series, “Tierra del Fuego,” are making their debut at Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art. The newer work can be seen as more pointed, since it’s about the destruction of an indigenous people, the Selk’nam, who lived on the southern island divided between Chile and Argentina. Working from photographs taken in the 1920s, Belmar takes the dots and lines of the tribe’s body paint as visual motifs in paintings that (like the earlier ones) are mainly nonrepresentational. The artist boldly contrasts strong, clean black forms with areas of mottled, dripped tan and brown, evoking both the Selk’nam and the land where they once lived. Such pieces as “Reforma #1” are evocative but also powerful as sheer design.



The earlier paintings, made between 1999 and 2006, are messier and more thickly textured. Their many circular shapes foretell the tubular sculpture Belmar was to make before returning to painting for the “Tierra del Fuego” sequence. Although the “America” works draw on New York’s abstract expressionism, they also evoke Spanish painting, notably Joan Miro, for whom the artist is named. The references to Belmar’s new homeland can be skeptical — a dollar bill is collaged into “They Want Money?” — but also upbeat. “Trip to the Moon” expresses Belmar’s hopes for a new life with vivid blues and cloudlike swirls of white paper collaged into the paint. This vision of a new day seems too assured to be the work of a man who was looking anxiously over his shoulder.

Hidden Treasure: The 'America' and 'Tierra del Fuego' Paintings by Joan Belmar

Hidden Treasure: The 'America' and 'Tierra del Fuego' 

Paint

Joan Belmar At Charles Krause Reporting Fine Art


pastedGraphic.pdf The Washington Post

JOAN BELMAR’s work is informed by the circumstances which forced him to leave his native Chile nearly 15 years ago and his life as an emigrant, first to Spain and later to the United States. Known to Washington, DC collectors for his mixed media constructions, he has never before shown the magnificent oil paintings from his “America” series (2000 to 2006), reflecting the joys, hardship and uncertainties of life in a new country where he couldn’t be sure if he would be deported or allowed to become a citizen. Paired with his most recent series, "Tierra del Fuego," inspired by a recent return visit to Chile, we believe “HIDDEN TREASURE” will establish Joan Belmar as one of this country’s most promising artists---an example of the benefits to the U.S. of a more logical and humane immigration policy and the critical need for immigration reform. 


 


The Gallery’s fourth exhibition presents the work of one of the country’s most promising and talented artists, Joan Belmar, whose experience as an émigré to the United States is both the subject of his early paintings and a near-perfect example of the consequences of an immigration system that badly needs reform.

The exhibit’s title, “Hidden Treasure,” refers to the more than 100 paintings the artist created during his first eight years in the United States---paintings he kept hidden from public view for fear that their occasional (and always oblique) criticism of the United States, especially the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, might jeopardize the immigration proceedings that would determine whether he could remain in this country and eventually become a U.S. citizen.

Rather than risk being deported for expressing views that were no more radical than those printed daily on the editorial page of The New York Times, Joan Belmar literally buried the paintings he created from 1999 to 2007, depriving himself of the opportunity to show the world his talent and depriving the rest of us of the opportunity to see and learn from the work of an intelligent and extremely gifted painter who may well be one of the most inventive and important emerging artists working in the United States today. 

 

Only now, 13 years after coming to the U.S. and two years after he became a naturalized U.S. citizen, are Belmar’s “Hidden Treasure” paintings (which the artist calls his “America Series” paintings) being shown in public. Until this summer, they remained stacked on tables and shelves in his basement, where the artist had kept them hidden from all but his most trusted friends. It was during our discussions about exhibiting his new ‘Tierra del Fuego’ paintings that I suggested we look through the earlier work to see whether there might not be at least a couple of them worth including in the current show.

One hot afternoon in July, Joan and I spent several hours sorting through dozens and dozens of paintings, many of which he had not seen since he painted them five, 10 or even 12 years ago. To say that what we found was a very pleasant surprise would be the equivalent of saying that Alexander Graham Bell was “pleased” when he heard Watson’s voice at the other end of the line.

What became clear was that Joan Belmar had produced a body of work during his first years in the United States that is extraordinary by any standard: dozens of vivid, inventive and beautifully painted abstract expressionist works that demonstrate the sure hand and creative talent of a great artist.        

Ever restless, it is fascinating to see the progression of his visual ideas from their inception in some of the early works to their refinement in later work; how they disappear for a time and then reappear again in his most recent work. For example, the translucent tubes and the grid pattern he begins to experiment with in 2005, and refines through 2007, become the basis for the three dimensional Mylar constructions he began making, and became known for in Washington, beginning in 2008. The grids then re-appear in the “Tierra del Fuego” paintings  completed this year (see detail from Tierra del Fuego(Acrylic,  ink, gouache, oil and colored pencil, 60” x 84” diptych) 2012.)

While the new work was motivated by a return trip to his native Chile, the “America” series paintings, with titles such as “I Speak Your Language,” “Negro” and “They Want Money?”, are the visual record of a wise and acute observer’s first impressions of the country he wanted to become a citizen of but whose idiosyncrasies and shortcomings he couldn’t help but see.

CHARLES KRAUSE
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

To see his personal collection >


CHARLES KRAUSE
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

To see his personal collection >


Charles Krause covered many of the most important wars, revolutions and headline stories of the last two decades of the 20th Century as a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, CBS News and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour/The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

His assignments included: Jonestown…the “Dirty War” in Argentina…the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua…insurgency and counter-insurgency in El Salvador, Honduras and Central America…the Falklands /Malvinas War…Marcos and the Peoples Revolution in the Philippines…the U.S. invasion of Panama…Mexico and NAFTA…the War in the Gulf…the liberation of Kuwait… Israel and the Middle East…Poland and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe…the collapse of the Soviet Union…the Balkans…and Kosovo.
 


His reporting was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with an Emmy Award in 1997 for his NewsHour coverage of the Israeli elections in 1996; by the Latin America Studies Association with its Media Award in 1987 for the body of his reporting from Central America for The NewsHour and CBS News; and by the Overseas Press Club with its Hal Boyle Award for distinguished foreign coverage, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination, in 1979 for his reporting from Jonestown, where he was shot and wounded while on assignment for The Washington Post.  His book, “Guyana Massacre: The Eyewitness Account,” was a best-seller and adapted for television by CBS. Broadcast in 1980, “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones” remains the 10th most watched miniseries ever broadcast in the United States.

 


In 2000, he accompanied former President Jimmy Carter to Mexico, where he was one of five members of an election observation team that played an important behind-the-scenes role insuring respect for the outcome of that year’s historic Presidential election, which ended more than 70 years of one party rule in Mexico. And, from 2001 through 2010, he provided strategic counsel and media relations support to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil billionaire jailed in 2003 for challenging Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule in Russia.

Mr. Krause’s interest in fine art began as a teenager, when his parents began collecting the work of Ferdinand Leger, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson and other important 20th Century artists. He completed his secondary education at the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, designed by the elder Saarinen and decorated with gargoyles and other wonderful bronze sculpture by Carl Milles. His parents’ high school graduation gift was his choice of any lithograph he wanted from a gallery in Detroit, where his family lived. He chose a signed Calder lithograph which remains a part of his collection.

By the time The Washington Post sent him to Buenos Aires as its South America correspondent in 1978, art and foreign policy had become the two great interests in his life. As he moved from country to country and from one conflict to another, he began to see that artists were often attempting to influence social and political attitudes through their work---and, conversely, their work was often influenced by the social and political conditions around them.  The first painting he purchased specifically because of its political significance was, oddly enough, an 18th Century portrait of the last Inca by an anonymous Peruvian artist working in or near Cuzco some 300 years ago. One of a number of paintings for sale at a Sothebys Latin America auction in 1980, shortly after Mr. Krause moved to New York to begin working for CBS, he was drawn to the painting because of its subject matter, clearly a protest against Spanish colonial rule.

In Cuba the following year to report on Cuban fears that the Reagan Administration would invade Cuba in retaliation for Fidel Castro’s support of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, he stumbled across a small lithography studio in old Havana. There he met Roberto Favelo, whose drawings and ink washes intrigued him, and whose observations about what artists were allowed to do, and what was forbidden, led to a report for CBS titled “Is it propaganda or is it art?”

Over the ensuing years, as a correspondent and later as an advisor to Khodorkovsky, he continued to look for and to buy art


  


The Art Bank Collection Wallpapers

alchemy27.jpg

The Space Dividing a Dotted Line by Nora Rosengarten

In his Alchemy series, Joan Belmar pays homage to amorphously undulating linear graphics, organically perfected circles, and snapshots of remembered ghosts of childhood through their engagement with one another in dynamic still lifes. Using a color palette which is suggestive of another world—although whether it is a South American island two centuries ago or a futuristic spaceship eons in the future is left to the viewer. In this ambiguity Belmar breeds his brooding melange which captivates, suggesting influences as diverse as CAT scans, jellyfish, looms, eyeballs, and delicate stitchery, recalling to the viewer Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around”. 

Nora Rosengarten Georgetown ‘14

Washington Post. Restore: Japan


Stephen Mack, DC Local Artists-Examiner (Fragment)


For his current series Once, Belmar uses techniques he’s been perfecting for six years. Beginning with a piece of painted plywood, he uses special ink to create an icon on this background layer, drawing from an image he manipulates in Photoshop. Then he uses mylar, dyed and cut, to create an inch-thick intermediate layer—perhaps arranged in a honeycomb pattern, perhaps in a wave of long, colored strips. Finally he adds another icon on glass for the front layer. The resulting work is a three-dimensional juxtaposition of the two icons—such as a housefly against an early prototype airplane—one easy to see, one obscured.

The series, Belmar says, is about time and memory, depicting connections between ideas from the past and present, sometimes showing how an idea manifests itself over time from imagination to reality. “So somebody says, ‘Oh, I would like to go to the moon,’” he offers as an example. “The most stupid idea in the world, but it happened eventually.”

Belmar’s work has been featured in recent exhibitions such as Restore: Japan at Lamont Bishop GalleryW.A.V.E of Love at L2 Lounge, and Catalyst at Katzen Arts Center. Thanks to a nomination by artist Manon Cleary, he plans to debut the series Once at Hillyer Art Space in October.


Stephen Mack, director


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American Contemporary Art Magazine

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Paintery Visions. Anne Marchand Blog

Daily Campello.

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The Examiner.

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The Washington Post: 'Migration': Universal Truths

Julian McKinnon

Art    ‘RESTORE: Japan’

alt-tag

Joan Belmar’s “05:46 UTC Coordinated Universal Time” marks the moment the quake hit Japan.

You’ve had the chance to contribute to relief efforts in Japan by going out to eat (at Kushi, among other restaurants) and buying drinks (at Buddha Bar, Iron Horse and Commissary, to name a few), and now you can help out by purchasing a piece of art. ReadysetDC and Curating for a Cause are hosting a silent auction at the brand-new Lamont Bishop Gallery, with proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Among the 30 artists selling works are some some locally well-known names, including Cory Oberndorfer, Tim Conlon and Decoy. In honor of the cause, the works for sale will be inspired by Japanese culture or allude to a theme of overcoming obstacles.

GessoHead



Zip Through the Galleries: Fridge, Studio and Hillyer
Latest News and Thoughts from Ellyn Weiss
    GessoHead has just returned from an extended visit to the Isle of Sloth and is attempting to fling herself back into the current of DMV art. So far, efforts have been half-assed; I've poked a toe in and here comes the rest! There are a few shows that I want to write about ASAP before they disappear.
      
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Laura Elkins and Mr. Fridge
ImageFirst, there’s Laura Elkins’s solo at The Fridge, that funky little gallery in the alley on Barracks Row. Laura is continuing to mine the rich vein of her decade-long pre-occupation with painting self-portraits in the guise of our county’s first ladies. This time she’s gone big and even more scary – and I mean that in the best possible way. ImageThe show is called “White House Negligee” and features the first ladies in their dressing rooms in various stages of deshabillee, sporting alarmingly aggressive expressions and sometimes brandishing weapons. I find the Hilary Clintons most effective, probably because the pictures so vividly capture what I believe to be the woman’s true feelings.
 
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Favianna Rodrigeuz
   Then there’s the group show at Studio Gallery called “The Magic of the Melting Pot: Immigration in America.” Let me start with a little nit-pick: as is often the case, I am a bit put off by the distance between the title of the show and what I see on the walls. What I see are some very interesting, sometimes superior pieces of art by artists who have come, or whose parents have come, to this country from various places around the globe. I don’t see all that much that speaks to me of the “immigrant experience.” I wish curators didn’t feel they had to assemble topical consistency, or suggest it. Is that too crabby?
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Graham Boyle
Image    OK, on to the art - and there is a lot of that to like. I love Favianna Rodriguez’s high-key prints.  Rodriguez, from Oakland, California, uses the bold colors and hortatory text of 20th century political posters. The work is attention-grabbing and intelligent. Graham Boyle, whose studio is Mt. Rainier is across the driveway from mine, has contributed some evocative hand-altered photographs that create a feeling of time passing and memory dimming. Susan Cho’s parents emigrated from North Korea to  Northern Virginia before her birth and her images on layers of sheer cloth speak of ancestors left behind.
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Joan Belmar
 Finally, Joan Belmar, who was born in Chile and landed in DC 12 years ago after living in Spain, has long dealt in the emotional currency of memory. His meticulous, dimensional pieces create both the physical reality and the emotional content of distance, separation and nostalgia. As always, I find Joan’s work compelling.

    I finished First Friday in Dupont Circe with a visit to Hillyer Art Space, the gallery run by International Arts and Artists that fronts on the alley space it shares with such tony company as the Cosmos Club and the Phillips Gallery. The place was completely jammed with well-dressed young bodies. Gotta confess, it’s a mystery to me, but Hillyer openings  have somehow acquired a reputation with the cool kids. I’m not complaining. I wish I could bottle it. Anyway, truth be told, the work was pretty much obscured by the bodies and GessoHead suffered waves of clautrophobia, but she gave it her best.. 

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A glimpse of Kyan Bishop's salt mountains
    The largest exhibition space has been given to Kyan Bishop, a young local sculptor  whose work is characterized by the accumulation of multiple pieces or fragments of material. The idea is one that is very much “in the air” now, but Kyan manages to achieve a kind of counter-intuitive delicacy in her constructions that I find beguiling. This time she has reduced the idea to its essence; we have large snow-white piles of salt chunks filling the main exhibition space. (The rumor is that she wanted to make them even bigger but that the Hillyer folks were concerned about possible collapse.) Visitors on opening night were given a 7-ounce packet of the salt in a plastic bag printed with the information that this is the approximate salt content in the average human body. The packets encouraged reflection about the meaning of “elemental” and the interdependence between the human body and the most basic aspects of the earth around us.
    Leah Appel’s photography show, “Southern Exposures”, occupies the front exhibition space. Her pictures of the park-like squares that define Savannah Georgia, each dedicated to a historical figure, are lyrical and lush, toned using an old technique called “Berg printing” that gives them a golden brown patina.
    
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Craig Kraft's neon
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There are some Ellyn Weiss encaustics back there
Finally, the terrific new Members’ Gallery, stripped, painted and spiffed, makes its debut this month with a three-person show curated by local sculptor, Barbara Liotta. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the show, where Barbara has hung a small grid of my “seascape’ encaustics, along with the amazing explosions of neon artist Craig Kraft and Lauren Kotkin’s, precise and delicate paper cut-outs. The show is called “Dispersed” and, according to the curator, “the pieces in this exhibition explode, flinging their elements outward and only retrieving them in the final arrangement.” Wow. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

CHARLES KRAUSE
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

To see his personal collection >


CHARLES KRAUSE
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

To see his personal collection >


Charles Krause covered many of the most important wars, revolutions and headline stories of the last two decades of the 20th Century as a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, CBS News and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour/The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

His assignments included: Jonestown…the “Dirty War” in Argentina…the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua…insurgency and counter-insurgency in El Salvador, Honduras and Central America…the Falklands /Malvinas War…Marcos and the Peoples Revolution in the Philippines…the U.S. invasion of Panama…Mexico and NAFTA…the War in the Gulf…the liberation of Kuwait… Israel and the Middle East…Poland and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe…the collapse of the Soviet Union…the Balkans…and Kosovo.
 


His reporting was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with an Emmy Award in 1997 for his NewsHour coverage of the Israeli elections in 1996; by the Latin America Studies Association with its Media Award in 1987 for the body of his reporting from Central America for The NewsHour and CBS News; and by the Overseas Press Club with its Hal Boyle Award for distinguished foreign coverage, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination, in 1979 for his reporting from Jonestown, where he was shot and wounded while on assignment for The Washington Post.  His book, “Guyana Massacre: The Eyewitness Account,” was a best-seller and adapted for television by CBS. Broadcast in 1980, “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones” remains the 10th most watched miniseries ever broadcast in the United States.

 


In 2000, he accompanied former President Jimmy Carter to Mexico, where he was one of five members of an election observation team that played an important behind-the-scenes role insuring respect for the outcome of that year’s historic Presidential election, which ended more than 70 years of one party rule in Mexico. And, from 2001 through 2010, he provided strategic counsel and media relations support to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil billionaire jailed in 2003 for challenging Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule in Russia.

Mr. Krause’s interest in fine art began as a teenager, when his parents began collecting the work of Ferdinand Leger, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson and other important 20th Century artists. He completed his secondary education at the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, designed by the elder Saarinen and decorated with gargoyles and other wonderful bronze sculpture by Carl Milles. His parents’ high school graduation gift was his choice of any lithograph he wanted from a gallery in Detroit, where his family lived. He chose a signed Calder lithograph which remains a part of his collection.

By the time The Washington Post sent him to Buenos Aires as its South America correspondent in 1978, art and foreign policy had become the two great interests in his life. As he moved from country to country and from one conflict to another, he began to see that artists were often attempting to influence social and political attitudes through their work---and, conversely, their work was often influenced by the social and political conditions around them.  The first painting he purchased specifically because of its political significance was, oddly enough, an 18th Century portrait of the last Inca by an anonymous Peruvian artist working in or near Cuzco some 300 years ago. One of a number of paintings for sale at a Sothebys Latin America auction in 1980, shortly after Mr. Krause moved to New York to begin working for CBS, he was drawn to the painting because of its subject matter, clearly a protest against Spanish colonial rule.

In Cuba the following year to report on Cuban fears that the Reagan Administration would invade Cuba in retaliation for Fidel Castro’s support of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, he stumbled across a small lithography studio in old Havana. There he met Roberto Favelo, whose drawings and ink washes intrigued him, and whose observations about what artists were allowed to do, and what was forbidden, led to a report for CBS titled “Is it propaganda or is it art?”

Over the ensuing years, as a correspondent and later as an advisor to Khodorkovsky, he continued to look for and to buy art


  


The Examiner

Weekend Pick: Joan Belmar

June 27, 11:00 PMBicycle Transportation ExaminerAdam Voiland

Credit: Joan Belmar

Whether you're a bicyclist or simply appreciate unique art, Joan Belmar's 3-D paintings are well worth seeing. A number of his pieces--though none featuring bicycles--are currently on display at Gallery Neptune in Bethesda

 

Joan Belmar on his View from the Outside

9 JUNE 2010 

I have lived in many cultures, but have never felt completely at home in any one. Born in Chile, I moved to Ibiza, Spain at 24, and to the U.S. at 28. In each culture, I have experienced the feelings of an outsider. I have come to understand that “all is not what it seems.” My need to communicate this point of view is what drives my art.

pastedGraphic.pdf

In my recent work, I have created 3-inch thick worlds under glass. At the base of this world is plywood or masonite, on which I have drawn tools, toys, animals, or body parts that can just be detected by looking closely. The surface layer is acetate, on which I often make a geometric pattern or drawing to represent the external, structured, societal world in which everything would seem to have an objective measure and to exist within familiar rules. In between these 3 inches, I use Mylar and acetate to create layers that both expose and obscure the worlds within. Sometimes I use closely separated vertical strips of Mylar that are dyed with diluted acrylic. This heightens the effect I’m looking for, because as the viewer moves from left to right in front of the piece, new things that exist below are revealed and others become partially obscured. Also, the color intensity of the piece varies as you shift from looking at the piece head-on to looking at it from the side. The result I hope for is an organic and mysterious world that is in constant movement, as you shift your viewing position. One image that I have recently used is

pastedGraphic_1.pdf

that of an old bicycle, because it touches upon both our interior and exterior worlds, and it also represents movement and change.

I am fascinated with color and transparency and the compression of worlds that coexist due entirely to the imposition of a technical structure. I think that I create this work as the result of my journey. I think of myself as a collage of experiences and even though many times I do not feel as though I fit in a place, I have access to these experiences.

I do not like to title my works with names that are too descriptive. I think names sometimes narrow the viewer’s focus. I want each viewer to bring their life’s perspectives to the viewing experience, with the hope that each viewer will discover something different.

I love taking advantage of technological changes and contemporary materials. I remember using thin layers of acrylic and oil to create abstract paintings back in 1996 in Spain – a combination of media that was frowned upon at the time – and I have continued to experiment with materials and imagery. I have used all kinds of material (fabrics, papers, plastics, glass, etc) but when I discovered the transparent qualities of acetate and Mylar and the effect of using them in combination, I began to make the dimensional pieces that characterize my current work. They are not exactly painting and not exactly sculpture, another ambiguity that I love.

There are two pieces that have been especially influential in my work: Anish Kapoor’s blue egg and Tara Donovan’s thousands of styrofoam cups. I appreciate the way that Kapoor exploits all the tactile and physical characteristics of materials. He also succeeds in taking the viewer to a different dimension that distorts the senses. As an example, he has placed people playing as children in front of his work; this is done as part of the work itself. Tara Donovan’s work has similar qualities, but she uses disposable materials as glasses, straws, and paper, often in large installations, creating optical illusions that are a challenge to understand. Donovan uses a simple plastic cup to create a world!

I imagine that each of these artists must have a great time in the studio playing and making art from the play. As artists, we face a host of adversities outside our studios, but inside our studios we need to stay very close to our child inside.

Right now I am working on a series of paintings on paper and canvas. In these, the layering is more optical illusion than physical reality. These are a new direction for me and some of them can be seen in my current show at the Neptune Gallery in Bethesda. In the future, I would love to experiment with photography, using light and reflections as new way to create depth.

This month I will open a large exhibition at the Winvian in Litchfield, CT.

Joan Belmar was born in 1970 and grew up 2 hours south of Santiago, Chile. He left Chile for Ibiza, Spain, at the age of 24 where he began painting professionally, using the Catalan “Joan” for his first name, John. He came to Washington, D.C. in 1999, and was granted permanent residency in the U.S. based on extraordinary artistic merit in 2003. Belmar’s work is in the permanent collections of the DCCAH Art Bank, the District of Columbia’s Wilson Building, and the Airport Art Collection, Ibiza Spain. In DC, he has shown in WPA\C venues, the American University Museum ,the Chilean Embassy and the Corcoran Art Auction Gala. He has also shown in Chicago, New York, in Europe (Athens, Barcelona, London, Ibiza, Biella, Lisbon, Sevilla, Santander, Bologna, Malaga, and Rome), in South America (Buenos Aires and Santiago), and in Asia (Seoul). He was a Mayor’s Arts Award Finalist in 2007 as an outstanding emerging artist in Washington, D.C. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and awarded him an artist fellowship grant in 2009 and in 2010, he was awarded an Individual Artist grant by the Maryland Arts Council.

Click here to see the artist’s website.

Editorial assistance on this article provided by Ellyn Weiss

Many thanks to Rob Bettmann.

 Gazzete


 
Joan Belmar, Alchemy XI,30 by 22 inches, mixed media.
        Real simple




 

GessoHead

 
Joan Belmar, Cameron Petke and Marie Ringwald at Neptune Gallery
Latest News and Thoughts from Ellyn Weiss

May 30, 2009

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Eliyse (left) and the civilians
Elyse Harrison, doyenne of Neptune Gallery, has, along with Cate Fraser of Fraser Gallery, consistently brought serious work by local artists to Bethesda. Neptune’s show this month is particularly rewarding, combining the depth of Joan Belmar’s otherworldly paintings with the zen of Cameron Pietke’s ceramic bells and the architectural discipline of Marie Ringwald’s constructions.
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Joan and Elyse
I am normally too afflicted with shpielkes (i.e. antsy) to sit comfortably through artists’ talks, most of which are interchangeably vapid in any case. So I was surprised: a) to see so many civilians turn out on a Saturday afternoon in May for artists’ talks, and b) to find these talks interested and informed me. The artists are all thoughtful and genuine about their work, which can be seen in the product.


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new Belmar work
Joan Belmar is a friend whose work I admire greatly. Born in Chile, resident in Spain and then the US, the element of layered experience, of more in the background than is revealed on first view, of lives that have been lived in the past but never left entirely behind, is always present in his work. The image of the bicycle, which appears prominently in a number of the new paintings, seems an almost literal expression of life as a traveler among cultures.
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more new Belmar work
The newest work, which includes pieces that are physically flatter than the dimensional pieces of the last several years – that is, drawn and painted on a flat surface - is stunning. They create multiple visual layers, deep with information yet breathing in space, conjuring a kind of cosmic pattern-making. I love these.


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Marie Ringwald
Marie Ringwald has the franchise on paintings/constructions based on architectural ideas. She uses found and embellished materials of all kinds and compresses the essentials of the built environment into each piece, ranging from the very small on up. The new pieces at Neptune, all of which were created very recently, represent a shift in direction from more monochromatic industrial buildings to color-drenched, almost tropical places. They have a human-scaled charm and accessibility.
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Cameron Petke, family and bell
Cameron Petke is a new artist to me. A ceramicist and teacher, Petke’s MFA project involved research into the acoustic variables of ceramic bells. He has created a series of white ceramic bells, lovely in the clarity of their form and the simple dignity of their decoration, each of which has a unique tone and pitch. They add a serene quality to the gallery.

 

 Washington Post Express 

Optical Illusions: Gallery Neptune Show

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Gallery Neptune brings together three simpatico artists with an eye-opening group show. The works of Joan Belmar, Cameron Petke and Marie Ringwald are on display through June 5. All three artists use ingenious techniques to create deceptively simple-looking, bare-bones work, like Belmar's "Bicycle," above, whose image is built in layers, and shifts and blurs depending on the viewer's angle.

» Gallery Neptune5001 Wilson Lane, Bethesda; through June 5; 301-718-0809. (Bethesda)


20th Annual Small and Miniature Show at Aaron Gallery


Aaron Gallery’s “20th Annual Small and Miniature Show contains a wonderful mixture of representational and abstract art, all of which are fascinating in their own way. There are the very, very tiny paintings, measuring no more than 3 x 3 inches, of Freya Grand such as The Sea, whose use of a monochromatic color palette imbues the pieces with a certain moodiness as well as strength. Josh George’s exquisite mixed media pieces present a powerful statement by the artist on man’s ability to wreak havoc upon himself so vividly depicted in his Pollution Makes Pretty Sunsets. The piece with its lush and vivid use of color does depict a “pretty sunset, but this beauty is tempered by the fact that this is the result of the overwhelming clouds of pollution which literally consume the city below.


Sondra Arkin’s small delicate abstract encaustic pieces, with their subtle and soft colors, convey a sense of calm and tranquility to the observer,while Megan Chapman’s works, with their dark, yet very deep and intense colors, convey a sense of power and strength so aptly expressed in her piece titled ImplosionCarlotta Hester’s playful use of encaustic and melted crayon in her work evokes a wonderful sense of playfulness and charm in her pieces of which Lacing Through is a delightful example.


Joan Belmar’s well balanced combination of collage, acrylic, and oil paints is very obvious in his work, as is so well displayed in his La Noche de San Juan. The juxtaposition of “real” and “visual” textures in his pieces creates a sense of intricate detail while his use of layering and overlapping resulting from his use of collage creates a profound sense of depth and space as well. David Friedhiem’s small welded figurative sculptures titledSmall Monsters are refreshing in their playfulness and childlike quality as they seem to run about and interact one with the other.


Aaron Gallery’s 20th Annual Small and Miniature Show offers to the visitor a wide range of pieces that may be small in size, but are monumental in their overall effect. This writer would strongly suggest that you take some time and treat yourself with the opportunity to wander through this creative and delightful display of work at the Aaron Gallery.


Ron Riley is the President of the Foundry Gallery.


The Examiner
Seeing way beyaond,deep within...or a reflecction?
By Robin Tierney
May 26,2007

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Northern Virginia Art Beat
Written by Kevin Mellema
Thursday, 11 December 2008 10:42

There are ways to make an arts district.

One is to have a seriously run down area with cheap rents because artists as a group are perpetually in that "just getting by" segment of the population. The area in question also needs to have spacious lofts suitable for studio use.

As unlikely as it all seems, this is usually the way things happen. Soho in New York was known for developing along this format. Crummy part of town where nobody wants to live. Artists settle the urban wilderness, and make it a cool hip and trendy place to be. Suddenly, people with more money, and less nerve, want to be there. The artists slowly get priced out of their own development, leaving them to find another crummy part of town to settle. And the cycle starts all over again.

Needless to say, this scenario leaves a lot to be desired on all levels. If you do the math, you can see that nobody gets what they're after for very long. The other way to do it is to actually plan an arts district. It almost never happens that way.

A drive up Rhode Island Avenue (also known as Maryland Route 1, and Baltimore Ave. depending on where you are at the moment) through the Mount Rainier, Brentwood and Hyattsville areas (just north of the D.C. border) plainly shows that urban revitalization has taken root, and good things are happening in the area. Labeled as the "Gateway Arts District in Prince George's County," there's no doubt that the arts community is a vital part of this plan.


Shelter for the Arts



Gateway Arts District Open Studios, etc. in Mount Rainier-Brentwood-Hyattsville Maryland from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 13. (Times vary with location.) For more information and a downloadable map of the entire arts district, as well as a complete list of venues and times, visit www.gateway-cdcpg.org.

With over a hundred lofts within the arts district specifically set aside for artists housing, in at least three live/work unit complexes, we can safely say that this area has, or will have, the highest density of professional artists in the greater D.C. Metro area. Keeping in mind that the area reportedly had a substantial artist population base before any of this came about, it's not too difficult to see this area is on track to becoming a serious hot spot for the arts inside the Beltway. What was obviously a run down area, won't be for long... assuming we manage to avoid a full blown economic depression in the meantime.

One artist housing complex was developed by an unusual non-profit development group, Art Space, Inc. (www.artspace.org). They have similar artist housing developments all over the country.

Much has been made of trying to develop the arts here in Falls Church, but little if any thought seems to have been applied to the notion of actually creating studio space for artists to work in, much less actually housing them here. It's a vital part of the equation, and is the difference between an ersatz arts district and a self-sustaining vibrant arts friendly community.

Prince George's County has been quietly at work on this for some 15 years, and it's all starting to gel in a big way. At the moment, housing and studio space in the Gateway Arts District is up and running, with more galleries and museum space in the works. A new non-profit (they all are) community art gallery will be opening before Spring, and possibly before New Year's Day.

It's just jaw-dropping to see this happening in what is traditionally a sleepy southern town based on federal bureaucracy as its sole major industry. Well, the census bureau says we have the fourth largest artist population in the country behind New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Seems like more than just numbers when you see this sort of thing going on.

H+F Fine Arts Gallery (3311 Rhode Island Ave., Mt. Rainier, Md.) is showing a pair of artists who use circles/spheres, and line to express egalitarian notions about humanity.

Alan Binstock, a NASA architect, and long time resident of the area, manipulates 3/4-inch plate glass to form his sculptures of captured colored orbs. The basic thinking behind Binstock's work is that we, and everything around us, is made up of particles originating from the Big Bang. And thus we are all more alike and connected than we typically give credit for being.

Similar, but slightly different thinking drives Joan Belmar to make his complex multimedia sculptures. Based of the notion that how we perceive people varies with our perspective and relationship to them, Belmar makes mylar ribbons, standing them on edge so they nearly disappear as we look directly at the work. As our view point becomes more and more oblique the work becomes more and more two dimensional. Each piece is different, but they all change in significant ways as your view point changes. It's complex and entertaining work.

Three old white warehouse buildings make up the artist studios complex on Otis Street, and Wells Ave. Inside you'll find the Washington Glass School and Studio where area art star Tim Tate works his own brand of magic. Appearing on the art scene after an "Artomatic" showing several years ago, Tate now shows his work nationally, and recently had a show in London. We've reviewed Tate's work here several times.

Without doing a strict head count, I'd say the entire ceramics group making up the fabulous 10th floor exhibit at this year's "Artomatic" have their studio spaces within this three building complex. Seemingly every studio has several kilns off in the corner.

Of special note, Margaret Boozer's Red Dirt Studio is among that group. Margaret recently showed some excellent and innovative clay earth work at McLean Project for the Arts, and the Arlington Arts Center, both of which were reviewed here. Boozer was a busy girl this week, opening her latest show at Project4 (903 U St. NW, Washington D.C.; www.project4gallery.com) from 6 - 8:30 p.m. this Thursday.

Also in the Otis Street complex is painter Janis Goodman, a full professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, as well as an arts reviewer for WETA's "Around Town" program. Goodman has also shown extensively on both a national and international level. Another busy lady, Goodman is also in a five-person show that opened this month at Reyes + Davis (923 F Street NW, Washington, D.C., Suite 302; www.reyesdavis.com).


The Northern Virginia Art Beat is compiled by Kevin Mellema. See www.fcnp.com for photos and more. To e-mail submissions, send them to kevinmellema@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

I Inspired by Duchamp, artist aims to disorient 




By Maria Longley/staff 

July 10, 2008 





Joan Belmar (pronounced "Joh-on") has shown his abstract artwork in several major cities, including Chicago, New York and throughout Europe, as well as Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. 


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So what has drawn the Chilean-born Belmar to Staunton? An e-mail from Kevin Postupack, owner of Kronos Gallery. 


"My pictures are online on a Web site, and after I got an e-mail from Kevin, I went to his Web site," said the soft-spoken Belmar. (He switched comfortably from English to Spanish and back again during a recent interview.) "His vision he's having in Staunton is what caught my attention. He invites very (avant-garde) artists." 




That's a "very important" role for a gallery to play in a small yet growing rural area, said the 36-year-old, and the reason he accepted Postupack's invitation to show here. 




Belmar, whose studio is in Washington, D.C., has created an unusual technique in 3-D painting with his recent work. He combines his former painting and collage methods with painted and untreated Mylar a flexible plastic used to preserve books and archival texts and acetate strips. He works mostly in circles and curvilinear shapes that he places perpendicular to a painted background and then covers it (but not always entirely) with a lightly frosted Mylar. The effects it produces involve changes in transparency, as light and the viewer move in relation to the work. 




The process of making his abstracts can be tedious at times, he said, because he has to cut and dye several times. 




"Some take me a long time, and others are more fluid," Belmar said. 


But the results he gets are well worth his time, he added. 

"When you look at it, you get disoriented," he said. "You don't know the technique, and you get confused, because you're not sure of what you're looking at." 


Belmar's upcoming Kronos exhibit, "The Exile," is a nod to the radical French artist Marcel Duchamp, who is often remembered for his playful digs at art marketing through actions such as exhibiting a urinal that he called "Fountain" in 1917. 




"It was a big scandal when he did that; he was a revolutionary artist," he said of the late Duchamp. "He changed the way people view art, or people's perception of art. I'm also playing with perception, and how people imagine art." 




Belmar's work has attracted the attention of art consultants, curators and collectors in D.C. He has been asked to exhibit in venues sponsored by the Washington Project for the Arts and is included in the art bank of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. 




He grew up two hours south of Santiago, Chile, and at age 24 moved to Ibiza, Spain where he started going by "Joan," the Catalan version of his first name, John. He settled in Washington, D.C. in 1999 and was granted permanent residency in the United States based on extraordinary artistic merit in 2003. 




Belmar's pieces are showing around Washington at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and at the American University Museum. These days, however, Belmar is focused on his upcoming visit to the Shenandoah Valley. 




"I feel really good about Staunton," Belmar said. "I'm very much looking forward to it." 

By Michael O'Sullivan



Washington Post Staff Writer



Friday, January 4, 2008; Page WE26







Multi-artist exhibitions built on a single broadly interpreted theme too often deserve the description "all over the map." Normally, that's not a compliment, but with the Association of Ibero-American Cultural Attaches' 16th annual art salon, the phrase is fitting and flattering.







This Story



'Migration': Universal Truths



The Story Behind the Work



Maps figure prominently throughout "Migration: La Diaspora," which addresses the theme of movement from one culture to another. That's true in a series of five photo-based portraits by artist Marianela Salgado ( Costa Rica) collaged atop maps. But it's also true in "Human Settlements," a painting by Evangelina Elizondo ( Argentina) that features an array of small, anonymous figures that have been positioned, like playing pieces from the game Risk, against an abstract backdrop that is part map, part board game.



Both works embody the show's central message. In a nutshell, it's that the issue of migration is not just political, but personal. For every map, for every fragment of a national flag, for every abstract reference to geography, there's a human being involved.



In almost every case except Salgado's, the features of their faces are blurred, obscured, generic or absent, emphasizing not their individuality, but our common humanity. Take "Hombre" by Julio Perez ( Spain), featuring a seated Everyman whose face is distorted beyond recognition in the manner of a Francis Bacon painting. Or how about "Take Off" by Juliana Moncayo ( Colombia)? On the right in her flat, posterlike diptych is a queue of human silhouettes, apparently waiting to be evacuated by air from some unnamed trouble spot. On the left is an expanse of sky, empty but for a flock of birds. They represent, presumably, the universal yearning for freedom -- or a better life.



One of the show's most powerful pieces is "Maldita Brisa III" by Gerard Ellis ( Dominican Republic). Echoing Moncayo's none-too-subtle allusion to the kind of political winds that carry migrating men, like birds, away from their homelands, the title of Ellis's painting translates to "Damned Breeze." Yet his work rejects the promise and hope suggested by her painting. In "Maldita," a solitary, hooded figure moves across the canvas, painted to look like a sheet of ruled composition paper. Here, the somewhat underdressed man lowers his head against a far stiffer gust than the one that carries Moncayo's migrating subjects. In fact, it suggests a violent burst of gunfire to the head, along with a spatter of blood and brain matter.



The experience of this particular immigrant is an extreme example in a show that offers views of cross-cultural flow as varied as the artists involved, many of whom are themselves immigrants.





Chilean-born Joan Belmar, for instance, lives and works in Washington, as does Katya Romero of Ecuador; Venezuela's Sara Nu¿ez is based in Vienna, Austria ; Ellis in New York City . Of the association's 21 member nations (which include Spain, Portugal and the countries of Latin America), only Bolivia, Cuba, Guatemala and Nicaragua are not represented this year.



But the preponderance of immigrants among the show's artists is completely coincidental. That's according to Patricia Abdelnour, the Venezuelan Embassy's cultural attache and the association's vice president. She chalks it up to globalization and the rootlessness of the contemporary human condition.



In the end, what ties the art in "Migration," though, is a shared sensibility. It's one underscored by the recurrence of the figure, by the slight but significant edge of the personal over the political. "Migration" is not about the places people come from, but the people who come from them. At once faceless and universal, they remind viewers that this nation has always been a haven for folks from someplace else.



Migration: La Diaspora Through Feb. 2 at the Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW (Metro: Columbia Heights) Info:202-728-1628.



http://www.iaculturalattaches.org. Hours: Open Monday-Friday from 9:30 to 1 and from 3 to 6:30. Admission: Free.



Artist Feature 4: Joan Belmar
NKG BLOG

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Pictured Above:

*Duplex and Concentric Green, 2007, mixed media on plywood, 21 x 25.



*Duplex I, 2007, mixed media on plywood, 21 x 25



This week's Artist Feature (posted earlier than usual, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday), takes a closer look at Chilean-born, Washington DC based, lyrical Mylar collage mastermind Joan Belmar. Pronounced "Joe-on," Belmar might be unfamiliar to some NKG visitors as he does not yet have a page on our official website, but his work is certainly not to be overlooked! He started out with paintings, but in recent years has moved towards the world of abstract collages. Though one might observe that there are echoes of OP Art and minimalist qualities in his general body of work, Belmar's mixed media collages are certainly one-of-a-kind. They are a reflection of the inner workings of his spirit, and do not imitate the work of anyone else: he is his own, unique person.



Pristine strips of solid-colored Mylar are delicately placed under the glass of a plywood frame, constructed into circles of all shapes and sizes; some slightly more representational than others. There are usually no more than 4 colors/hues represented simultaneously. Some of these compositions easily can be compared to a 3-dimensional approach to the biological system of the human body, found in the science textbooks of today. Due to his use of modern materials, such as plastic, acetate, Mylar and glass, an optical illusion is easily created. Viewing these works allows one's sense of curiosity to leap out, to question the purpose of his art and to be able to reach in and physically feel the materials in order to fully grasp the concept of each collage. Undeniably, there is also a deep sense of nostalgia connected to Belmar's collages that urges the viewers to take a deeper look at their own respective lives in light of his art. That somewhat uncomfortable, tingly sensation never dies, and an air of mystery prevails.

Strongly influenced by Anish Kapoor's scuplture at the Hirshhorn, which depicts a bisected egg painted blue, Belmar's work exists in order for us to test our eyes and abilities to perceive the things that take place around us. His constant exploration with circles (specifically with the mandala principle) helps us realize the importance of constantly accessing deeper levels consciousness, that life is not perfect and that we as humans are all in this together. This is why Belmar creates worlds in his art where some things are clear, others opaque. It makes the journey of life more interesting to discover.







Prior to moving to the United States in 1999, Belmar lived and experienced "multiple lives" in both Spain and his native Chile. His response to the events of his life is blatantly reflected in his artwork, which he describes with adjectives such as "alienation" and "disconnectedness". Through the daring use of his concentric collages, Belmar excels in his goal of not only examining critical social structures, but also of [psychologically] analyzing those who struggle within them, including himself. It is like reading the artist’s autobiography in his artwork, making himself completely vulnerable to the masses and allowing us to respond in light of our own life experiences. This is what the circle of life is all about.

Three of Joan Belmar's works (including the two pictured in this entry) will be on display AND for sale at our Third Annual Attainable Art show. Please join us for our open house on December 1, 2007 from 4-7pm. Till next week, I hope you ALL have a happy Thanksgiving holiday!



POSTED BY LAURA KUAH AT 12:49 PM 0 COMMENTS

LABELS: ABSTRACT, CHILE, CIRCLE, CONSTRUCTION, CONTEMPORARY ART, JOAN BELMAR, LAYERS, LIFE, MINIMALISM, OP ART, PHILOSOPHY, SPAIN, WASHINGTON



Three of Joan Belmar's works (including the two pictured in this entry) will be on display AND for sale at our Third Annual Attainable Art show. Please join us for our open house on December 1, 2007 from 4-7pm.



POSTED BY LAURA KUAH

LABELS: ABSTRACT, CHILE, CIRCLE, CONSTRUCTION, CONTEMPORARY ART, JOAN BELMAR, LAYERS, LIFE, MINIMALISM, OP ART, PHILOSOPHY, SPAIN, WASHINGTON DC