October 3 – November 1, 2014
Objects of My Devotion
We all have memories we can’t let go of, or spend years trying to recall or recreate. We think they are there, but like shadows on walls, they distort and their meanings shift. I don’t have many happy memories from my childhood, but I have vivid memories of the ceramic objects my mother would bring home after an outing doing ceramics, a hobby of hers. Every holiday our home was filled with beautifully glazed, but tragically whimsical figures, such as a three-foot white stoneware Christmas tree with plastic lights and enough ceramic pumpkins to fill a Halloween shop.
However, the objects most fascinating to me were the Easter decorations. We had a large collection of bunnies and eggs in all sizes and colors. I would seek them out year-round and play with them, creating sensational assemblages and narratives. I became devoted to these objects because they were an escape. Now, many years later, I am devoted to their memories.
When I learned that my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers, I shifted my focus to re-creating haunting and fragile assemblages from molds similar to the ones my mom used. I set out to re-shape my fragmented memories to better understand them. Years ago, I was just a little boy devoted to the creations of my mother. Now I am an adult trying to remember and make meaning of the past.
Jeff Herrity worked in the Internet industry for many years before returning to the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2008 where he received his BFA as well as his Masters in Art Education. For the past several years he has been teaching art and technology classes at the Lab School of Washington and is also a member of Flux Studios, and now a member of Red Dirt Studios where he will continue to refine porcelain sculpture work. Jeff has been in many shows from the WPA Auction in 2013, to the inaugural year of the (e)merge art festival where he created a large site specific installation. His porcelain work has been shown twice in the Smithsonian Craft Show Emerging Artists in 2009 and 2010. More recently his work has been in Asheville, North Carolina at a Handmade in America show in 2012, and had a piece in the International Glass and Clay show at the Pepco Edison Gallery which then toured the UK. He has also shown work at the Fridge Gallery in 2012, Baltimore Clayworks, Hamiltonian Gallery (Call Collect Fundraiser), the Renaissance Dupont Hotel, La Fabrica Aurora in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the Corcoran Gallery of Art (BFA exhibit), Gallery 31 at the Corcoran, THREAD at Union Market, and Civilian Art Projects. His photography work has even been used in the set design for a production of God of Carnage at the Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia.
I create works that examine how memories are constructed and recalled.
Snapshots of gatherings, celebrations, and other notable moments are translated into detailed line drawings and then overlaid to create semi-abstract compositions. These new images display a somewhat mysterious yet subtlety familiar space that holds a collision of diluted symbolism and traces of nostalgia. The source photographs are the results of our attempts to record an experience. They create a catalyst for recall.
However, the recollection in our mind is unique. By layering multiple images, I represent the phases I believe are used to develop these memories: the perception manufactured from expectation, the details recorded from experience, and the incompletely distinct recollection. The integrated result that becomes our memory is influenced and over written by different bits of information created from each of these steps. My works leverage this internal process by using visual insinuation to simultaneously present the individually meaningful moment and the universally shared familiar experience.
Lee Gainer is a visual artist who creates meticulous works that examine how memories are constructed and recalled.
She is presently a resident in the competitive residency program at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. Her work has been exhibited nationally including solo exhibits at the Arlington Arts Center, GRACE in Reston, Virginia, and Hillyer Art Space in Washington, D.C. Lee’s work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Fresh Paint, and YVI Magazine. Her works are part of the collections of the Washington D.C. Art Bank, the Rosslyn Renaissance Business Improvement District, the Indie Photobook Library, and The Newark Public Library, Special Collections Division. Online, her work has been presented at DailyServing, Humble Arts Foundation, Murmur DC, The Truth of Beauty, Today and Tomorrow, i like this art, Beautiful Decay, DesignBoom, and many others. She is a semi-finalist for the 2014 and 2013 Bethesda Painting Awards, a 2012 Trawick Prize semi-finalist, and a recipient of a Creative Communities Fund Grant for her work with the 2011 Source Festival. She attended VCU on scholarship and received a BFA, Cum Laude. Lee also curates a blog, Peek (www.leegainer.blogspot.com), which has presented a new contemporary artist each weekday since February 2008.
The First Inhabitants
I first became intrigued with the beauty of the surrounding jungles, caves and foliage that would inspire my current artistic direction during a trip to Southeast Asia. From that moment on, I became drawn to the idea of primordial landscapes free of man-made structures. Since then, my interest in unexplored terrains has morphed into a fascination with the beginnings of life, and the connections we humans share with our surrounding geography—for instance, the parallel between rivers and the blood that flows through our veins. In this most recent body of work, I utilize forms, shapes and colors synonymous with nature, the human body, and the cosmos to further investigate the common origin of all life forms. My mixed media pieces and paintings are abstract and organic, earthly but also imagined, reflecting my endeavor to portray, explore and celebrate the inception of life as we know it. Initially, I began creating large scale paintings in oils because of their rich and vibrant colors, as well as their fluidity. Since then I have gravitated towards pen, ink and watered down acrylic paint-‐-‐I love the transparency and airiness that these mediums allow me to achieve in my new pieces. Most recently, I have integrated layered cut paper into my work in order to add new textures and 3 dimensional elements to my pieces.
Alexandra Chiou is a visual artist interested in exploring the complex parallels between the natural world, geography and human anatomy. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a B.A. in Studio Art and a B.S. in Commerce. Her work has been exhibited in a number of galleries in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC including the Rawls Museum, artdc Gallery and Blind Whino: SW Arts Club. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia.
Bunny, Boy Eagle in Black and White by Jeffery Herrity
Spirit of ’76 by Lee Gainer
A Habit of Being (detail) by Alex Chiou