Inside the Hall: Maryland Hall News Blog

Gail Watkins, Color Canyon (2016)

Written by Janice F. Booth

Gail Hillow Watkins’s newest series of mixed media paintings, “Strata,” explores movement in simple, almost primitive terms.  The artist applies the technique she has been exploring for a decade,  layering and incising paint, paper, and various other material, but her focus now is on a narrative of motion, not a static uncovering, as in the 2013 series “Comics & Chromosomes.”  In some of these new works, simple forms leap and gyrate across the canvas bathed in color bands. The strata, seen together, become an undulating whole -- a dance troupe or a junkanoo parade.

With these new paintings, the viewer stands, a rapt observer, as the sands shift, light shimmers, and a curious sense of movement and motion begins. Since the lines of movement are contained in color bands, the dancing lines and the movement they suggest read like a choreographer’s notations.

Watkins’s kinetic forms evoke Henri Matisse’s work. Consider Matisse’s sinuous paintings, “Dance II,”  (1909-10) and  “The Dance” (1932-33).  In the earlier work, lines interconnect to create a sense of motion; colors, rich and deep, bathe the dancers in blue and coral. After twenty years of seeing and simplifying line and form, Matisse had eliminated all but the beauty of shapes against color to convey fluid motion.

 

Henri Matisse, Dance II  (1909-10) and  The Dance (1932-33)

Some of the works in “Strata” have a Caribbean flavor, perhaps inspired by Watkins’s travels in Cuba. Titles reflect Watkins’s Cuban memories -- “The Pink House,” “Malecon,” and “The Gate.” 

Inspiration for “The Pink House,” 2014, was the ubiquitous, tabby shell, stucco houses embedded with coquina shells seen everywhere in southern Florida and the Caribbean Islands. In this painting, bands of auburn, amaranth and cerise and carnelian reds, etched with shapes, bustle and tumble through and between the color bands, like figures in an apartment building, each with its own story and vitality. The colors and motion are playful rather than chaotic.

  

                                           Gail Watkins,  Malecon (2016)                            Gail Watkins,  Enlargement from Pink House (2014)

 

“Malecon,” 2016, seems a subtle rainbow of blues, pink, and bronze cascading down the canvas.  A lingering gaze rewards the viewer -- curving, arcing, reaching figures emerge from the bands of color, appearing as though from behind a curtain or from beneath the sea. In reality, the Malecon is an elegant esplanade in Havana with the sea’s tidal rhythms on one side, the ebb and flow of pedestrians and vehicles along the avenue.  The indigo and Turkish blue bands along the bottom of the painting suggest the Caribbean Sea, while along the top of the canvas striae incised into the blue band suggest Havana’s decorative grillwork against the blue sky.

Gail Watkins, The Gate (2016)

As we stand before the painting “The Gate,” 2016, we see a square of deep auburn banded with cornflower blue. The work is tranquil, a gate unused. “I saw a rusty gate at the entrance to a Havana Garden. It stuck with me – that lovely rust, the wild garden behind the gate, and always the sea and sky,”

Watkins revisits that sense of discovery from her “Chromosomes…” series with “Genome Fresco,” 2016.  But what is uncovered in this painting records not lost life-forms, but instead, some grand, civic event. Celebrants, dancers, participants all march and parade past the viewer, bearing up bands of vermillion and sapphire, rivers of color and ambiguous formations. The painting is playful and celebratory.

Gail Watkins, Genuine Fresco (2016)

Recently, Watkins’s works have eschewed the sensual pleasures of the Caribbean.  “Colour Canyon” and “Aleppo,” emerge from Watkins’s personal heritage and her response as an artist to the terrible war and suffering ongoing in the Middle East.  Watkins’s great-grandparents grew up in Aleppo, Syria, and left the city as newlyweds, settling in northern Lebanon.  The terrible images of death and ruin appearing nightly in newscasts and front pages across the world haunt us all, but evoke a particular pathos for Watkins. “Had they [her great-grandparents], as children, lived on those decimated streets? How did they feel as immigrants” What is my link to their past?” 

Movement, mystery, division come together in Watkins’s “Colour Canyon,” 2016, inspired by the artist’s trip to the Sinai Peninsula tracing part of her heritage. The muted golds, roses, and blues are separate forces, layered and resting one on another. Some of the bands reveal flowing, bulbous forms, some reveal very little. The unified painting suggests little motion, but a certain brooding potential.

Gail Watkins, Aleppo (2017)

“Aleppo,” 2017, is in stark contrast to most of the other pieces in this series. It is raw and still, dull gray and dusty tan, a band at the top the color of dried blood. And, on a ragged edge, a scrap of Persian blue, evoking a torn curtain or abandoned garment. Texture is central to this work; jagged, cracked, pockmarked.  There is no mistaking the visual impact – even without the work’s title.

Watkins’ work has, for the last decade, focused on uncovering what is hidden. Now, the work seems to step out into the light, conveying joy or suffering. There is no neutrality. What is revealed demands our attention.

AUTHOR BIO

Janice F. Booth is the author of Crofton: Images of America and has written for local, regional and national publications including What’s Up? Publications, American Artist, the Wildlife Art Journal, BizPeake Journal, and Lancaster Farming. Janice is an adjunct professor of English and Communications at Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, Maryland, and has been an educator for over 40 years. She has a Master of Arts Degree from Wayne State University. Additionally. She can be contacted by email at janicebooth@verizon.net. Read her blog at www.open-line.org  

 

Enter the All That Art Raffle to win a custom pet portrait or a custom house portrait valued at $550.

Two winners will be chosen.
Raffle tickets are $50 each - o
nly 200 tickets will be sold!

Drawing: April 28 at All That Art at Maryland Hall 

Winners need not be present. Raffle winners each pick the portrait of their choice.

Portrait Option #1: Custom house portrait by artist Daniel Reismeyer

​Portrait Option #2: Custom pet portrait by artist Kimberly Minear

Click here to download an order form to enter the All That Art Raffle.

Click here for information about All That Art.

Daniel Reismeyer 

Daniel Riesmeyer is a representational painter and Adjunct Instructor currently teaching in Maryland. He received his B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art and M.F.A. from Indiana University, majoring in Painting. Artistically, Daniel is inspired by Art History and interested in the relationship between immediate perception and the transformation of those observations due to the transfiguring lens of memory, accumulated time, and the imagination. For examples of Daniel’s work, visit www.danielriesmeyer.com.

Kimberly Minear
Kimberly Minear is an abstract realism artist living in Annapolis, Maryland. She was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, earning her Bachelor of Art in graphic design from the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Kimberly specializes in animal portraits in acrylics, and her newest works are created in collage. She fell in love with art in grade school after painting her first animal portrait. Kimberly has worked as a graphic designer, art director, and magazine publisher, and has come full circle to create art celebrating animals and nature. For examples of Kimberly’s work, visit www.kimberlyminear.com.

To purchase a raffle ticket, please fill out and return the order form located here or call 410-263-5544 ext, 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MHCA President Linnell Bowen (3rd from left) and members of the Severn Town Club (above) present a check for $35,000 to Maryland Hall.  The check represents the proceeds from the Club's 53rd annual Holly Ball which took place in November 2016.  The funds will support Maryland Hall's educational and artistic programs.  Thank you to the Severn Town Club and the more than 225 people who attended the ball for their support of Maryland Hall! 

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts’ (MHCA) President and CEO Linnell Bowen has announced her retirement from MHCA effective June 30, 2017.    

Bowen will transition to a role with MHCA’s Capital Campaign--called The Campaign for Maryland Hall--a multi-year campaign to raise $18 million to modernize and expand Maryland Hall.

Maryland Hall’s Board has hired executive search firm Raffa (based in Washington, DC and Rockville) to assist in managing the transition and search process for a new President.  The search will be announced by the firm in mid to late February.  

Says Bowen of her many years at Maryland Hall and in the building:  “I loved Annapolis High School (my high school) and I loved teaching here in the 60’s. And I loved my past 21 years at the helm of Maryland Hall. Arts and education is my passion and we have accomplished great things together. The mission of Maryland Hall is so important and we look to the next CEO to continue the successes we’ve had. I thank all of our patrons for your past and on-going support of our mission and for all you’ve done to help make our organization the successful organization it is today!” 

“We have accomplished a lot in the past two decades,” she adds, “including restored theatre windows, new doors, turning a high school auditorium into an intimate concert hall, and last week, the groundbreaking for the first new construction on site since the building’s construction in 1932.  I am proud of all that we offer to the community through education, exhibits, and performances. We truly deliver Art for All!  I am happy to stay involved in the Capital Campaign but am ready to turn over the leadership of the organization to my successor and support whoever the Board selects for that position.” 

 

Read the article from the Capital Gazette: Maryland Hall president to retire after 21 years

Linnell Bowen sits in her office among some of her favorite pieces of local art and awards she has earned as president of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

Her eyes moving around the room, she settles on one award in particular: The Arts Council of Anne Arundel County Annie Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Bowen received the reward in 2011, 15 years after starting her tenure as Maryland Hall president in 1996. Lifetime achievement awards are often given to people who have completed their work, but Bowen continued on in her position.

Now that will be coming to an end.

(Follow this link to continue reading)

Purchase a Young Patron membership during the month of February and receive an  additional young patron membership free to share with a friend. Learn more about Young Patron memberships and join today.


 

Young Patron Happy Hour

 

Maryland Hall is hosting a free happy hour in the galleries on Thursday, February 23rd from 5-7 pm. This is an opportunity to view artwork, learn more about the Young Patrons, and enjoy wine from Great Frogs Winery. 

RSVP to the FREE Happy Hour Here. Those who RSVP in advance will be entered to win admission for 1 to the Sip and Paint with Kim Hovell on Thursday, March 2nd at Maryland Hall. 

 

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Phyllis Avedon at the age of 90.  Phyllis was a long-time MD Hall Artist-in-Residence, a founding member and coordinator of our Drawing and Painting Co-ops and organizer of many trips to arts destinations around the region.  She was a vital part of our community for many years and will be missed.   To read more about Phyllis Avedon and her accomplished life please follow this link.

 

Interview with Elizabeth Kendall

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I just finished a ceiling sculpture for the MGM complex. I moved here over a year ago and didn’t have a studio. I was between projects. Then, a neighbor introduced me to someone who asked for Maryland artists for the MGM project. I got the residency here and everything has snowballed and developed since then.

If I didn’t have a studio here the MGM installation couldn’t have happened. It was great because it was something that will open up a bunch of new ideas and projects. Glass and light are new for me. I just finished a piece through an art consulting firm in Atlanta. Now that those things are over I am focused on ideas for my show at Maryland Hall next November. My framework for that is observations and experiences between my home and the studio.

What are the primary materials that you use?

Clay. I am using more glass and I have used fabric in the past. What I love about any material is that it requires you to use specific tools. you can exchange tools for different things - a belt sander to sand clay, rolling pin from the kitchen. I look at clay like fabric and I am referencing fabric and things from the sewing room.

My grandmother did knitting ,weaving, sewing, basket weaving, etc. so my memories are all of the things from her sewing room. She made clothes for my dolls and such. I don’t like the process as much as I like it in pottery.

What’s your earliest memory of art?

It is a frustrating memory because I had this idea of what good art was. I came to art through craft, through process. I had to get technique into my hands before I could get emotion into the work. I started off at a community center taking a ceramics class. I had a five year plan to become a potter and it evolved from there.

What work of art do you most wish you’d made?

I feel that all the time when I see things or you look at something and it resonated with you. But almost inevitably when I am done a project then the next the piece is the one I wish I had made. You solve a problem or you work through a process . or you learn something right at the end that you want to put into the next work.

How do you know when a work is finished?

There are stages of doneness. throwing, trimming, rolling it out, drying it out.. all different stage. I don’t always know until the deadline is done or until afterwards. And, often times I think that is what keeps me coming back. Especially with ceramics where you rely on the kiln to help you finish it, things come out unexpected. That’s OK. then you can look at it and say oh that's cool how that came out. I love the serendipity. I also love the control you can get.

How has your time as an AIR been? Was it how you expected?

It has been great to meet other makers and people who are just involved with this community. I moved and it’s far enough that I need to make a new set of paths. I have always enjoyed having my door open. that’s the challenge of working at home is that you're alone. Every place has it systems. you take what you need and don’t take what you don’t need.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

Typically I would say process, and that is what initially drew me in. But, I also find it very hard to let go of things that I make for myself. It is probably a reflection of the process.

What is your ideal creative activity?

Yoga is a really good time. It’s a time where I let go. Somebody else is telling me what to do and in a way I am not in charge. I really think that every single moment there is Something there. Even if you are just at the bus stop doing nothing there is still something there that you can take away from it. if you don’t take-in the moment then you are just going.

Which artists do you most admire?

It changes but I always resonate with performance and installation artists. I like things that are temporary and relevant to space. The short term nature of things sets up interesting responses.

What is your creative ambition?

I want to make what I am doing now and figure out how to change it. I want to change the pace and the scale. Right now I make things fast, small, and in multiples to make a large piece. I want to slow down the making -- I don’t know where that is going to take the work necessarily.

What are the obstacles to this ambition?

I like making and I will just make as a default. I should think during that time and slow it down. You go to what you like to do. I need to say ‘this is the time for stretching a new muscle.’

How do you begin your day?

I try and have a period of time where I am not doing anything. I am not talking to anybody. Our home looks out at the bay when the sun is rising. The color change on the water is just amazing. And I am trying to do a little more listening, specifically to podcasts.

 

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?

I don’t think I do. I really like doing things differently, not that I always take different routes. I used to be very into control but I really like change. You can’t stop it so instead of fighting it just know things can be fresh and fun. My goal is to embrace it and find ways to change something.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?

I don’t seek it out. I enjoy it. I think a lot of times it comes out and it sounds good. That's a good creative activity but I don't know it always translates into anything. it can be forced.

“My door is always open. I am perfectly happy to have people stop by. You never know who you are going to meet are what’s going to happen.” If you should find your way up to the third floor at Maryland Hall feel free to peek into Elizabeth’s studio! Studio 310 B.

 

Ralph Crosby, well-known local businessman, will discuss his new book, "Memories of a Main Street Boy:  Growing up in America's Ancient City," on Thursday, December 15 at 6:30 pm at Maryland Hall.  The talk is free and open to the public and will take place in Room 308.  The book will be for sale at the event with proceeds from sales that night going to Maryland Hall.  

A native Annapolitan and 1952 Annapolis High School graduate, Mr. Crosby grew up in an apartment on Main Street. His book tells the story of his growing up during one of the most disruptive, yet most dynamic, eras in our nation’s history – from the end of the Great Depression, through World War II to the Cold War – and how that impacted his generation on Main Streets across America.

Throughout the book, Mr. Crosby weaves in historic Colonial references to the places, people and events that shaped early Annapolis. He also talks about his days at Annapolis High School, now Maryland Hall, which makes the venue for the December 15 event particularly appropriate.

Mr. Crosby’s book can be purchased on December 15, in advance on Amazon.com or at Back Creek Books or Annapolis Bookstore in downtown Annapolis.   

Mr. Crosby is founder and chairman of Crosby Marketing Communications, a nationally recognized public relations/advertising firm located in Annapolis. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and a former journalist who has also published two other books.

 

 

  

An Interview with Emily Welsh

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I am taking ideas and themes from older projects and working them into new projects while I am here. I went to school for printmaking. I liked intaglio on copper the best. They had a brand new studio where I went to school and they were just getting a bunch of non-toxic things. My apartment is small and I wanted to get back into printmaking. I have been elbows deep in work which lent me to be in the music industry and night-life.

I was doing a lot of sketches in bars and with musicians. I had this idea to create the sketches into prints and develop them into a more finished project. Because I have been so heavily involved in work I have not been able to express myself the way I used to so having my studio at Maryland Hall has been great.

What are the primary materials that you use?  

Pen and watercolor for the initial sketches I have been doing. I carry a small cheap ten color watercolor kit. For the prints I use copper plates and ink - typically black and white. I might experiment with color this go around though.

What’s your earliest memory of art?

Probably my art teacher from middle school. It was around Easter time and I came home with these really intricate drawings of “Eggtown” and I did everything cars, buildings, etc. In elementary school art was prominent. In Middle school, the curriculum changed and for some reason art was lost somewhere.  I was more science oriented. In highschool I went back to taking art classes.

What work of art do you most wish you’d made?

Any of Jeff Koons balloon animal sculptures mainly because I wish the large scale is something I could do. I just don’t have the means to really do that. I want to create a mechanical menagerie and have these large scale mechanical animals. They would probably be paper mache but I will refine the technique from my previous paper mache endeavors.

How has your time as an AIR been? Was it how you expected?

It has been great being here. I live with two other people and they have  turned our kitchen table into a craft center.For me, it’s really just creating a mess and not cleaning it up. So, it has been really nice to have a studio where I come back to everything where I left it. I was an AIR in the past as well and I came into that residency with no expectations. It both was and wasn’t what I was thinking.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

I think if i don’t like the process then I won’t like the result. [In printmaking] you have to prepare the plate in such a way first or the rest of the system won’t work. If you miss a step the acid won’t set or the ink won’t dry, and so on. I become somewhat obsessed with the process. I can tell going to a bar if the process is going to work based on who is there, what music it is, what bar I’m at, etc.

What is your ideal creative activity?

Driving. I had the grand scheme of finding a studio space and etching these drawings when I was on a really long drive. It has happened multiple times - on the jersey turnpike when I have been by myself long enough that my mind starts turning and I want to pull over and start writing all these things down.

Which artists do you most admire?

I have been heavily influenced by illustrators. My grandmother had the older version of the old Wizard of Oz stories. Some are full color illustrations and some are just black and white. the whole fantastical themes stuck with me.

My favorite artists are

Quentin Blake - Roaldl Dahl Books

Hilary Knight - Elouise

W.W. Denslow - Wizard of Oz

Edward Gorey -  The Gashlycrumb Tinies

What is something you are proud of that you have created in the past?

The Electric Elephant is a book that my grandfather wrote. It was based on another story with the same title. He wrote 50 pages filled with stories and they always incorporated me and my 3 cousins, Kate, Sam, and Grace on an adventure. I illustrated the whole book.

Who are some of your role models?

Outside of my parents it would be some of the people I worked with previously. I worked at Rams Head and met a lot of really incredible tour managers. A lot of the female tour managers were really influential in a really man-dominated industry.

 

What is your creative ambition?

A mechanical menagerie based off of my animal prints is definitely something to work towards.

What are the obstacles to this ambition?

Space and size. When I was working on the elephant the last time I was here, I wanted to do an art installation kind of art walk. At the time there were a lot of unfortunate empty storefront spaces in Historic Annapolis. I would like to use those spaces at some point and create random areas for art installations. It would include a pop-up art walk.

How do you begin your day?

Currently just setting a loose plan for the day. Trying to get into a routine.

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?

Circles are definitely repetitive in my art. If you look through any of my sketchbooks you will see them everywhere.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?

Outside of doing these portraits of people at bars there was not a lot of dialog like that at work. But, I do rely on a conversation to further what I am doing. I like it to be someone who is far away from the process and from me. Sometimes it takes someone, who has no idea about my work, that asks me a question that sparks an answer or another way to see or do things.

Ignite Annapolis #2 Announced: Call for Presentations

International Phenomenon returns to Annapolis

5 Minutes, 20 slides. What would you say to Annapolis? Enlighten us, but make it quick.

Organizers Kris Valerio Shock, Liz Thibodeau, Kathleen Booth and Gavin Buckley are excited to announce the second Ignite Annapolis event is scheduled to take place from 7:00-9:00pm on Wednesday, November 30th at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. 

If you had five minutes on stage, what would you say to Annapolis? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Following an initial Ignite Annapolis event in 2009 and subsequent hugely successful Ignite events in Baltimore and Howard County, on November 30th at 7 pm, 16 artists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers will answer this challenge at Ignite Annapolis #2. The event will be held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD. 

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