Exhibition

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  

 

Father/daughter duo Peter and Lisa Egeli held a gallery talk on March 11 for their exhibition "Nature/Nurture: The Paintings of Father and Daughter" on display in the Chaney Gallery. The gallery talk was well attended and a number of their paintings have already sold. If you have the opportunity to, stop by and check out their exhibition along with Patrice Drago's and Ruth Connell's also on display at Maryland Hall through April 11.  Ruth Connell will be hosting a gallery talk on Wednesday, April 8 at 5:30 pm.

Photos courtesy of Patrick O'Brien - www.PatrickOBrienStudio.com

Please join us for a free Gallery Talk on Monday, February 9 at 6 pm. 

Matt Korbelac, president of the Digital Photography Club of Annapolis will introduce the winners of the Digital Visions: Annual Juried Show of the Digital Photography Club of Annapolis in the Chaney Gallery. The winners will discuss their piece, addressing why they chose to take it and how they addressed problems in doing so. Printing on various papers and other materials and framing choices will also be discussed. Speakers will include James Walker speaking for himself and Annette Uroskie, Chris Edwards and Lynann Rudert. 

Immediately following the talk in the Chaney Gallery, head up to the third floor for a discussion in the Balcony Gallery by Vince Lupo about his photographs. Vince says of his work, “These photos are impressions of where I've been, what I've seen and the feelings these encounters have evoked.  Call them my visual "curricula vitae," or at least a small sliver of them.”

 

All That Art Auction Event:  Friday, March 7, 6-9 pm;  Tickets:  $75/person.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Mark you calendars for Maryland Hall's 9th annual All That Art fundraising event.  Enjoy an elegant reception in the galleries on Friday, March 7 and bid on artwork throughout the evening by noteworthy local and regional artists.  Proceeds from All That Art benefit the artists and Maryland Hall's visual arts program and outreach activities.  More than 40 pieces of art will be up for auction during All That Art, with pieces ranging from drawing and paintings to sculpture and jewelry.  An exhibition of all the work up for auction is on display in both galleries from February 24 through March 7.  Patrons can tour the galleries (free) during the exhibition and selected works (TBA) will be available for sale at "buy it now" prices prior to the auction.    

Juried Artists:

Mark Aruta
c.l. bigelow
Terri Borges
Lisa BurgerLentz
Rick Casali
Ruth Connell
Shelia Delaquil
Don Dement
Edie Dillon
Patrice Drago
James Earl
Joanette Egeli
Lorraine Ellerson
Richard Foa
Melissa Gryder
Douglas Hanewinckel
Gail Higginbotham
Channing Houston
Viki Keating
Gayla Lee
Fern Loos Beu
Nancy McCarra
Rufus Norman
Larry Ringgold
Doris Ross
Desiree Holmes Scherini
Wilford Scott
Thackray Seznec
Lida Stifel
Merla Tootle
Linda Trope
Shannon Troxler
Andree Tullier
Erika Walsh
Roxanne Weidele
Rob Wood
Patricia Worsham
William C. Wright
 
Invited Artists:
Karin Abromaitis
Sasha Blanton
Joe Dickey
Charles E. Emery
Kevin Fitzgerald
Joanne Graham
Nancy Hammond
Claire McArdle
Jill Tanenbaum
Marion E. Warren
Mindy Weisel
Elliott Zuckerman
 

Thanks to our All That Art Sponsors (to date):

 

All That Art began in 2006 and since then has grown into Maryland Hall's second largest fundraising event thanks to the generosity and support of individual art patrons, collectors and local businesses that support the event through sponsorship support, donations and art purchases.  Proceeds from the sale of the art is split evenly between the artists and Maryland Hall.  In addition to sales, the event provides artists with recognition and visibility to new audiences.

All That Art benefits Maryland Hall's visual arts program, which mounts countless exhibitions throughout the year, providing additional exposure to artists.  The event also support Maryland Hall's outreach activities that ensure students of all backgrounds have access to the arts.

At right:  Top:  Lida Stifel, "Fantasy Flowers," oil and Terri Borges, "Fields of Yellow," mosaic

Artists interested in being considered for the exhibition/auction can apply on our web site by clicking here or downloading the call to artists here and responding via mail.  The deadline for submission is November 1.

Call to Artists Prospectus

Background/History

Maryland Hall is hosting our 9th Annual All That Art exhibition and auction fundraising event.  Maryland Hall hosts this event to raise funds for our visual arts program and to benefit local artists; auction sales are split equally between the artist and Maryland Hall.

All That Art includes an exhibit in the galleries from February 24-March 7, 2014, culminating in a ticketed elegant reception and auction on March 7 from 6-9 pm.   

Last year’s All That Art was our most successful ever — with net proceeds of more than $82,000, a 29% increase over our net total last year.  As you may know, proceeds from All That Art are used to support the artists who participate in the auction; to underwrite and grow our visual arts program; and to fund our ArtReach program which supports arts access for underserved students. 

Art sales were particularly good in 2013 again due to many factors.  The event has continued to attract committed art buyers who are passionate about purchasing art and supporting Maryland Hall.  Thanks to the artists, we had a wide variety of high-quality artwork to sell.  And our talented auctioneer, Brenda Anderson, helped connect the audience to the artwork and artists, resulting in many pieces selling for over retail value.   In both auctions, judicious starting bids helped generate bidding, enabling almost every piece of artwork to sell this year.

All That Art 2014 Schedule

Friday, November 1:  Deadline:  Artists submit work for jury’s consideration.   Jury may contact artists about their work during the jury process. * (see special note) 

Tuesday, December 3:  MHCA contacts artists with jury’s decisions.

December/January:  Jury continues to consult with accepted artists as necessary about specific pieces in the auction.

Friday, February 14:  On-line catalog of works published at www.marylandhall.org.

Monday, February 17: Drop off of work, Room 208, 10 am-5 pm.

Monday, February 24- Friday, March 7:  Work is exhibited and for sale in the Chaney and Martino Galleries.

Friday, March 7:  All That Art Auctions, Exhibit and Reception, Galleries and Lower Level Community Gathering Space; 6-9 pm.

Monday, March 10:  Artists notified if any work is not sold.

Tuesday-Wednesday, March 11-12:  All unsold artwork picked up, 10 am to 5 pm.

Entry Requirements

We are seeking your highest quality work in all media including but not limited to, drawing, painting, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, mixed media and photography.  The All That Art jury will consist of Brenda Anderson, Mary Torggler, Joanie Surrette and Sigrid Trumpy.                   

For All That Art 2014, artists will participate through two processes:  invited artists and juried artists.

  1. Juried artists will come from an open selection process (outlined in this call) where all artists are invited to submit work to be considered by the All That Art jury.

      2.  Several artists will be invited separately by members of the All That Art Advisory committee to participate in the event.

Submission Guidelines

  • Artists should submit three works for the jury’s consideration by November 1.
  • Artists may submit three works for the auction to be considered by the jury; the jury will choose one work for the auction, OR;
  • If an artist would like to create a specific work to be sold at the auction or has one or more works in progress but not yet complete by the deadline, this should be noted on the submission form.  In this case, an artist may submit up to three examples of their work for the jury’s consideration.  Works submitted should be representative of style, price or medium of the works in progress.
  • Work must have been created within the past two years and not exhibited in any other setting within a 30-mile radius of Annapolis.
  • Work can be two or three-dimensional, from any media.
  • The jury will select the artists to include in the exhibition/auction by December 3.

Of Special Note: 

  • Because All That Art is primarily a fundraising event for both the artists and Maryland Hall, the jury is seeking a specific mix of work and price ranges for auction.  Therefore, a member of the jury may contact artists at any point in the selection process to view or discuss works in progress, discuss pricing or request an alternate piece for the auction.  

Exhibit/Auction Information

The decision on which art will be sold in the live or silent auction will be made upon the receipt of all actual artwork.  All work must be framed with wire (no saw tooth hangers or stationary hooks are acceptable) and received ready for installation.  Artwork should not exceed 4 feet in any direction or weigh over 40 pounds.  MHCA reserves the right to refuse a piece if it varies significantly from the submitted image and the criteria upon which it was initially accepted or if the work is improperly presented or considered unsafe.

Publicity

All artists will be listed on the event invitation; in press releases; on Maryland Hall’s web site exhibit calendar; in a web site catalog available before the event; in the printed event catalog; and in event signage.

Mailing List

MHCA is asking artists to provide a list of patrons who collect their work for inclusion in the event invitation mailing list.  Along with inviting patrons to the auction, the invitation will notify patrons that your work will be for sale and exhibited in the galleries from February 24-March 7. Use of this list is strictly limited to invitations for “All That Art” only.  Please submit a list of your patrons with your application.  

Commission and Payment

The final bid (sale price) for each artwork sold will be divided equally between the artist and MHCA.  Artists will establish suggested minimum bid and the retail value.  When establishing your minimum bid please choose an amount that you are comfortable with, given the 50/50 split with Maryland Hall.  Artists may choose to increase the amount given to MHCA if they desire.  MHCA’s goal is not to undersell any piece of art in the auction and to give full respect to your established sales record. Artists will receive the name of the purchaser and a check for their portion of the sale by April 1, 2014.

Insurance and Liability

All works are insured against physical damage or loss by Maryland Hall from receipt on February 17 through March 10, when unsold work is to be retrieved by the artist.  The insurance value is the retail or fair market value of the piece.  Slides and CDs become the property of MHCA and MHCA reserves the right to use the images of accepted works for publicity and educational purposes.  All artwork must be original, no reproductions (including giclees, commercially printed or computer generated reproductions of paintings, drawings, etc.)  Work that is submitted electronically should be available for auction; substitutions must be approved in advance by the jury.  Submission of the entry form constitutes understanding and agreement with all the conditions outlined in this prospectus.

Click here to apply on-line. 

Questions about the auction or the submission process should be directed to Kelsey Presswood,kpresswood@mdhallarts.org or 410-263-5544, ext. 25

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