Archive for the ‘ Arlington Art Center ’ Category

Playing with Others/ Sharing is Caring/The Unknown :Interlocating the Interlocutor (the many possible titles for this blogpost)

For this residency I proposed two tandem projects – firstly I would continue exploring my “stretch/re-stretch” method of painting. The following is an example of this method. Four  separate paintings to create a single painting. This was a sort of proof of concept that I submitted.


Four Paintings, One Stretcher, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 29×18″

When I arrived to VisArts, I began making a work I am calling, Painting Paintings at Both Ends (working title). This work is still in progress. This painting is following that stretch/re-stretch method of painting.


Painting Painting at Both Ends (working title), acrylic on canvas, 60×216″

The second component I proposed for this residency was to enact this “stretch/re-stretch” method with other local painters. A participant makes a painting then un-stetches, then re-stretches into a new register, then the next participant paints as normal – rinse and repeat. I may expand this process into a mail art project in the future, but for now I am specifically interested in exploring local artists of the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. These are my local peers and my local influences. Locality is a significant component.

The first participant is Becca Kallem. I am interested in Becca’s work because I get a similar sense of a struggle. I can empathize with her paintings. They don’t seem to just occur – there is some hill to climb, or river to ford, or some inexplicable unknown to ponder. Becca’s work is also very diverse. It is observational and representational, even when falling into the category of abstracted.

Becca brought me several of her paintings to work with. This collaboration is beginning with her works, and now I need to respond. She said that some are unfinished or some are not where she wants them to be. They are paintings that might fit well into this project.


assorted acrylic and oil paintings on canvas made by Becca Kallem

This is a complex proposition. I have begun and I am already seeing a vast gulf of impossibility. If I “just make a painting,” then I think I am making something very formal. As in, it is just paint, it is just design. Becca’s paintings obviously have a context. See the following.


unfinished Becca Kallem painting, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

This pink painting has tape with the words “Greco (pink tag).” The painting has arcane appearing marks. A sort of greco shield design – the triangle. An aries curling horn. There are significant symbols present. It is a pink philosopher’s stone. There is some kind of alchemy present and I have little access. Sans understanding, how I could I possibly paint on top of this painting? So right off the bat, this project befuddles me. And I feel completely lost. Which I think is what I want with this project. Stay tuned for updates.

See more of Becca’s work at







Adam Hager at the Arlington Art Center

I recently visited Adam Hager’s Mechanical Resonance at the Arlington Art Center. Hager has taken apart mechanical objects and rebuilt them into objects resembling toys. The base materials come from functional objects like car parts, computers, clocks, a music box, and sewing machines. What is interesting here is taking parts that are used for labor and reapplying them to constructed objects seemingly used for play. 2016-05-04 15.00.47.jpg

The origins of these things are industrial, with symmetry used for specific purposes. Yet that purpose is suborned with whimsy. A kid would want to play with these. Maybe the staff has to keep kids from running off with them. But they aren’t just toys. They are in the art setting. They are toys for art. Toys for collectors. One of them sold, a pink dot (not a red dot). Will the collector play with it? What is the lineage of these objects? From industry, to toy, to art.

There is whimsy in their scale as well. This one is tiny, and under a magnifying glass.

2016-05-04 15.00.13

Hager’s keystone of the show is a car engine with hand crank. Pistons potentially pistoning. All metal and seemingly capable of going right back into a car, right back to its origin. When I visited I was lucky enough to see another object interact with the engine.

2016-05-04 15.01.01.jpg

Maybe the bucket has some more mechanical resonance with the engine.

The engine piece is called Tune. Turn the crank and the pistons pump, chiming off tuning forks. Tune the engine, tune the forks, tune the mechanical resonance from efficient to whimsy and back.

See more at