Saturday, August 30, 2008
  Planet Arlington 2008!
Planet Arlington's World Playground, took place over Labor Day weekend duiring the World Music Festival and featured educational workshops that inspired people to think twice about throwing away their garbage. The annual festival focuses on issues of immigration, globalization and the environment through the lens of the arts and humanities. Many of the workshops focused on the planet's resources and how to conserve them. By reusing materials, parents and children were able to make creative art objects. Led by professional artists from Virginia, New York City and the Washignton DC area, the World Playground drew hundreds of people to Iwo Jima Memorial Grounds in Rossyln to celebrate art, music and Planet Earth.
Artist Luke Idziak and Phoenix Bikes gave a workshop on making bike decorations out of reusable materials. Visitors could ride away with their unique creations made of colorful paper and blinking lights!

Luke Idziak's Bikeman kinetic sculpture.

Puppetmaster and magician David London gave an eye-opening performance called The Adventure to the Imagi-Nation. This inspired children to make their own puppets from reusable materials.

David London performing his Imagi-Nation Magic Show

Surrounded by fruits and vegetables from the Court House Plaza Farmers’ Market, DC artist Anita Walsh reminded people to look closer at the world they live in. Her Observe Drawing Project was a relaxing mixture of detailed instruction and cozy picnic blankets. Drawing en plein aire beneath the clear blue sky, visitors were welcome to pick their produce of choice and create beautiful color pencil renderings.

Delicious treasures from the local Farmer's Market!

Kristina Bilonick held a tee-shirt screen printing workshop called D.I.Y. Wardrobe Refashioning, proving that clothes can be recycled too! D.I.Y. stands for “Do it Yourself” and this activity was as hands-on as they get! Using a handmade silk screen set up and photo quality designs, everyone had a blast applying the ink and transferring the images.

Kristina Bilonick teaches the screen printing process.
Ellipse Arts Center Education Programmer, Lisa Marie Thalhammer and Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources, Dinesh Tiwari hang screenprinted T-shirts out to dry.
Across the World Playground, visitors could try on clothes from around the world with costumer Joan Lynch and the Global Closet. Virginia artist, Greta Gonzales created unique face painting designs especially for Planet Arlington, turning children into colorful tigers, cheetahs and butterflies! This fit right in with Nai Davis’ Musical Safari, where children could learn about instruments from far off places.

Carolina Mayorga’s Stuffed Paper Animals project had parents and children making penguins, mandarins, butterflies, fish and grizzly bears. Filled with shredded paper and 100% recyclable, these cute, paper toys were a popular activity.
Carolina Mayorga's Stuffed Paper Animals tent.

Carolina Mayorga (right) selecting a paper fish for the Children's Stage decorations.

Ellipse intern Jamillah Abdullah (left) and Cultural Affairs' Darlene Robinson (right)

With so many workshops to choose from and so much music to hear, Planet Arlington’s World Playground is the highlight of summertime in Rosslyn.

See you next year!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
  Pondering those who ponder
Amidst the diversity of art currently on display at the All Arlington Salon, each work engages the viewer. Whether a serene landscape or a vivid abstraction, the works can invigorate the senses, evoke memories, or reveal a story.

Frederick Markham
Rose Garden, 2007; Oil on canvas
Alice Whealin
Pearly Water’d, 2006; Oil on canvas

A number of works in the exhibit add a twist to the contemplative nature of viewing art: they feature subjects who are lost in their thoughts. What do we think as we gaze at someone with a discernable personality, with an independent psyche? Naturally, we want to know what they are thinking and we desire to know more about the situation. Artists in the Salon bravely took on this difficult theme, sometimes providing clues and other times complicating straight-forward conclusions.

Lucia Heard not only includes a pondering figure in her painting, Elizabeth in Iceland, but she also tinges the background with a degree of mystery. Here, a graceful, white-haired woman stands as if uncertain of her surroundings.

Lucia Heard
Elizabeth in Iceland, 2007; Oil, 22” x 28”

In her artist statement, Heard remarks that she concentrates on color arrangements. The icy blue sky and weathered grey and green houses crisply contrast the bright red roofs and jacket of the woman. The lively colors and wholesome picket fence suggest that this should be an idyllic setting, but the woman’s defensive stance suggests that she has either been anxiously pacing or waiting. Heard skillfully incorporates shadows into the composition, recalling Edward Hopper’s equally enigmatic plays with light and darkness. For instance, the woman casts an ominously dark shadow onto the pastel fence. Unlike Hopper’s blank but detailed faces, Heard has obscured the woman’s face with hurried strokes of paint. The viewer is not meant to easily decipher her thoughts.

Ellen Price Egan
Lost, 2001; C print, 20” x 30”

Where Heard creates a psychological feeling of anxiety by portraying a lone woman, Ellen Price Egan relies on a crowd. Her photograph, Lost, consists of overlapping images of the city. Egan has carefully layered bright colors and a multitude of people into a composition that is beautifully frenzied. Yet, as the title indicates, these attributes are not necessarily positive. Either Egan has lost her way after a creative photographic journey in the city or her title refers to the indifferent expressions of the passersby. Regardless, she has captured the core of social isolation: a mass of people lost in their own thoughts for better or worse.

Kent O’Connor
Dog Suit, 2008; Oil on canvas, 20” x 16”

Kent O’Connor’s Dog Suit establishes a more conversational relationship with the viewer. The male subject, with a slightly furrowed brow, angular facial features, and a five-o-clock shadow meets the gaze of the viewer. If not for the spotted sweatshirt and floppy ears, one might perceive the figure to be a boxer hoping to intimidate his next opponent. Indeed, the dog suit adds a layer of meaning to his thought-process: perhaps he is more embarrassed than angry, though the balance is tenuous. Because of this tension, a viewer can sympathetically return his gaze, assured that someone else will pay the consequences for dressing him in a dog suit.

Bryanne Dade
Adam, 2006; Oil, 24” x 30”

Conversely, peering at someone who is asleep has long intrigued the voyeur in us all. Brianne Dade has painted Adam reclining on a sofa with his eyes shut, eschewing the presence of the viewer. Comparable to Heard’s painting, the well-executed contrast in colors creates a feeling of uneasiness as the maroon pillow exacerbates the eerie yellows of Adam’s face. Dade emphasizes Adam’s face and upper torso by cropping out the rest of his body. Forced into an intimate space with such a dynamically portrayed subject, one cannot help wondering what he might be dreaming. To be sure, Dade could have merely painted Adam while he had the flu. However, the intense colors and Adam’s vulnerable position suggest that Adam is experiencing a disturbing slumber. Dade has cleverly established an overall feeling of agitation.

Emma Sky Wolf
The Dreaming Seat, 2008; Ink, acrylic and digital media, 16” x 20”

For Emma Sky Wolf, a sleeping figure can appear peaceful. In The Dreaming Seat, soothing tones of grey, teal and blue suggest harmony. Furthermore, the young girl smiles in her sleep, making clear that her dreams are pleasant. Her exact location is uncertain, possibly in her own backyard or on a park bench. The painting does not need to include such details; rather, a seemingly limitless blue sky cushions the girl and encourages her daydreams.

What sense can be made of pondering others as they ponder? As we attempt to interpret the tacit elements of a painting, we begin to connect to them in unexpected ways. The All Arlington Salon includes many more paintings that incite open-ended questions. Despite the impressive number of works and their range in subject matter, size and medium, visitors can search for thematic threads that run throughout the gallery and unite the artists of Arlington.

Ellipse Arts Center is a 3,000 square foot visual arts facility managed by Arlington Cultural Affairs, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resourses. Our mission is to provide a diverse schedule of high quality programs in the visual arts, providing opportunities for visual artists, as well as developing an engaged and appreciative audience.

Location: Arlington, VA
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