Lighting up the night, Zenith Gallery’s newest show at 1429 Iris St. in D.C., Light Up Your heArt opened on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018 and will continue until March 24, 2018. The exhibit features work ranging from F. Lennox Campello’s Diego y Frida, a portrait of the couple, of charcoal and conté with embedded video and looped video images, and Frida Smoking of the same media, which are moving both literally and emotionally. Chas Colburn’s incredible techno advanced work on His and Hers, (neon and steel) laser cut neon-lit masks resembling fire-eyed deities, Lea Craigie-Marshall’s light-enhanced framed watercolors, Hot Earth and others recall fields of bright shining flowers. Margery Goldberg’s neon-accented wood sculptures; tall, light and bright; among them, Illuminated Face, Daybreak in Paradise, and my favorite, the Urban Fireplace of exotic woods, steel, and neon are inserted in her own living room fireplace. Nancy Nesvet’s C-print in a lightbox, Celestial Prism and photos of pure light, Light Heart and Sailing Away, bring to mind some outer space object in a dark sky. All emit questions: What is it and how do you make that?
We think we see aquatic creatures and shells in Alison Sigethy’s glass tubes, Chameleon Core, and Tiger Shells and Purple Pickles of glass, metal, water and LEDs, but they are not. Perhaps Eric Ehlenberger’s giant jellyfish wriggling in the front window are sharp enough to sting, but really would break first. Or would they? There Can Be No Doubt, Erwin Timmers’ tripartite panels of glass and Connie Fleres’ cocoon-like Light Pod (mica, wire, and neon) looks crystalline, especially against the sleet-slicked window. Tim Tate’s Cactus Flower and Peonies (cast glass and video) marries Dutch still life like images of flowers with new technology. Erwin Timmers’ Beyond Words, There Can Be No Doubt and Water Falling (glass, steel and LEDS) include recycled glass, reminding us of the limited supply of materials in our world and the artists’ insistence on their reuse. Connie Fleres’ neon-outlined three-dimensional architectural renderings, East View and West View envelop us in the safety of a beautiful sacred place. Festive dog lamps by Suzanne Codi, Whippet Lamp Him and Whippet Lamp Her enhances that warm fuzzy feeling.
Mary Voytek’s neon lit U.S. map, From Sea to Shining Sea works so well with glass and light. Cassie Taggart’s The Ark, of found wood, wire, clay, sheet metal and paint had people opening the front door to see the work inside. Philip Hazard’s America! (barn wood, copper, neon) and Earth, (collage, neon and wood) were only a sampling of his stupendous work. Michael Young’s Go Mama Go! Tree and Noi’s Screen, steel and neon media, brings artificial neon light to environmental forms of trees and mountains in a way not seen before. The colors embedded in the neon enhance the forms whether the green of a new sapling or the gradually cooling levels of a mountain. N might be for neon in Rocky Pinciotti’s N, but it also stands for my name, and so I claim it as another favorite. Can I have more than one? It must be for this show leaves me hard to decide on a single favorite.
Neon is hardly a new medium for Zenith to display, as Zenith has shown the tubes of light since the 70’s. This show, with its laser cuts, LEDs, lightboxes, recycled and heated glass forms presents entirely unique work and presentation of the possibilities of neon and other forms of light. So sometime during the rest of winter, in the weeks promised by Punxsutawney Phil, get thee to Zenith. Your mood meter will blink shiny red to thank you.
40th Anniversary: In the Beginning: The Rhode Island Years, 1978-1986
Margery Goldberg’s courage is apparent in the show marking her fortieth anniversary on D.C.’s art scene. 40th Anniversary; In the Beginning. The Rhode Island Years, 1978-1986, at Zenith’s downtown location at 1111 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., showcases the work of artists exhibited in her first D.C. gallery location.
Chas Colburn’s Opposites Attract, a fabricated steel, atom-like structure, with steel ribbons encircling a sphere (atom?) references this scientist-artist’s style. His Sentry of steel angle iron, colored the blue of his Opposites Attract stands guard over his other figurative and spherical work here. Beatriz Blanco’s dyed steel Displacement and Detachment play with figures in a new and interesting way. Margery Goldberg’s cherry-wood and cast resin Head in Hands leads us to sadly contemplate current events, but her mahogany and walnut United We Stand, Anthony Gormley like figures, and wood Zenith Remembers (woods with marble base), offer a solution.
Stephen Hansen, ever the jokester, offers Public Service, painted Paper Maché on wood where dark suited bureaucrats, strike the punching bag-like figure that, of course, has no legs. Perhaps subtler, but no less ironic, Hansen shows Real People, (painted Paper Maché) their easy chair supports their bodies divided by the open frame of a TV. Carol Newmyer’s Tree of Life, Duality, Roots and Wings and Pain and the Glory, all of patinaed cast bronze, takes us to great heights with their golden beauty, and optimism. Susan Klebanoff’s unique multilayered woven tapestry, reminiscent of theater scrims, present a beautifully coordinated pattern of flowers and fauna. SICA’s The Bride and the Cactus, Break Dancing and Sailor Girl are abstract sculptures with just enough depth to establish rhythm, reminding me of Calder’s stabiles.
Ellen Sinel’s paintings, Tree Meditation and Reflection (oil on canvas) bring trees’ beauty into the mix with her photo-realistic close-up views. Guenther Riess’ Reflections in a Grid #1 and Merchant’s Folly, both 3D paper constructions, with watercolor and mixed media bring architecture and photo-realism into conversation with relief sculpture in an innovative form. Ramon Santiago’s Woman and Protector, a silkscreened double portrait gets the duality across while his American Family (oil on paper) depicts what may be interpreted as three generations of women in a circle, that unending form. Robert Freeman’s Golden Necklace II, (Oil and Gold Leaf on canvas) depicts a proud African-American woman, well adorned. The mixed media Model of Old Zenith Gallery at Rhode Island Ave., N.W. punctuates the cooperative aspect of Zenith Gallery as a number of artists involved with the gallery came together to create this commemorative model. Within the Marquette are depictions of each of the artist’s work made small enough to fit, adding to the signature piece for the show
The city has changed since then, and Zenith’s art along with it, but these artists continue to produce the innovative and marvelous work that Zenith has always been known for. While the older work was great, the new work is even better. That goes for director Margery Goldberg too, who, along with the gallery and its work, just gets better and better. Go see for yourself.
Selections from The Freedom Place Collection at Congressional Bank on K St.
Celebrating Black History Month, the Freedom Place Collection, assembled and owned by DC resident, Stuart Marshall Bloch, CEO of Congressional Bank, and Board Member of the Black Student Fund and Julia Chang Bloch, President of the US-China Education Trust and former Ambassador to Nepal is presented by Zenith Gallery at Congressional Bank, curated by Zenith Director Margery Goldberg and Suzanne Alessi. This selection affords an unsurpassed opportunity to see up close works by renowned African-American artists, Robert Freeman, Alma Thomas, Richard Yarde, Benny Andrews, and Romare Bearden. Open Monday-Friday, 9-5, February 8 – March 30, 2018, this is a collection rarely displayed and not to miss.