Thursday, December 27, 2007

Artist Feature 7: Double Whammy!

Mark Parascandola and Laurel Hausler

Sorry for the pause between entries, as time simply ran out these past two weeks for me to do the weekly blog. As the holiday season and 2007 draw to a close, I wanted to focus your attention on two talented local artists in our gallery. Both photographer Mark Parascondola and mixed media artist Laurel Hausler are featured in this year’s Attainable Art show, going on until December 30th. Please stop by and see the show if you haven’t done so already, and feel free to contact us about our reduced holiday hours.

One of my favorite mediums in art is digital photography, a craft that Mark Parascandola has mastered well. Featured earlier this year in NKG’s “Double Vision” photography show, Parascandola has received wide acclaim in the Washington DC area for his ability to digitally enhance images taken in a traditional manner, transforming them into eye-catching, contemporary works. His portfolio includes works from his travels to Spain, South America, Eastern Europe, the American Southwest and of course, Washington, DC. Creative travel photography is not Parascandola’s only forte, as he also works as an epidemiologist for the federal government, and has published numerous articles on public health policy. Talk about the ability to moonlight well!

As we know, there is a persistent debate about whether photography should be regarded as a legitimate art form (as much of the important work is done by a machine). Many people question what makes photography art? My best answer would be that the image (think of it as a painting) must possess some sort of aesthetic quality in order for it to be beautiful. What is it about a particular image that grabs your attention more than its counterparts? Is it the use of color? Texture? Subject matter? What gives the photo its mood, and how does it make you feel?

Despite the fact that photography is often synonymous with truth (“the camera never lies”), Parascandola’s digitally altered images seem to deliver a greater truth than what is deemed “reality.” With digital cameras rapidly replacing old-fashioned film cameras, it seems that anybody can manipulate a photograph and call it a work of art. But, what makes Parascandola stand out from the average Joe on the street with the same camera? Composition and quality. The saturated, background colors of Parascandola’s photos help balance out the sharp contrast in the foreground. (see Iglesia Salinas Gate, pigment print, 2007). His choice of subject matter, from the rustic desert churches of Almeria, Spain to the typography found on signs in Washington DC (see Lincoln Theatre, pigment print, 2007), seeks to capture the essence of the moment and make a lasting impression. Like many other great artists, Parascandola sees beauty in the mundane, reinvents truth and invites his viewers to do likewise.

For more information on Mark Parascandola:
Official website:

Local mixed-media artist Laurel Hausler is no stranger to the DC art scene. With multiple appearances in venues such as the DC Fringe Festival and Arlington Arts Center, as well as features in the Examiner and the DCist, this young, self-taught artist has taken the nation’s capital by storm. Her eclectic yet symbolic subject matter, sometimes compared to that of Frida Kahlo and Joseph Cornell, is a redeeming breath of fresh air in a [conservative], Washington DC art scene that pushes its limits by favoring representational figures and post-war abstraction. Each piece Hausler creates is like a scene out of a theatrical production.

Heavily influenced by the limits imposed in Catholic school and a general love of history, Hausler has developed her signature style by combining collage, found objects, drawing and painting. Many of her pieces move me, but the strongest of her standout declarations is perhaps the 15x14’’ piece entitled Apothecary (Leeches). This shadowbox composition depicts a scrawly, outlined drawing of a woman perched on the counter of an old pharmacy, surrounded by a background covered with pharmaceutical ads and apothecary bottles. The dominant color is a dark, crimson red curtain covering the screen, as well as white (for the dress) and blonde (for the woman’s hair) painted over plexi-glass. A tone of melancholy perpetuates the scene, which helps us recognize the painful truth of this woman’s life. Standing before this piece, one cannot help but feel stirred inside, knowing that we ought to suffer alongside this woman, feeling her anguish and eventually helping her break free.

Like many of the artists NKG represents, Laurel Hauler pours her innermost secrets into innocent-looking tableaux in order to better understand the frightening unknowns in life. No matter what she creates, Hausler always has the ability to pull her viewers into a world of brutal reality – realizing that life is far from perfect, but that confronting the ghosts from one’s past is the first step to liberation and comprehension.

A great quote to sum up the emotions evoked by both Parascandola’s and Hausler’s works is the following, by English art critic Clive Bell in his essay, Art:

“There must be some one quality without which a work of art cannot exist; possessing which, in the least degree, no work is altogether worthless. What is this quality? What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions? What quality is common to Sta. Sophia and the windows at Chartres, Mexican sculpture, a Persian bowl, Chinese carpets, Giotto's frescoes at Padua, and the masterpieces of Poussin, Piero della Francesca, and Cezanne? Only one answer seems possible - significant form. In each, lines and colors combined in a particular way, certain forms and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions.”

For more information on Laurel Hausler:
DCist Article:

Happy holidays from all of us at NKG! See you all next year!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Gallery Event Pictures!

Thanks for coming out to support our two events last weekend! Check out pictures from both the NEST Event and Holiday Open House here.

Set Name: NKG Gallery Events + Openings
Click on 'view slideshow' at the top right hand corner of the set.


Artist Feature 6: Mary Chiaramonte

In an age of technological advancement, it is difficult to remember that life can be lived without constant access to our ipod(s), computers and cell phones. The average person is bombarded daily with a million more images than those who lived during the Middle Ages. It also seems that today, many parents spoil their kids with all latest gadgets and promote little human interaction in return. Not very long ago, Mary Chiaramonte’s parents did the exact opposite.

Local artist Mary Chiaramonte was raised the old fashioned way in Harmony, WV, a remote town of no more than 100 residents in the early 1980s. Growing up, Mary and her siblings had no TV and lived off of and worked on the land. They were encouraged to entertain themselves with objects in nature, thereby turning twigs into toys. As a result, Mary was left with the workings of her imagination and observation of the world around her to produce amazing paintings and drawings.

For as long as she could remember, Mary’s interest was in the visual depiction of the human story. As a child attending a Ringling Brothers Show with her family, Mary paid more attention to the people in the audience than the performers on stage. She is the kind of person who enjoys sitting on a park bench and watching the world go by. The thing that drives her day to day is knowing about other people and the lives they lead.

Though some may consider her work to be more on the darker side (due to the artist’s choice of a melancholic color palate), Mary’s heavily lacquered paintings explore the most intimate moments of the human experience. In her unique oeuvre, she “rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep.” Mary’s paintings are personal and represent both the reactions of the persons depicted, and her own. Obvious symbolism also occurs in her paintings, such as a heart cut in two, roses and a string of dead fruit. The best part is that no matter what feelings are conveyed, Mary always leaves an air of mystery and personal interpretation in each piece created. This happens when images are cropped, she emphasizes her graphic style and certain body parts are purposely not shown.

One of my favorite works by Mary Chiaramonte is currently featured in NKG’s Third Annual Attainable Art show. Daylights (pictured above: 2007, mixed media, 20 x 16 in.) shows a female torso wearing a black dress from chest down, walking in the middle of a double-yellow lined road. This story takes place at night, and the figure is surrounded by five small, illuminating balls of light. The bottom part of the figure shines while the top morphs into the dark of the night. Given the intriguing cropping of the figure at bust level and a brilliant imagination, one can only begin to surmise the powerful story behind this painting.

Mary once said that she hopes to successfully document the lives of those she comes into contact with in her paintings as a way of doing something worthwhile in life. I think she has done just that. Check out her extraordinary paper-cuts at her official website,

Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Open House TOMORROW!

Deck the WALLS with attainable art...

Just a reminder that NKG's Holiday Open House happens tomorrow afternoon, December 1, 2007 from 4-7pm. Come celebrate the holiday season with us! The Third Annual Attainable Art Show features a variety of artwork under $1500 available for purchase, from both local and international artists. Holiday goodies and drinks will be served. See you all tomorrow!


Nevin Kelly Gallery
1517 U Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

T: 202.232.3464
F: 202.232.3465

METRO: Dupont Circle (red line) and U Street/Cardozzo (green line).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Artist Feature 5: Joan Belmar

Pictured Above: (left) Duplex and Concentric Green, 2007, mixed media on plywood, 21 x 25 in and (right) Duplex I, 2007, mixed media on plywood, 21 x 25 in

This week's Artist Feature (posted earlier than usual, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday), takes a closer look at Chilean-born, Washington DC based collage artist Joan (pronounced "zhoh-AHN") Belmar. Belmar’s work might be unfamiliar to some NKG visitors, as he does not yet have a page on our website, but his work is certainly not to be overlooked. He started out with paintings, but in recent years has moved towards abstract collage. Though one might see echoes of OP Art and minimalist qualities in his body of work, Belmar's mixed media collages are one-of-a-kind. They are a reflection of the inner workings of his spirit, and do not imitate the work of anyone else: he is his own person, with a unique voice.

Belmar places strips of colored mylar placed under the glass of a plywood frame, fashioned into curvilinear lines of various shapes and sizes; some slightly more representational than others. There are usually no more than 4 hues represented simultaneously. The compositions resemble the 3-dimensional depictions of the human body sometimes found in modern science textbooks. His use of modern materials, such as plastic, acetate, mylar and glass, creates optical illusions. Viewing these works allows one's curiosity to leap out, to question the purpose of his art and to be able to reach in and physically feel the materials in order to fully grasp the concept of each collage. There is also a deep sense of nostalgia connected to Belmar's collages that urge the viewers to take a deeper look at their own lives in light of his art. The somewhat uncomfortable, tingly sensation never dies, giving the works an air of mystery.

One current work, strongly influenced by Anish Kapoor's sculpture at the Hirshhorn of a bisected egg painted blue, tests our eyes and our ability to perceive the things around us. His constant exploration of circles (specifically with mandalas) helps us realize the importance of constantly accessing deeper into the levels consciousness. The idea reminds us that life is not perfect, and that we as humans are all in this together. Belmar creates worlds in his art where some things are clear, others translucent and others ambiguous. His interpretation is that these differences in clarity make life's journey more interesting.

Prior to moving to the United States in 1999, Belmar lived and experienced what he calls "multiple lives" in both Spain and his native Chile. His response to the events of his life are reflected in his artwork, which he describes using words such as "alienation" and "disconnectedness". Through his daring concentric collages, Belmar succeeds not only in examining critical social structures, but in reflecting the psychology of those who struggle within them, including, himself. His work reads like an autobiography, making himself completely vulnerable to the masses and allowing us to respond in light of our own life experiences. This is what the circle of life is all about.

Three of Joan Belmar's works (including the two pictured in this entry) will be on display AND for sale at our Third Annual Attainable Art show. Please join us for our open house on December 1, 2007 from 4-7pm. Till next week, I hope you ALL have a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Artist Feature 4: Sondra Arkin

Pictured Above: Orange Tide, triptych, 2006, encaustic on dibond, each panel 32 x 32 in.

For over 25 years, Sondra Arkin has transformed whatever space was available to her at that given point in time (spare bedroom, dining room or basement) into a haven for creative expression. Although art-making was always in her blood throughout the course of her life, it wasn't until 2001 that Sondra took a risk and quit her day job in marketing to pursue art full-time. This huge leap of faith resulted in a myriad of awards, features in newspapers such as The Washington Post, participation in both group/solo shows all over the mid-Atlantic region and most recently, working as a project curator on behalf of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities on the new City Hall Art Collection @t the John A. Wilson Building downtown. Sondra's colorful, abstract, mixed media canvases, which rival those of Mark Rothko, and imaginative box-construction works have been widely received by local and national audiences alike. She is also a frequent exhibitor at our gallery and will be featured in the Third Annual Attainable Art Show, opening November 24th.

What strikes me the most about Sondra Arkin's work is her ability to create art that is both purposeful and powerful. No matter the size, material used or color combinations (only warm or cool colors, a combination of the two, a more monochromatic palate), Sondra's work never ceases to create a lasting impression for all who come into contact with it. It is not abstract for the sake of being non-representational, but abstract to evoke every little emotion that is hiding behind our imperfect, human façade. There is a distinct type of [positive] energy in her work that forces the viewer to pause, observe and think beyond what is physically represented on the canvas. Furthermore, Sondra's free style of painting caters to just about anyone: the hip, young art school student to children learning their colors for the first time, spiritual soul-seekers and even to those in the professional world who value high aesthetics.

In recent years, Sondra Arkin's unique
encaustic (otherwise known as "hot wax painting", which uses heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added -- dates back to 100-300 AD) technique has led the artist to break free from the picture plane approach and make paintings that take on a more sculptural feel. Now, her compositions are not only conceptual and vibrant, but also boast a soft, playfulness of colors that echoes a dichotomy of the combination of diverse materials. She also extends her experimentation of focusing simply on individual work with the inclusion of diptypchs, triptypchs and polytptychs, thereby proding the viewers to look at these pieces as a whole and enhance the conversations further.

Those who attended the Color: Field Tests show back in April/May of this year may remember Sondra's involvement to help promote the citywide Color Field Remix -- a movement from the 1960s that emerged after Abstract Expressionism and is widely characterized by abstract canvases painted with large areas of solid colors. Her entire oeuvre, be it a mixed media collage/box of found objects or a spiritual landscape of vibrant layers of warm colors, has the power to communicate a positive message to the masses: that life, as we know it, is comprised of layers, both good and bad. We as humans will experience both highs and lows in this journey called life, but these feelings are necessary as we stretch, evolve and grow.

Ultimately, Sondra hopes that what surfaces out of these layers of influence is something of value and beauty. By encouraging her viewers to take an introspective approach while confronted with her artwork, Sondra desires that a tangible layer will then be added to our respective lives, which will hopefully enrich it all the more.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sneak Peek!

Are you ready for the crazy season of holiday shopping... errr, ummm, I mean.... gallery hopping? How about some: Jingle Bell Rock? Well, look no further as NKG is here to assist you with your never-ending list of gifts to buy this holiday season. Opening November 24, 2007... NKG welcomes the Third Annual Attainable Art Show: Works Under $1500. Just in time for the holidays, works by various artists such as Sondra Arkin, Lukasz Huculak, Mark Parascandola, Joan Belmar, Mary Chiaramonte, Ellyn Weiss and Ming Yi Sung Zaleski (and many more!) will be exhibited and sold. Finally, affordable art that make the PERFECT holiday gifts.

Please join us:
Holiday Open House
| Saturday December 1st | 4 to 7pm

More details to come... so stay tuned!

Artist Feature 3: Michal Zaborowski


Michal Zaborowski's H2O show closes this Sunday, November 11th! That means you still have time to come down and see it. We are open until 8pm both tomorrow and closing day, so please stop in and peruse if you haven't already done so (or, if you want to come again). This show was definitely a crowd-pleaser, on many levels. Thank you for your continued support.


Since the Zaborowski show is drawing to a close, I thought it would be interesting to open the mic. up to our visitors and share what their various instinctive responses to the exhibition were. These responses were recorded during the course of this exhibition, and a diverse demographic of age and gender was attempted. As suspected, some constructive criticism was given despite the popularity of Zaborowski's works, but all in all, people felt that he is an amazing figure painter and definitely a post-modern Impressionist! Let's see what our fellow Washingtonians had to say:

[ N O T E :: responses were paraphrased for this blog entry]

"Seeing representative painting in this gallery is SO refreshing. The last few years, all NKG had were abstract artists - which I love - but not as much as the old stuff. It reminds me that there is good contemporary art out there."
Female, Local Neighbor, 60s

"I identify with the girl wearing the turquoise earring. She casually dries herself after a bath, with no shame of her nudity at all. It's better than Pierre Bonnard's figures that are so confusing and the colors kind of get lost when mixed together. At least this one is well-defined. I think this is a good reminder for us Americans who are too paranoid about our physical imperfections to even consider such a thing. Women of all shapes and sizes are gorgeous, and this painting echoes that very well."
Female, Washington DC resident, 40s

"These women are so well-dressed, even the woman delivering the water. What is it about our modern American culture that makes people dress so sloppy? There is definitely a European quality in these works - that you never find in America. It's absolutely delightful."
Male, Local Neighbor, 70s

"This show is not so good; actually, its quite boring. I mean, Zaborowski is a great painter, but I think these paintings are too academic. They remind me of the figures we had to copy during those gruesome years in art school. These paintings look like figures painted to perfection. I would like to see him go outside of his comfort zone and do something more abstract. His strongest painting, however, is Fishermen."
Bulgarian Artist, Female, Washington DC resident, 30s

"I can't stand the lack of a good and defined background in these works. It's like they are purposely mushed all together. He needs to make it more 3-dimensional. I preferred the work/background Zaborowski had in his 'Before and After the Dinner Party' exhibition."
Couple, Washington DC residents, 50s


Please feel free to add your own responses to these various comments given by our fellow visitors. Join me next week for proper Artist Feature on one of NKG's favorite artists. Buon weekend!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Artist Feature 2: Michal Zaborowski

Welcome back! Join us this week as we look at yet another one of Zaborowski's well-loved pieces, Morning Fishing, currently on view through Nov. 11th in our H20 exhibition. Please stop by if you haven't already done so. As always, comments are welcome and greatly appreciated.

Morning Fishing, Oil on Canvas, 36'' x 63'', 2007


"Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light."

-- Jean Giraudoux

This painting resembles a [candid] photograph that might have been taken looking down from the docks, right before the break of dawn. It boasts a simplified, naturalistic color palate and an overall, flat and asymmetrical composition. A boy, no older than the age of 13, stands barefoot on the edge of his boat and peers down into the cool, crystalline waters - looking for the first signs of the day's catch.
The outside temperature is without a doubt warm, as indicated by the boy's attire. In one hand, he holds an empty glass jar of what appears to be bait. A fishing line is firmly grasped by his other hand, prepared for anything that might come his way. The look on his face is a quizzical one, as there is no sign of life in the waters at all. The positioning of his foot, the left one further on the edge than the right, indicates that something is about to happen, perhaps a foreshadowing of events to come?

Zaborowski's subdued palate and simplistic composition invites us to take a deeper look at this painting, rather than skimming it over as yet another "pretty picture" that sells for more than the normal asking price of works NKG offers. Although the subject matter is safe and it is obvious that the artist is classically trained (and excelled in this training), it is all too easy to miss the air of mystery that lingers in every one of his paintings. Unlike some of his other works, water is ever present and dominates a large portion of the canvas. The overall composition is cropped, and one can only surmise who/what might have been in the two boats on the upper right-hand side. The shadows are strong, and the positioning of the boy is also very alluring. What could his next action possibly be? To keep peering over the still, early morning waters, to take the plunge and jump into his catches' terrain OR possibly, (as the quote above suggests) to let the sadness that is weighing him down dissipate into the first breath of morning...

Whatever the case may be, it is evident that Zaborowski has once again excelled in the rendering of a simple subject which, in turn, can also be sublimely beautiful. In a world where we are bombarded by images thanks to the digital revolution, it is comforting to have a painting such as Morning Fishing remind us of the simple things in life; perhaps, even rejoice in the mystery of living as mortal beings!
As French Symbolist painter Émile Bernard so vividly puts it:

“Everything that is superfluous in a spectacle is covering it with reality and occupying our eyes instead of our mind. You have to simplify the spectacle in order to make some sense of it. You have, in a way, to draw its plan.”

Less is indeed, exceedingly MORE.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Michal Zaborowski's front cover painting, After the Race [oil on canvas, 59''x32'', 2007] has been sold! Congratulations to the lucky buyers! But don't worry, there are still 11 Zaborowski paintings left to be sold from now until the end of the show. Spread the word...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Artist Feature 1: Michal Zaborowski

Welcome to the Artist Feature section of the Nevin Kelly Gallery blog. Join me every week as I muse on one of our gallery's artists (either Polish or local/emerging), introducing their work(s) to this blog's dedicated readers here in Washington DC and beyond. Should you have any feedback, please leave a comment under the specific entry and I will get definitely get back to you. Please note that from now until November 11th, the closing date of the H20 exhibition, I will be blogging solely about Zaborowski's various paintings.

Glass of Water, Oil on Canvas, 55'' x 32'', 2007

There is a lot that can be said about the presence of water in Zaborowski's romantic paintings that were selected for this exhibition. Sometimes it's subtle, other times overwhelming. In Glass of Water, Zaborowski's rendering of the human figure dominates the canvas so much that the presence of water, found in the cocktail glass and tightly grasped by the woman's right hand, is almost camouflaged into the soft, gray background. Instead, the focus is found on the woman's face, which seems to be the only element that is properly proportioned compared to the rest of the body. Her eyes stare out into space and meet yours if you stand at an angle, to the right of the painting.

Standing in the presence of this woman makes you wonder who she is, where she comes from and what she is currently engaged in at this very moment. Pictured from a sideways profile, with her legs propped up on a wooden stool, sitting in what appears to be a traditional armchair, one can surmise one of many things. Perhaps she just returned from an evening out on the town (cocktail party, dancing under the moonlight, romantic dinner?), evident by the elegant blue and white dress hanging off her body and the black stiletto pumps dangling off her feet. There is a garment of some sort draped on the back of the chaise, perhaps a quilted, fancy overcoat that provided warmth to her exhausted, far from perfect body on the way home. Her left arm is allowing her to stretch a bit while glancing to the other side of the room. She seems to be awaiting the arrival of someone or something - but who? The darker, square-like shade of muddy gray oil paint lends no blatant clue to this mystery: for all we know, she could be expecting her lover or simply the her maid to freshen her drink. Most importantly, she hides nothing.

Like Titan's Venus of Urbino, I believe Glass of Water was painted to exude the purposeful, sensual beauty of the female figure (but not in a provocative way). There is a blatant sense of honesty that is rendered in his painting and a simple narrative that is to be told. No matter where our curious imaginations may take us, it might be worth considering this woman as the "reclining nude" of the 21st century - who does not have perfect bodily proportions yet expects viewers to accept her as she is. She has no shame, and shows her fair yet strong legs off proudly. And as for the glass of water she is clutching in her right hand? It could serve as her weapon of defense for anyone who dares to mess with her honest, beautiful self.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet NKG's New Employee

Meet our new Gallery Assistant Laura Kuah! Laura has her Master’s in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. She spent eight months studying and working abroad in London and Milan. Laura has a strong interest in contemporary art that creates a new conversation, seeks to think outside the box, and looks to the past for inspiration. We are thrilled to have Laura as a new addition to our team. Please stop by sometime and meet her!

Laura in front of Michal Zaborowski’s “Turkish Carpet”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Michal Zaborowski "H2O" Opens

Thursday evening the gallery welcomed Michal Zaborowski from Poland for the opening of his exhibition "H2O". The artist arrived weary from his travels on Wednesday but was ready to greet the many guests who attended the event. Michal's work was met with enthusiasm by the crowd which included many from the Polish community. Michal Zaborowski, “H2O” will be on view through November 4, 2007.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Opening October 11

Polish painter Michal Zaborowski* will travel to Washington from his home in Warsaw, Poland to attend the opening of his solo exhibition of new works at the gallery. The reception will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 6 until 9 p.m. The exhibition is called "H20" and features paintings that depict human interaction with water.

Zaborowski's romantic impressionistic style has made him a gallery favorite. See images of select works on our website:, and please stop by Thursday evening to meet the artist in person. The show will run through November 4, 2007.

*pronounced MEE-how zah-bo-ROFE-ski

Above: Swimming Pool, 2007, oil on canvas, 32" x 59"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Peer Pressure Reviewed

Thanks to Lynne Venart for her intelligent review of the Peer Pressure exhibition on DCist today. The show is up through October 7. Above is an image of Pascual Sisto's 2 channel installation "No Strings Attached." Below is an image of one of Carrie Mallory's Untitled chromira prints. Read the review here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Peer Pressure Opens

Congratulations to local artist Thom Flynn on his curatorial debut here at the gallery (and his inclusion in the A.U. alumni show at Katzen Arts Center last evening). Thom's show, featuring 4 of the the young artists he admires most, opened last night to an enthusiastic audience. "Peer Pressure" exhibits works by DC artists Carrie Mallory and Baby Martinez (a 2007 Sondheim Prize finalist) and by L.A. artists Sue Huang and Pascual Sisto, both graduates of UCLA's Media Arts program. One of Sisto's works consists of video loops showing a plastic garden chair being batted around by unseen forces. Mallory, Martinez and Huang each manipulated the environment around them for brief moments of special charm that survive only in the photograph record made available for the exhibit.

"Peer Pressure" will be on view through October 7th.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Last Chance for "Murmur"; "Peer Pressure" Opens 9/8

Mary Chiaramonte's "Murmur" series has been very well received. The show ends this Sunday, Sept. 2. Local artist Thom Flynn curates "Peer Pressure," a group show of video, photography and conceptual art by DC artists Baby Martinez and Carrie Mallory and LA artists Pascual Sisto and Sue Huang. The show opens with a reception on Saturday, September 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. It ends October 7. Email invitations going out soon. Please stop by to see these two shows.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

All Eyes on Mary Chiaramonte’s “Murmur” Series

We are getting a great response to Mary Chiaramonte’s “Murmur” series and wanted to share some of the press with you from the Examiner and

Thank you to Robin Tierney for highlighting the exhibition in Thursday’s Examiner and to Chris Klimek for his thoughtful article in the Art Life section of the Examiner’s Weekend edition.

And to Julia Beizer of who included the show in the Going Out Gurus blog.

The exhibition will be on view August 1- September 2, 2007.
Opening Reception Thursday, August 9 from 6 until 8 pm

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Recent Work by Laurel Hausler

Another talented artist featured in the March “Women’s Work” exhibition, Laurel Hausler, brought some of her recent haunting and mysterious works to share with us that we now have on display in the gallery. In addition to a few of her paintings, we have two lithographs and four mixed media constructions which incorporate found objects and handmade dolls contained in wooden crates.

Top: Laurel Hausler, Blue Bottle Box, 2007, mixed media (found objects/handmade dolls), 12" x 15"
Bottom: Laurel Hausler, The Pilings, 2007, painted lithograph, 16" x 19"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mary Chiaramonte "Murmur" Series Opens August 1

Show runs August 1 – September 2, 2007.
Opening Reception Thursday, August 9 from 6 until 8 pm.

Local painter, Mary Chiaramonte, will unveil a new series of paintings called “Murmur” at the Nevin Kelly Gallery. The show will run from August 1 through September 2. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Thursday, August 9, from 6 until 8 o ‘clock p.m. Mary participated in the gallery’s “Women’s Work” exhibition earlier this year.

The artist explains the series this way: “I wanted to create a series that worked as a narrative as one progressed around the room. This past February, I learned that I would need to have surgery. The idea terrified me. I saw an immediate image of a theatrical stage with a wooden cutout of a dark cloud moving across the stage from right to left. As it reached the center, a bolt of lightning came down from the cloud, cymbals crashed, and the cloud retreated stage left. The vision made me realize that we all have things we must do but don't want to do. With perseverance, or luck, or grace, or some other way out, we can get past the things that hold us back or keep us down.”

“Murmur” shows the struggle to “overcome life’s difficulties and limitations using the image of individual attempts to escape from a box.” Each painting tells a different story. In the final painting, the box is empty: the individual has broken free. The title “Murmur” refers to the faint remnant one hears a moment in time after the original thunderclap.

above left: Mary Chiaramonte, “Nightshade”, 2007, mixed media on canvas, 22" x 17.5"
right: Mary Chiaramonte, “The Balance of the Good and the Bad”, 2007, mixed media on canvas, 22" x 17.5"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Photo Op

Gallery friend Lindsay Coates looked so perfect next to the work of Wesley Wheeler and Gretchen Feldman that we had to take a picture! To the left is Wesley Wheeler’s “Blondes 2” and on the right hangs Gretchen Feldman’s mixed media on paper piece. The gallery is featuring a variety of work this summer by local, national, and Polish artists.

Left: Wesley Wheeler, “Blondes 2”, 2006, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches
Right: Gretchen Feldman, “Untitled 8”, 2004, mixed media on paper, 29 x 37 inches (framed)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Art in Heat

This past Saturday, I attended the opening of a very fun exhibition at the Warehouse Gallery Complex, 1021 7th Street, NW, in Washington. "Art in Heat," curated by Washington artist Scott G. Brooks, showases the work of 18 artists that the show's website describes as "the best of DC's Outsider, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealist Artists." This show is not for everybody. But if your tastes and sense of humor are just a little twisted, you might enjoy it a lot. The show takes a look at the dark side of life, examining (often with great humor) subjects such as loneliness, sexual perversion, death, sadism, fear, and a general sense of the macabre.

There are very impressive (albeit disturbing) monumental works by Scott G. Brooks, Margaret Dowell and Ben Tolman. Other artists with a strong showings include Laurel Hausler (who participated in our Women's Work exhibition earlier this year), her husband and studio-mate John Lancaster, and newcomer Emily Greene Liddle, whose sadistic treatment of luscious fruits is both funny and oddly unsettling. Take in the associated events, such as live burlesque drawing classes and live music.

Top left: Laurel Hausler "Weeds." Lower right: Emily Greene Liddle "Pincushion"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The peripatetic Julia Morelli returns to the gallery today to work part time for the rest of the summer. Our itinerant Deputy Director left in early May to spend time with her family in Maine and then travelled to Vencie for the Biennale and then elsewhere in Europe. I'll let Julia describe her esperiences in a separate blog. For now, please join us in welcoming Julia back (and enouraging her to stay!).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Joan Belmar "Color Transparencies" Extended Until June 24th

Due to popular demand and our own personal pleasure in having the work up in the gallery, we are extending Joan Belmar’s Color Transparencies show for another week.

Mysterious compositions of undulating organic forms from afar, when studied up close Belmar’s sculptural wall pieces reveal strips of mylar shaped into circular and curvilinear forms blanketed in sheets of frosted acetate along with found objects including glass, metal hooks, bits of plastic, and other remnants.

Joan Belmar Color Transparencies will be up through Sunday, June 24th. Also in the gallery, Ellyn Weiss Time of War on display through June 30th. Check out this Thursday’s Express WeekendPass section which highlight’s Ellyn’s work.

Above: Joan Belmar, Toy Box (Green), 2007, mixed media on plywood with mylar, acrylic, acetate, and plastic, 25 x 21 inches.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Meet Our Summer Intern

Please meet our summer intern Amanda Bowes. Amanda is a rising junior at Simmons College in Boston and is majoring in Arts Administration. She enthusiastically jumped in right away even before she officially started by helping us hang Ellyn Weiss’s Time of War show.

Amanda will be helping out in the gallery through August, and Ellyn Weiss Time of War will be on view until June 30th.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Escape the Heat and Enjoy Art!

Joan Belmar and Ellyn Weiss just sent us new images of their work currently on view in the gallery. Please come by and enjoy the work in person. Belmar’s mixed media constructions of mylar, acetate, acrylic, and found objects are mesmerizing. As “mediations on the pain of war,” Weiss’s new series of monoprints are emotive while at the same time hauntingly beautiful.

Joan Belmar’s Color Transparencies will be on display until June 17th and Ellyn Weiss’s Time of War will be up until June 30th.

Above Top: Joan Belmar, Toy Box (Light Blue), mixed media on plywood, 2007, 25" x 21"
Above Bottom: Joan Belmar, The Telegraph, mixed media on canvas, 2007, 13" x 17"

Above Top: Ellyn Weiss, Not My Son 2, monoprint with drypoint and chine colle, 2006, 14" x 14"
Above Bottom: Ellyn Weiss, Take Me, monotype, 2006, 14" x 14"

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Time of War Opens Tonight

Ellyn Weiss's new series of monoprints and monotypes opens tonight, with a reception at the gallery from 5 until 8 p.m. These prints were prepared last summer in Provincetown on a press once owned by Robert Motherwell. How cool is that? The prints are meditations on the horrors of war, yet they are quite beautiful. The show, called "Time of War," runs until June 30.

Joan Belmar's "Color Transparencies" is also on display until June 17.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ellyn Weiss "Time of War" Series Opens June 2

We are pleased to announce that Ellyn Weiss, whose Circular Reasoning exhibit last fall was very well received, will display a new series of prints that she made last summer in Provincetown.

The series, entitled Time of War, features 14" x 14" monoprints that Ellyn created at the Fine Arts Work Center in P-town on a press that was once used by Robert Motherwell.

Ellyn describes them as "meditations on the pain of war, as simple and universal as I can make them - my effort to convey feeling directly witha minimum of complexity.

Regardless of one's views about the justness of the current wars, or of war in general, the prints are poignant reminders that war is misery for those who are caught in the middle of it--soldier and civilian alike

We will host an opening reception for this new exhibition (which will be displayed in the rear gallery--Joan Belmar's works occupy the front gallery) on Saturday, June 2, from 5:00 p.m until 8:00 p.m. Ellyn will be here to answer questions. Please join us to celebrate with Ellyn one last time before she returns to the Cape for the rest of the summer.

There is also time to catch Ellyn's show at Touchstone, which closes June 3.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Enthusiasm is Transparent for "Color Transparencies"

Joan Belmar's "Color Transparancies" opened on Thursday evening, May 24, to an enthusiastic audience. Guests were very taken by Belmar's dimensional compositions of Mylar, acetate, pigment and found objects.

At left is "Compression," the largest work in the exhibit (47"x 38").

The artist's use of circular and curvilinear shapes in his compositions gives them a meditative feeling that invites individual intepretation. Belmar gives the pieces ambiguous titles so as not to hinder interpretation. The circles appear to some like bubbles, or yantras or tissue cells under the microscope.

See the detail from "Crash" below, right, as an example of this. The effect can seem exuberant, solemn and even sublime. This piece is from the artist's "artifacts" series. The main element, appearing in the lower center of the piece, is a flattened side view mirror from a car that is
missing most of its glass. What remains of it looks like little bits of sapphire still imbedded in the rusted ore of the mirror's casing.

See Robin Tierney's very nicely written reviews of the show in both the Thursday and weekend editions of the Examiner (even the layout of the Weekend arts page is terrific--its surprising how many pages covering artistic events are so unaesthetic). Many thanks to Robin and the Examiner staff for their coverage of local art events.

Thanks also to other stalwart supporters of the local arts scene, including the Current Newspapers, the Washington Blade, and the Washington Post Express, as well as veteran DC art guru Lenny Campello and his electronic Mid Atlantic Art News and noted local artist/blogger Anne Marchand and her Painterly Visions blog. We are sorry not to be able to provide links to the Current, the Blade or the Express (which we looked at in hard copy), but we applaud their efforts to expand the coverage of gallery happenings in Washington, DC and surrounds (and always encourage the other print media to do the same--can they ever do enough??)

For those who missed the party, a few shots follow (Joan Belmar is in the center of the first photo below):

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Joan Belmar Opens Exhibition

Chilean-born local artist Joan Belmar opens his exhibition "Color Transparencies" with a reception at the gallery tomorrow night (Thursday, May 24) from 6 until 9 p.m. Belmar creates sculptural paintings out of strips of painted Mylar, which he shapes into circles or curved lines and combines with other objects on a base of wood or paper. He then overlays the composition with frosted acetate, on which he has drawn and cut out shapes. Where the acetate has been removed, the shapes beneath show clearly. Where the acetate remains, the shapes appear as if through a fog. The compositions exist in multiple layers: on top of, within, and beneath the acetate layer. Pictured at left is "Toy Box (Ochre)," one of 5 pieces in Joan's new Toy Box series. The piece measures 25" x 21" framed.

Color Transparencies will run thr0ugh June 17 in the front room (and part of the back room) of the gallery. Joan will be joined by Ellyn Weiss, who will show her new series of prints, "Time of War," in the back room from June 1 until June 30. More on Ellyn's series later.

Please join Joan and us for the opening reception tomorrow. If you are unable to make the opening, please don't miss the show. Color Transparencies is a true delight to behold, representing some of this artist's best works to date.

Joan Belmar received his degree in graphic design at the Catholic University of Chile. He moved to Spain at the age of 24 and to the U.S. four years later. In 2003 he was granted permanent residency status on the basis of extraordinary artistic merit.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Two Don't-Miss Events this Weekend

Mid-City Artists Open Studios

The very popular semi-annual Mid-City Artists open studios will take place this weekend, giving residents and visitors in the Dupont/Logan/Mid-City/U Street areas a chance to visit more than 20 local artists in their studios. The last event attracted thousands of visitors to the neighborhood. A map of the studios and more information about the event can be found on the Mid-City Artists website. Maps are also available at the gallery. If you missed the recent Sondra N. Arkin solo exhibition at the gallery, you will have a second chance to see some of the works from that show in her studio on Sunday.

Last Weekend for Artomatic

This weekend also marks the end of a very successful Artomatic festival. The (roughly) biennial extravaganza is hosted this time around byVornado/Charles E. Smith, which has made 90,000 square feet of space available on the 6th and 8th floors of its building at 2121 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The show exhibits art by some 600 artists who took space on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a broad range of art from the not-so-good (or worse) to the truly outstanding. See Washington Post art critic Michael O'Sullivan's review, among many posted on the Artomatic website. O'Sullivan likens the Artomatic visit to a treasure hunt. A fair analogy. The site is Metro accessible (a few blocks from the Crystal City station) and free of charge (although donations are welcome and very much appreciated). Artomatic received considerable support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Crystal City BID, the Warehouse Theater, Gallery and Cafe, the Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and Hats off to all of the sponsors.

Look for works by gallery artists Sondra N. Arkin, Ellyn Weiss and Ming Yi Zaleski. There are terrific contributions by Tim Tate, Laurel Lukaszewski and many other talented local artists. I am hoping to post my top 10 list soon

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last Day to See Sondra N. Arkin: Color Field Tests

Today is the final day in the gallery for Sondra N. Arkin's Color: Field Tests show. The artist will be in the gallery until 6:00 today.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Alexandra Silverthorne's Review of Color: Field Tests

Thanks to Alexandra Silverthorne for her brief review of Sondra N. Arkin's Color: Field Tests exhibition currently up in the gallery. Read it here.

Sondra N. Arkin Artist Talk Today 2-4 PM

ARTIST TALK Sunday, May 6, 2-4 pm

Sondra N. Arkin | Color: Field Tests
April 18 - May 13, 2007

We've gotten a fantastic response to the work and there have been lots of questions. Sondra will be here in the gallery to answer all your questions and tell you all about her work this afternoon. See you there!

Nevin Kelly Gallery, 1517 U St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Can you do my job?

As of May 15 I will be on a six week vacation visiting family in Maine, checking out Documenta in Germany and the Biennale in Venice. I'll be back in DC on June 25 (and staying in the home of the lovely and talented Ellyn Weiss) but will be cutting my hours down to part time for the rest of the summer. We're currently searching for my eventual replacement. So let me know if you think you can do my job!

Gallery assistant wanted. P/T or F/T. prior gallery experience preferred. Good writing, communication and computer skills a must. Salary negotiable depending on experience.
Contact Nevin Kelly at:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sondra N. Arkin Opens to Rave Reviews

Wednesday's preview and Thursday's opening of Sondra Arkin's new solo exhibition at the Nevin Kelly Gallery were well attended with admiring guests. The show, Color: Field Tests, which is part of the ColorField remix events throughout the Washington, DC area over the next several months, includes encaustic and box construction works in the Color Field tradition. Many of the works are set against background wall colors that the artist personally selected (and installed, with the help of fellow artists Mary Beth Ramsey, Joan Belmar, and yours truly) to show the impact of art on its environment and of the environment on each work of art. Visitors have been mesmerized by the exquisite texture and translucency of Arkin's encaustic pieces and by her imaginitive constructions using wooden boxes, copper leaf, copper wire, hemp string and encaustic-dipped tabs of paper (a nod to her contributions to the Poetic License show at the gallery with Ramsey last summer). See local artist and blogger Anne Marchand's review (thanks, Anne). For lovers of encaustic, Color Field work and/or Arkin (or, like me, of all of the above), this show is a must-see. Plan to come for the artist's talk on May 6 from 2-4.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sondra N. Arkin / Color: Field Tests Opening Reception TONIGHT 6-9 PM

Please join us tonight, Thursday, 6-9 pm for the opening reception for Sondra N. Arkin's solo exhibition Color: Field Tests. Here are some shots of the installation.

Sondra Arkin, Mary Beth Ramsey and May/June gallery exhibitor Joan Belmar working on the color installation Monday

Joan and Mary Beth hard at work

Unified Field Theory: Orange on Blue

Unified Field Theory: Blue on Orange and me putting out chocolates at the preview last night.