While remixing songs is nothing new to our ears, the visual equivalent is on display at Glen Echo Park’s “Sculpture REMIX 2017: Craft/Technology/Art” exhibit. On display through April 30, the artists’ mandate was to take existing materials from their studios—lengths of wood, photos, aluminum scraps–and tweak them in some way to create something new and intriguing.
From welded steel dress forms with armor-plated shoulders that evoke visions of steam-punk bridal gowns to a Big Bird-sized nest woven from electrical cords, scanner arms and typewriter rods, the pieces encourage viewers to think not just about the artist’s inspiration, but also how different mediums can be combined to create witty and thought-provoking art.
“People are familiar with remixing as a musical construct, but what does it mean to remix, reuse, reimagine and recycle different elements in sculpture? That’s what this show is all about,” said Meredith Forster, Education Manager of the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture.
Forster said co-presenting the show with the Washington Sculpture Group (WSG), a local nonprofit that promotes contemporary sculpture, seemed a natural fit. Some 20 WSG artists are represented in the juried show, with several artists having multiple pieces on display. “The WSG is comprised of emerging and established artists, and the work on display reflects a sophisticated and broad range of styles and approaches,” Forster said.
Visitors are immediately drawn to a reclining figure upon first entering the Popcorn Gallery, said Allison Mah, a galleries marketing assistant. With sinuous legs and hips of wood, an aluminum fish head and sheet metal wings, “Push” by artist Adam Bradley epitomizes the remixing of mediums to maximum effect.
“People see the legs and assume the head will be human, so that fish head comes as quite a surprise,” Mah said. “Kids, with their big imaginations, really appear to enjoy this piece.”
WSG artist Iris Posner, of White Oak, let her own childhood memories inspire her entry called “Coat of Arms.” Made of woodblock prints on rice paper printed with photos of her youthful visits to the Bronx Botanical Gardens, the branch-framed piece is back-lit by LED lights.
“Obviously, my family did not have a coat of arms, coming from the Bronx,” Posner said. “But like a coat of arms, the piece includes symbols of the gifts I received from my family, with musical instruments, books and tools that my father taught me to use.”
Even banana peels found a new use in “Wave Vessel,” an undulating ceramic piece by Julie Zirlin, of Friendship Heights. “The remixing was achieved by using coffee grinds and banana peels—materials you’d find in the garbage—in the firing,” Zirlin said, noting that that the unusual approach resulted in unique black and gray patterns in the surface.
Glen Echo Park visitors also collaborated in the show, joining artist Marc Robarge in creating “This Land,” an American flag image made from rubbings of surfaces such as tree bark. During the first weekend in April, some 250 visitors, ages 2 to 80, created rubbings on small squares of rice paper. Robarge applied a wash in greens and earth tones to the squares, then patched them together to form a 52-inch high, eight-foot long collage that now hangs in the Popcorn Gallery window.
“People loved the idea that they were working together to create art that reflects nature, and that the 20 seconds they spent making a leaf rubbing would become part of this art show,” Robarge said.
And bringing together nature and art lovers can only lead to good things, Forster said.
“When we draw in broader audiences through exhibitions such as this current one with the Washington Sculptors Group, it brings an even wider range of artists, and art lovers, in to experience all that the park has to offer,” she said.
“Sculpture REMIX 2017: Craft/Technology/Art” is at the Popcorn Gallery and Stone Tower Gallery in Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, through April 30. The gallery is open Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m., and by appointment. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Washington Sculptors Group will hold a Makers REMIX Panel Discussion focusing on “Post Contemporary Applications in Sculpture and Craft and Design” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 24 (which is International Sculpture Day), on the Arcade Building’s second floor. Admission is free to the exhibit and the discussion. Call 301-634-2222 or visit http://glenechopark.org/exhibitions. View this exhibit on CultureSpotMC here.