The art galleries at the Black Rock Center for Arts in Germantown will host works from three unique artists whose passions range from icons of women’s rights, to reflecting the strength of the elderly, to rebellious tones of social and political issues.
The “Protest to Power” exhibit in the in the Kay Gallery features paintings by artist Julia Dzikiewicz. The works highlight women’s protest beginning with the suffragists who protested daily at the White House exactly 100 years ago this January.
Exploring the stories of women who have changed history through protest, from the suffragists whose daily picketing at the White House began in January 1917, to modern women advocating for human rights, Julia Dzikiewicz’s encaustic paintings often focus on the past and how it relates to the present. Iconographic images of women dominate “Protest to Power,” her solo exhibition featuring a series of figurative works created using encaustic, a mixture of pigment and beeswax, which she manipulates using a blow torch to achieve glass-like surfaces which she adorns with brightly colored elements.
Reflecting the influence of past encaustic icons from the Byzantine and pre-Renaissance periods, which often highlighted transformation brought about by suffering, Dzikiewicz’s works feature a flattened perspective, luminous surfaces, metals and jewel-like beads.
The Virginia artist began this series of paintings honoring women protestors when she moved into her studio at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Va, the former prison which jailed the suffragists following their arrest in 1917 for obstructing the sidewalk in front of the White House in Washington, DC with their banners seeking voting rights for women.
The series of paintings Dzikiewicz will display in the Kay Gallery at BlackRock Center for the Arts portray courageous women who have fought for their beliefs, including Ida B. Wells, Hillary Clinton, Wendy Davis, and Malala Yousafzai.
In the “Seeing the Unseen” exhibit, also in the Kay Gallery through February 4, Maryland artist Linda Colsh reflex both the vulnerability and strength of elderly subjects.
Drawn to the marginalized in society who are often overlooked, artist Linda Colsh depicts elderly subjects in layered figurative scenes silkscreen printed onto fabrics she alters with ink, dye, and paint then stitches into textile artworks. Observing aging residents in towns and cities around the world as they pass unnoticed through crowded streets, the artist re-imagines their stories in a series of fiber works that reflect both the vulnerability and strength of those living on the edge of society.
Having returned to the US in 2014 after living abroad for 26 years, Colsh is presenting “Seeing the Unseen,” her first solo exhibition in the region. The quilted surfaces, traditionally considered a source of warmth and comfort, are where the Maryland artist manipulates scale, repetition, texture and contrast with bold surface designs dominated by a restrained neutral palette to focus our attention on the anonymous figures representing an often invisible segment of the population. Colsh currently maintains her studio practice in the Middletown.
The “Our State of the Union” exhibit will be featured in the Terrace Gallery on the upper level of the Black Rock Center. Inspired by social and political issues, pop art painter Michael Fischerkeller uses spray paint to create compelling scenes emphasizing issues like climate change, gun violence and criminal justice reform.
With a rebellious undertone characteristic of street art, Michael Fischerkeller uses acrylic spray paint to depict compelling scenes that serve to highlight the complex and significant social, political and economic issues facing our nation. Combining imagery, Fischerkeller embeds his stark compositions with allegorical figures appropriated from historical artworks, altering their striking poses to symbolize contemporary socio-political issues which include gun violence, climate change, and criminal justice reform.
In his solo exhibition, “Our State of the Union,” the Washington, DC area artist references the January tradition where the President of the United States addresses Congress and the nation to report on the condition of the Union, emphasize areas of progress and concern, and outline a legislative agenda.
As new terms of office begin this year, Fischerkeller encourages us to critically focus on the uncomfortable truths often overlooked in our society that require the immediate attention and action by our elected officials, and to recognize that “Our State of the Union” is relevant to each of us regardless of our political affiliation.
All three art exhibitions will run from Saturday, Jan. 7 through Saturday, Feb 4 at the BlackRock Center. The center will host a Meet the Artist Reception on Saturday, Jan. 7 from 2:00 p. to 4:00 pm where all three artists will deliver brief remarks and be on hand to answer questions.
The artists Michael Fischerkeller, Julia Dzikewicz and Linda Colsh will return to BlackRock on Saturday, Feb. 4, the last day of the exhibition, to deliver an Artist Talk and Gallery Tour along with artists Julia Dzikewicz and Linda Colsh who are presenting concurrent exhibits at the nonprofit arts center. The reception and artist talk events are free and open to the public.
Top: A detailed look at artist Julia Dzikiewicz’s “Wendy and Hillary” on display at the BlackRock Center.
Next: Encaustic and mixed media, Julia Dzikiewicz’s “Wendy and Hillary 60 x60 inches.
Next: Linda Colsh’s “Twilight,” layered, stitched art quilt with surface design paint, print, dye, ink, 58 x 58 inches; (right) detail of “Twilight.”
Next: Michael Fischerkeller’s “Drought (Climate Change I)” acrylic spray paint on canvas, 48 x 36 inches, “Rising Seas (Climage Change II)” acrylic spray paint on canvas, 36 x 48 inches; and “Wildfires” (Climate Change III)” acrylic spray paint on canvas, 48 x 36 inches.
Artwork courtesy BlackRock Center for the Arts.