Last year Art F City Blogger Paddy Johnson wrote that she was surprised that more Baltimore galleries didn’t participate in the (e)merge art fair, in her post about the “Washington-Baltimore Divide.” However, she failed to notice the relatively high number of independently exhibiting Baltimore artists at the fair. This year, there are two Baltimore commercial art galleries participating – Goya and Grimaldis – and this sounds like a small amount, but not when you consider the scarcity of actual commercial galleries in Baltimore. In addition, there are two artist-run projects: sophiajacob, an artist-run gallery, and Print/Collect, a print folio project created by Jennifer Coster that features eight original prints by Baltimore artists.
There are several Baltimore artists who will be exhibiting with DC Galleries and eight exhibiting in the independent artist areas, including Benjamin Andrew, Catherine Borg, Nancy Daly, Dave Eassa, Jihyun Hong, Magnolia Laurie, Nick Primo, and Nara Park, who just recently relocated to NYC. Galleries who pay to participate in (e)merge will hang work in hotel rooms, while independent artists, who participate for free, will exhibit in a variety of weird hotel spots from the parking garage to the fitness center. The official word is that these non-traditional environments promote experimentation and creative problem solving – it will be interesting to see who pulls it off.
If you are planning to trek to DC this weekend for the third annual (e)merge art fair, make sure to keep a list of Baltimore based art handy. While you peruse the international talent, try not to miss any of this great, home-grown work. Here are more details on much of the Balto-centric work you might see.
Goya Contemporary. Gallery director Amy Raehse will be hanging works by Sally Egbert, David Brown, and Jo Smail. (They also may have works available by Lillian B. Hoover, but perhaps not, because each gallery is only permitted to hang works by only three artists.)
When asked why they participate, since their gallery does not largely feature emerging artists, Raehse cites the importance of the fair, saying, “In it’s third year, (e)merge’s polite, boutique-size fair has grown in programing as well as in spirited collectors. Though there is a long history of art fairs in hotels, (e)merge’s focus- mainly, emerging talent— seems appropriate for the venue. (E)merge highlights how the borders between disciplines have become increasingly permeable, evidenced by the amount of performative works available to attendees.”
Grimaldis Gallery. Costas Grimaldis and his team will be exhibiting works by Hidenori Ishii and Christopher Saah.
sophiajacob. sophiajacob is pleased to present new works by Zoë Clark, Caitlin Cunningham, and Chris LaVoie. This temporary, off-site exhibition will take place in the parking garage of the Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington D.C.
Print/collect . The affordable print folio of eight Baltimore artists produced by Jennifer Coster should get some great exposure at the fair. According to Coster, “Jamie and Leigh invited the Print/Collect project to participate in the artist-run platform of the fair, and we thought it would be great opportunity to bring the work in front of a new and diverse audience.”
The Print/Collect Folio (eight 16×20″ prints for $200) and catalog will be available to purchase, as well as original works from each of the artists from the project. In addition to the showing the prints, Print/Collect will showcase a range of works from each of the eight participating artists. The exhibition will allow visitors to walk around each artist’s section to get acquainted with their practice, and it will provide a context to the prints.
Catherine Borg admits she was attracting to participating in (e)merge for several reasons: “I recently moved to the area and thought (e)merge would be a good way to introduce myself and work in this region; the fact that it includes both artist and gallery participants is appealing; and finally, the body of work that I am presenting seemed especially apt within the context of the fair’s hotel setting.”
Borg will be showing a selection of 12-15 color photographs from her Scouted series from the Lapidus Restaurant. These depict erased and altered hotel/motel settings that were considered as locations for the film Casino—essentially stand-in locations for a fictional narrative based on actual events. Borg looks forward to “enjoying the fair — meeting lots of people, seeing as much of the other artwork and performances as possible, and talking about art for days!”
Dave Eassa, a recent MICA graduate, says, “I wanted to participate in this fair for the learning experience of it, it is definitely going to be different from any other type of shows I’ve done in Baltimore or elsewhere. The setting of an art fair in Washington D.C. seems way weird compared to the artist run spaces that I’ve shown with in Baltimore. Art fairs seem so inaccessible to most artists, but (e)merge seems like it does a good job of breaking down the barrier. From participating I am hoping to meet some new friends and figure out what an art fair can be all about.”
In his space in the parking garage, Eassa will exhibit two sculptures from his BFA thesis show, which are concrete pedestals with busts on them. He will also include four large paintings and a few small paintings created since graduation. Eassa says, “I’m looking forward to all of it, there are some really odd places that a lot of us are showing, so I really am excited to see how people deal with the spaces we have, like the parking garage. When they sent me a photo of my space, I had to email him back because I thought it was a joke. It turns out a lot of people really love the shows that happen in the parking garage.”
Nick Primo says, “I’ll be showing work that I have been developing for my thesis exhibition at Maryland Institute College of Art. I’m a graduate student enrolled in the Rinehart School of Sculpture. The pieces that I will be showcasing are apart of a series that attempts to isolate elements of a language of function. The goal is to use industrial materials, forms, and fabrication processes used in object design to create sculptures that proffer a sense of purpose, but are imaginative and poetic in essence.”
Nara Park, who recently relocated to NY from Baltimore will exhibit two installation pieces with paper rocks and plastic rocks. “This is my second year showing at (e)merge. I was informed about the fair last year and got interested in DC’s growing art scene which I wanted to be part of.” Her work will be in the fitness room on the first floor.
Magnolia Laurie. One reason Laurie chose to participate in this fair is its affordability. “There is no fee for participation and so your costs are only what it takes you to produce the work, get it there and possibly insure it,” she explains. “Granted you are working with a more public space, no booth or hotel room, but you are also not paying hundreds/thousands of dollars just to be there. This is pretty rare for art fairs. I’m also in support of an event that brings recognition to how many artists are in the Baltimore/DC/VA area while encouraging a more global context and dialogue. That may be an idealistic perspective – Art Fairs are largely about sales, exposure, and expanding markets. That’s not really what I’m thinking about, but it is a reality. I’m thinking of it more as an adventure and a challenge.”
Laurie will be showing an installation of paintings which is called A Series of Silent Remarks which will involve a number of paintings and custom-made wooden forms that function as frames, supports and props. These physical items “bring the paintings just off the wall and into an awkwardly active and insistent space that wanders in a non-committal manner between sculpture, picket-sign, billboard, and furniture. We’ll see, that was the plan – like any installation there is the idea and how it works out in real space. The hotel is complicated, it’s the complete opposite from the white box and that can be both interesting and really challenging.”
After attending (e)merge last year, Laurie is looking forward to a number of fair aspects this weekend. “Seeing new work, listening to the panels, meeting other artist. Last year I was struck by sense of adaptation for everyone involved. Galleries, institutions, artists and maybe even viewers, were all out of their normal setting in a way. We were all sort of simultaneously camping, problem solving and hosting a big party – again, that’s not really the focus of this event but it is what I found really interesting.”
(e)merge FAIR HOURS AND ADMISSION
Thursday, October 3
5pm – 7pm: (e)merge VIP & Press Preview, by invitation only.
7pm – 11pm: OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW offering a first look of the fair and poolside musical performances with MIAMOUNA YOUSSEF (live set) and John Thornley of U.S. Royalty (DJ set)
Admission is $35. To purchase tickets in advance: CLICK HERE.
Friday, October 4, 12pm – 7pm
Students with valid ID free: 12pm – 3pm
Saturday, October 5, 12pm – 7pm
Sunday, October 6, 12pm – 5pm
Daily admission is $15; $10 for Seniors and Students with valid ID.