A Report on the DC-based Juried Exhibition by Cara Ober

It feels funny to call something a ‘first annual event,’ but EMULSION, a regional juried art show at Gallery OonH in Northeast Washington, DC, appears to be the first of many successful events where the art community comes together to celebrate the power of locality. The exhibit was sponsored by the East City Art Blog, a DC-based publication which covers the visual arts in Washington’s burgeoning east side of the city, and also Gallery OonH, located at 1354 H Street NE, in the center of the Atlas Arts District.

The opening reception and awards occurred on Saturday, November 9 for the exhibit featuring close to thirty local artists selected by juror Lauren Gentile, owner of Contemporary Wing Gallery. An open call for entry to all artists residing in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area yielded a total of 135 artists submissions.  Of these 135 submissions, Juror Lauren Gentile selected  twenty eight artists including 2013 Sondheim Prize winner Grabriela Bulisova, Selin Balci, Ariel Klein, Andrew Wodzianski, and Jenny Walton.

According to East City Art Editor Philip Hultinet, “An emulsion combines two seemingly incompatible ingredients to produce a third yet entirely new substance.” Based on this idea, his publication sponsored the EMULSION exhibit to unite a vast array of art forms and media, from 2-D works to experimental performances.

Tolman_Apartments

Lauren Gentile confides, “I agreed to jury the Emulsion exhibition because I have always been partial to a DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia) exchange. During my time as a gallerist in D.C. I relied heavily on integrating self-taught artists, and those trained in the District’s own celebrated art schools, with their respected neighbors south to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and north to Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.” At Contemporary Wing, Gentile made it a priority to exhibit young talent from the Mid-Atlantic region.

“What is unique about Emulsion compared to other shows I have juried is the age and education range of the participants I chose,” says Gentile. “Unlike in the past, where I’ve focused only on college-aged recent graduates, I was happily surprised by the level of work submitted by outsider artists, and those who chose to pursue this career later in life. The result is an exhibition of works stylistically pleasing to me, organically balanced by race, age, gender and education through an uncommon selection process.”

At the opening reception, first, second and third place winners were announced  to receive cash prizes of $1,250, $750 and $500 respectively. First prize was awarded to Adam Davies for his 40×50 archival inkjet print titled “Dune Road” (pictured at top). Second  went to Charles Sessoms for “Chase,” (pictured in image gallery below) a 16×22 pigment print. And Third went to Ben Tolman for “Apartments,” a large mixed media sculpture (pictured just above). The opening reception included live music, performances, guest speakers, many artists from a diverse range of communities, as well as food and drink. From the photos, it seems that East City Art and Gallery O on H were successful in creating an ’emulsion’ within a community which tends to be more disparate and diffuse.

From my perspective in Baltimore, I think it will be interesting to see if this type of emulsion sticks and grows, creating more opportunities for exhibits and cohesion in a growing cultural sector of Washington, DC. It is a model that may also work within Baltimore’s A&E Districts as well.

Click twice on image gallery images to see them in a larger format!

About Juror Lauren Gentile
Lauren Gentile, founder of Contemporary Wing, has produced major exhibitions of historically significant artists including the 30 Americans artists, Shepard Fairey, the Guerrilla Girls, and JR, among others. While supporting the artists of today, she has helped nurture such emerging talent as GAIA, Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi, and Cheryl Pope. She holds an M.A. in art business from Sotheby’s Institute London and B.A. degrees in art theory and criticism, art history and international studies from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, DePaul University, the University of Florence and the Goethe Institute. Her private sector career includes work with art hedge funds and as director of sales in auction houses and galleries specializing in a variety of markets.

About Gallery OonH
Gallery OonH is a unique indoor-outdoor culture and community space where art, music and the unexpected come together to deliver a fresh approach to a retail experience. The vision for Gallery OonH is to be an intersection of culture and fun that provides an approachable destination for artistic, entertainment and cultural experiences.

About East City Art
Phil Hutinet began East City Art on January 4, 2010 to document and promote the growing emerging visual arts movement in eastern Washington, DC.  The online visual arts journal covers the following areas:

•    The neighborhoods of Anacostia, Brookland, Capitol Hill, Deanwood, Ekington, H Street NE, NoMa and Trinidad in DC
•    The towns of the Gateway Arts District in Maryland including Brentwood, North Brentwood, Hyattsville and Mount Rainier

East City Art posts press releases about events, openings, calls for entry and coursework on a daily basis.  The publication has a dedicated staff of paid writers who interview local artists, lead community discussions and review local exhibitions.