Fabricating Culture: 6@35

Admitting failure clearly paid off big. All three judges of Washington Sculptors Group’s submissions for the 5@35 show could not limit the show to five members’ work. We begged and cajoled Margery Goldberg, our esteemed leader as Director of Zenith Gallery, to please let us include six, and seeing the predicament herself, she relented. We are not sorry.

The show featured some amazing work, including Allen Linder’s darkly humorous pot-bellied, menacingly wide-eyed sculptures—particularly “King of the Ladybug Men.” He described his direct method of stone carving until a strong connection emerges from the object. He said, “If it’s relevant to my life, I know I’m on to something.”

Wilfredo Valladares, from Trujillo Colon, Honduras, constructed a wooden shop derived from memories of his mother’s dressmaking shop. Rolling pins incised with patterns he saw in his former country hung from the tall top of “Taller.” Pictures and objects reminiscent of what he saw in his homeland and in countries whose borders he crossed on the way to the USA hung on the wooden structure. I was curious about what was on the other side and was glad I went behind, as it was covered with graffiti-like black charcoal drawings of people and text. This reproduction of a remembered space was as intentionally incomplete and rustic as his memories. He explained that the early memories of his mother taking measurements in her dress shop and the resultant shapes intertwined with his experiences as an artist in a new culture resulted in what he terms a “duality of things.”

Gil Ugiansky’s “18 Reflections,” a series of geometric shapes inspired by his first experiences, as his father explained, the tetrahedrons carved into the sides of his piggy bank seemed impossibly balanced on each other’s points. Some turned, others remained still, suspended precariously in air. Amazing! He explained the science, due to the material and the way it acted.

Iranian sculptor Mitra Lore’s lion was inspired by a lion she saw on a trip to Africa, falling in love with the continent. Her friendly lion, “Africa,” begged approach and closer inspection of the intricate steel work, helping to convey her message of “Peace on Earth.”

Though formed from fragile material, Vienne Rea’s rainbow-colored acrylic ladder, “PRIDE,” from her Ladder Series appeared strong enough to support an LGBTQ individual to reach new heights. Rae said her work is “autobiographical” and she made the acrylic ladder for her “loved ones, that’s all.”  Great inspiration.

The love shown in this exhibition, by these artists, is apparent. Whether for the African continent and the wildlife on it; the sculpture created for Vienne Rea’s loved ones, Wilfredo Valladares’ homage to his mother’s shop and to others who made the same journey;  Gil Ugiansky’s continuance of the geometric infatuation begun with his father’s words; Al Linder’s dark humor expressed in these wide-eyed men of bronze with precious gems laughing at us, appalled but infatuated by their strange beauty or Luc Fiedler’s.                             ,

They are all truly labors of love, for the form, the content, the ability to draw us to them and remain enthralled.

What a show!  We all hit the mark together! As Vivienne Rea said, “That’s all”.

Fabricating Culture.  6@35 will be on show until January 5, 2020, at Zenith Gallery, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.  Washington, D.C., Monday through Saturday.  See Zenith Gallery website for hours.

Artist talks at 1111 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. include:

  • Vienne Rae                      Friday, September 27.
  • Mitra Lore                        Friday, October 11.
  • Luc Fiedler                      Saturday, November 2.
  • Allen Lindner                  Friday, November 15
  • Wilfredo Valladares       Friday December -6
  • Gil Ugiansky                    Friday, December 13.