Women’s Work: Art and Fine Craft & Group Portrait for 250 – What a Month!


Zenith Gallery has been crazy busy this month. Three shows total, two still running, an artists’ gathering soon you’ll all want to know about, and great attendance at all.  Let me catch my breath and review the happenings of the month.

We’ll start it off with the incredibly successful Artists Femina show, held at 1429 Iris St. NW, DC from October 21-November 25, 2017. The show features women artists and those identifying as women, and women’s work mixed politics, aesthetics and humor in a gallery packed with art, proving that a woman’s place is in this art gallery.Women's Work: Art and Fine Craft

At the opening reception packed with enthusiastic gallery goers, an installation outside the door by Lea Craigie-Marshall, Love Nest, featured a huge basket and sharpies to write notes expressing love for whatever or whomever you felt needed it.  Opening the door to the front hall showed Carol Newmyer’s Summer Swirl, a curvaceous swirl of dance-like metal.  Nancy Nesvet’s It Grew Wondrous Cold continued her series of paintings featuring the disappearance of glaciers and the wildlife they support in the frozen north. Kristine Mays’ dresses made of wire, Fearless, Blossom and Change of Heart, and Margery Goldberg’s striated wood illuminated neon-striped, Illuminated Face, lets us all know that there is a lighted halo alongside each woman’s wood hard visage.  The painted ceramic totem, Future Cities, by Hester Nelson stands tall and impressive in the front hall.  Susan Freda’s dresses, Aeris Sidus (Copper Stars), Floris Folium (Petals), of hand-woven Copper and Copper Wire, coated with resin seem to belong to a bygone glamorous era, of which we now only have these to form our dreams.

Turning to the right, Carolyn Goodridge’s Encaustic and Glass on Wood, Emergence of Strings and Center of Motion, uses the circle motif on a rectangular base to set up the juxtaposition of a round peg fit onto a rectangular base. Carol Gellner Levin’s Laura Reading ceramics, a bit tamer, show us domesticity as a woman reading, surrounded by dogs brings us back to a peaceful co-existence with animals.  Close by, Stephanie Samuels’ Domesticity is my Pleasure shows a female figure, head crested by a raven, the protector in Celtic tradition, monkey on shoulder, recalling the animal who learns valuable lessons and then is able to make changes, in Buddhist lore, underscoring this symbol of female power.  Leda Black’s Fringe Series, amazing giclee banners top flowing color-coordinated fringes, expressing the colors and mood of each season; spring, summer, fall and winter.  Her PerSISTERS Series, prints on canvas of female heroines direct us to Make Waves, Fight, Insist, Take Command and more, underlining the purpose of this show.Artist Femina Photo Collage

All Aboard the Peace Train, Elissa Farrow-Savos’ painted wood sculpture combines craft with serious subject matter, as a woman leads her three female charges on a wooden wagon, chained to her leading horse, (hopefully a mare). Crystal Blue by Joan Konkel, a “bluetiful” flow of abstract drips crested the fireplace wall.  Slogging through the Hungry Ghost’s Swamp by Jessica Damen amplifies the idea of women slogging through that swamp we hear so much about these days, combining title with painted content.  Elizabeth Ashe’s colorful acrylics on canvas, Dangerous Cliffs, and Sunrise present impressionistic views of cliffs and flowers, recalling her native west coast Washington.  Lea Craigie-Marshall, working in various media, adds A Fire Within, an acrylic and copper leaf work, and her watercolor, Cousteau to her masterful (or mistressful) portfolio. Her Mantas envelop me in their centrifugal well, her fire shining bright. Suzy Scarborough’s collages, Strange Love, The Lesson and The Well cannot be topped for sheer beauty, mixing seemingly oriental landscape technique with heightened color in the collage medium.

Downstairs, Julie Girardini’s Global Goddess, of steel with sewn photo images of handwriting and Nicola’s Dream on paper features a jewel-like orb topping a stately column.  Nearby, Carolyn Goodridge’s Eagle Eye, (encaustic on glass) shows the eyes of her very realistic eagle’s face staring me down.  Alongside, Joan Konkel’s In the Flow, (Acrylic, aluminum, wire cloth) and Mojito, (mesh and acrylic on canvas) brings three dimensionalities into her strong flowing work.  For comic relief, I turn to Katherine Owens’ Frederick the Trash Can Frog, (mixed media on board) holding his toothbrush and dental floss.

For a lively discussion of the work in Artists Femina, please join us for an artist’s talk on Saturday, November 18, from 2-6 PM at Zenith Gallery, 1429 Iris St., NW, DC.

Zenith Artists Smiling at NWMA

Zenith was well represented at the reception and in the group portrait of DMV area women artists, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on October 30th, with Elizabeth Ashe, Margery Goldberg, Lea Craigie-Marshall, Carol Newmyer, Nancy Nesvet, Sandy Adams, Anne Bouie, Jessica Damen and Cheryl Edwards forming our contingent.  Amazing art at the present show, Magnetic Fields, and a wealth of information by groups supporting women’s art in all genres was presented. Kudos to the National Museum of Women in the Arts for getting over 250 artists together for this supportive evening.  Of course, Margery Goldberg, who has ran Zenith Gallery for thirty-nine years in several locations, is pre-eminent in the DC area for supporting women artists, so I was particularly proud to be part of her group. Try to spot each of us in the Where’s Waldo type photograph. (Hint, Margery is the one with the crop of red hair).

At the American Fine Craft Show, the Beat Goes On

Not exhausted yet, or not admitting it, Margery Goldberg and her motley crew staged an exhibition of craft and fine arts at the American Fine Craft Show at the Crystal City/National Airport Hyatt during the weekend of October 28-29, 2017.   Elizabeth Ashe’s work took off, in the guise of Copper Bird, a delicate yet strong sculpture of copper wire, and Dragon Fly 1, and 2, (Speedball Ink Prints). Leda Black’s wildly popular PerSISTERS Series prints, including RBG’s Dissent, Hillary’s Fight , Elizabeth Warren’s Nevertheless She Persists, and more, and F. Lennox Campello’s beautiful watercolor, Adam and Lilith, and charcoals on paper, including Superman Naked, attracted crowds of interested patrons.  Lea Craigie-Marshall’s whimsical felted phone cases and purses proved enticing to buyers, especially the one with felt cherry blossoms, which sold, brightening Group Shot | Zenith Gallerythe client’s day and anyone else who looked at it.  Elissa Farrow-Savos’ polymer clay and painted found objects, Charting New Courses and She Could Not Bear to Leave Anything Behind, a figure atop three suitcases made everyone laugh. Billy Forrest’s Trump Pumps, stiletto heels, each with a distinct motif and decoration, and a perpetual source of ironic humor sold well while the team of Ken and Julie Girarini’s Asia Wall Clock (steel and copper) and Cosmic Origin (Steel, Glass and seeds) were unique, studied by many patrons.  Carolyn Goodridge’s Om, Fire and The Zen of Zero (Encaustic on glass and wood respectively) proved beautiful in their minimalism while her Kaleidoscope series, including Tunnel Vision 2 and 3, seemed a kaleidoscopic view of the greater world.

Often serving as a base for other work, Margery Goldberg’s wood sculptural furniture, The Nationals (Table of Padouk, Mahogany and Louisville Slugger Bats), Walnut Slab Silver were art pieces in their own right.  Stephen Hansen, a top selling artist at this show attracted those who needed a laugh, with his Paper-Mache painters brushing up acrylic canvas panels depicting Hopper’s New York Movie, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, and Lichtenstein’s Crying Girl, repainted masterfully and much smaller by Hansen. Bernie Houston’s gorgeous sculptures, of driftwood, Eat My Dust, Marine Life (my favorite) and The Arrival take their inspiration from the natural bent of the wood, appropriately coloring the figure he helps emerge from the wooden form.  Mihira Karra proves she is equally adept at the landscape form in Banff, Canada, as at her realistic but expressive portraits, Condoleezza Rice; Obama, The President and the Man, and Hillary, of fabric collage.  Joan Konkel, whose work was recently chosen for the permanent collection of a Florida university museum, showed Alexander’s Band, Don’t Stop the Music, Ghost of a Candle, (all mesh and acrylic on canvas), and In the Flow and Light and Shadow, (acrylic and metals on canvas. Join her band now.  Kristine May’s strong and delicate miniature wire dresses, Change of Heart, Fearless and Blossom had the crowds enthralled.  Donna McCullough’s cheerleading outfits of Oil Tin Cans, Aero Shell Mini and Team Gulf KHD proved timely.   Hadrian Mendoza’s ceramic Dangerous Flower #1, sprouting points or teeth and Punk Rock 1, with spiky “hair” growing atop it lived up to their names.  Nancy Nesvet’s Celestial Prism, a photograph of pure sunlight encased in a lightbox and her Mirrored Sea and Sunrise on Glacier Bay spoke to her concern with the untouchable beauty of natural elements, here sunlight and glaciers.

Ibou N’Diaye’s wooden sculptures, Walu Dancer Dogon, Old Dogon and Nomo are a modern interpretation of Dogon sculpture using Neem, Walnut and Ebony, as was used by Africans in the last century and before.  Carol Newmyer’s Menorah, of cast Bronze allows me to change the positions of her “bronze dancers” choreographing the dance led by the heroic Shamash.  Her bronze Roots and Wings, and Trilogy let me play with these precious figures.  Katharine Owens’ mixed media, Radio Flyer, Lime in the Coconut, My Little Rocking Chair and Yellow Shoe Box beg play and laughter at these children’s wares.  Amanda Richardson’s hand-dyed silk, then appliqued, tapestries won the buyers over with their delicate, complicated imagery while Suzy Scarborough’s acrylic and collages on wood, Strange Love, Readers and Reach similarly recalled eastern landscape drawings in their beauty and intricacy.

Gavin Sewell’s American flag, Paved with Gold, (mixed media on wood) announce not only what immigrants believed our streets were paved with, but unfortunately, also proclaims what some of our country’s politicians’ purses are made of.  Similarly, Harriet Sosson’s comic watercolors are politically relevant, with Vice President Pence proclaiming how hot he is for President Trump, in her Don’t Want to Do This Anymore, and her Padded Cell and Wall, both cell and wall encircling his orange-haired superior.  That boss image in her next work, What the Covfefe Did I Say?, says it all.  If he can’t figure it out, maybe the artists can, and hopefully people will pay attention to what the artists express. Margery Goldberg and Zenith Gallery   show work that is aesthetically beautiful and politically concerned, highlighting natural and man-made materials in the most inclusive display yet of that which the art world produces, taking art and fine craft to the very Zenith.

Mark your calendars now to attend the talk by Artists Femina artists on Saturday, November 18, 2-6 PM, at Zenith Gallery, 1429 Iris St., DC.   See you there.

-Nancy Nesvet