Three exhibitions currently showing at art enables
"New Wave" | January 8 - April 2, 2022
It's a new year, and Art Enables is pleased to present a new "wave" of recent works by our resident artists. This exhibition celebrates the resilience of our artists over the past two years. During ever-shifting, pandemic working conditions, the artists have remained dedicated to their artistic practices and their community, working from home for extended periods of time. We're pleased to announce that most of the works in this exhibition were made after artists returned to our shared Rhode Island Ave. studio (although some artists still work from home), and several pieces represent new resident artists who joined Art Enables in 2021. As always, this studio gallery exhibition is a showcase of the vibrant and varied styles of some of the most interesting and hard-working artists in the DC metro area.
"Variations on a Theme" | February 12 - April 2, 2022
Art Enables is proud to present work by resident artists Michael Haynes, Paul Lewis, Charles Meissner, and Gary Murrell in this four-person show. Each artist works with a range of subject matter in their practice, but "Variations on a Theme" celebrates some of the frequently recurring content these artists love to explore. Repeated elements are easily identified in these groupings and speak to what each artists' peers and admirers can instantly recognize as their work. At the same time, viewing the works in serial highlights the nuances of detail, technique, and composition that vary from piece to piece and give life to each artist's oeuvre as a whole.
Michael Haynes' love of all things transportation has manifested in hundreds of cut-out illustrations of cars, trucks, and buses over the years. Michael uses his signature style—heavy layers of graphite and colored pencil- to create bold fields of color in some places and smudged, scratchy texture in others, lending a weathered and tactile look to the work in which his hand is ever-present. Some vehicles also feature subtle sculptural elements—wheels assembled in layers and truck beds shaped with crumpled paper. While Michael illustrates a wide variety of vehicles as well as human and animal figures, this show features some of his most repeated modes of transportation: metro buses flanked in red and pink, fire trucks with red cabs and grey bodies, yellow vans, and work trucks with a specific pattern of yellow, grey, and blue.
Paul Lewis takes inspiration from pop culture, sports, nature, and current events and utilizes a multitude of subjects in his prolific practice. He has a particular soft spot for beautiful women and often depicts famous blondes from film and television. Two of Paul's favorite Marilyns (Monroe and Munster) are represented here, with Jean Hale and Loni Anderson also in their company. While all the women in this group have the same hair color, the works represent Paul's love of bold color at large. His consideration of the entire page is also evident, with space often broken into vibrant sections with detailed line work. Paul enjoys making multiple drawings from the same reference image—sometimes resulting in a small series of works that feel like studies in how slight alterations can affect the overall impression of an image. In two of these works, the brunette figure is the artist himself—depicted by the side of his golden-haired stars.
Charles Meissner has a prodigious memory and an uncanny ability to tell his stories and life experiences through his artwork. Charles' love of traveling, people, and historical events informs and inspires many of his creations. His impressive eye for perspective and composition is evident in his finely-detailed cityscapes and expansive landscapes, including the characters that often inhabit them. Charles is well known for his waterscapes with sailboats and several other themes, two of which are featured here: cityscapes populated with yellow-lit windows (and the occasional double church steeple) and men and women walking through those locations in pairs. The lines drawn next to the figures' mouths call back to Charles' memories of medical devices commonly used in his youth. This imagery has persisted for decades, alongside other elements that seem to be Charles' mental archetypes of people, places, and things.
Gary Murrell's work is both abstract and persistently figurative, with bodies rendered in simple, circular shapes—often two or three segments—traced multiple times. Gary often draws individual forms, but this exhibition highlights his proclivity toward groups of two, three, and four abutting each other in close quarters and enveloped in fields of color. This series showcases one of Gary's favorite left-to-right color sequences that coincide with the number of figures shown: red followed by green, purple, and blue. Gary's repetitive linework imbues vibrating energy to his pieces while his figures' gentle and friendly presence conveys an atmosphere of calm.
"MAGIC FOREST" | February 12 - June 11, 2022
This installation transforms Art Enables’ gallery space into a magical forest that is home to an array of unusual organisms. The forest habitat—designed and fabricated by visiting artist Bonner Sale—is filled with lumpy purple trees and colorful vines. Small baskets on the forest floor hint at the work of harvest done by unseen hands.
Among the trees live distinctive creatures and plants created by Art Enables resident artists. Oversized flowers and snails, a winged kangaroo, a royal toad, foxes, wolves, snakes, monkeys, and birds can be both seen and heard. These cut-out illustrations of forest life are given voice by an ambient audio track made by Art Enables artists collaborating with visiting musician and recording engineer Ben Green. As in any forest, the wind blows, rain falls, and the forest’s many inhabitants speak to each other in a symphony of voices. Perceptive forest visitors may also hear the chiming of magic moving through the trees…