WPA Speaks with SELECT 2014 Exhibiting ArtistsCurious about the art and artists in SELECT this year. WPA got a chance to catch up with a mix of artists from internationally recognized, to locally established and emerging, and they all now have one thing in common as exhibiting artists in WPA’s SELECT 2014. 

Find out how Tim Tate, sculptor and co-founder of the Washington Glass School in Mt. Rainier, ended up with his first group exhibition alongside Xu Bing, Damien Hirst and Nick Cave after posting a cat video on Facebook. Learn about how internally exhibited NY-based artist Sebastiaan Bremer's travels influence his work. Hear from Holly Bass, DC's own award-winning multidisciplinary performing / visual artist / writer / director. And discover two emerging local artists, E. Jane, photographer / multimedia artist, and Eames Armstrong, visual / performance artist and arts organizer.

by Deena O. Hyatt 

Tim Tate

She Was Often Gripped With The Desire To Be Elsewhere, 2014
Glass, video 11” x 14” x 2”

WPA: I see you were awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Tell us about that.

TT: I went to the National Glass Center and Sunderland University in the UK to share my knowledge of a technique called Deep Relief Dry Plaster Casting and its uses in public and private art. It also was fertile ground for researching my evolving theory of Glass Secessionism to describe what was transpiring among emerging glass artists in the 21st. century. I had met many of the artists tin Sunderland when we had a sister city international exchange during Art-O-Matic one year.

WPA: Tell me about your work in SELECT 2014, "She Was Often Gripped With The Desire To Be Elsewhere."

TT: The piece in SELECT is a cast-glass baroque frame with a video inside. Formally, I have been known as an artist who focused on glass. This series has allowed me to let the video become the intellectual property. This piece explored not only my fascination with dream imagery in film and video, but also ghost photography from the late 1800s.  

WPA:  How did Jennifer Scanlan come to discover your work?

TT: An odd story. Years ago, I put a video of a cat playing piano on my Facebook page. I'm not proud... it was one cute cat. A friend of a friend whom I had never met saw the video and said, "That is one talented cat. I should have her here at my museum." "Museum???" I said, "You should have some of my work there!"  Twenty-four hours later I had a show with Xu Bing, Damien Hirst, and Nick  Cave at the Museum Of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle in NYC. That friend of a friend turned out to be David McFadden, Chief curator of MAD. I pitched an idea to him....he liked it and said he would pass it on to the curatorial staff for final approval. The next day they approved it. Jennifer Scanlan was one of those curatorial reviewers. She also managed me in that and another show there. So for those artists out there who believe Facebook is a waste of time, no problem....leave the opportunities to me. :)

WPA:  How did the Washington Glass School come to fruition?

TT: We started 13 years ago. For some time I had wanted to open a glass blowing studio in DC, then realized that a kiln cast studio would actually work much better here.  At Art-O-Matic that year, I had made a large $12,000 sale, and used that as the seed money to buy the equipment that started the school. Many people were involved right from the beginning. It was a whole community who did it out of a labor of love. Now, 13 years and over, 4000 students later, we are the second largest cast glass school in the country.

WPA: How is the art community in Mt. Rainier evolving?

TT: There were many great sculptors when we arrived here, and even more now. Some followed us here, while others evolved out of the glass school. We now have a dozen world class artists who show all over the globe and are in a variety of galleries and museums. We have many world class sculptors who will be joining us soon. We have hit critical mass, and it attracts others who think in 3 dimensions and are materially based.  

Sebastiaan Bremer

Optical c-print, AP 2/2
22 ¼” x 28 ½” 2001

WPA: Did you always consider yourself an artist or was there a landmark moment where you felt, "I am an artist"?

SB: I started as a comic book lover, and, at 14, I was so often in this one store in Amsterdam that they employed me. When I graduated from the Montessori Lyceum I wanted to continue, but also to learn how to paint, and I started that on my own, with some stints in open studio programs. I never had formal training, save perhaps my time at Skowhegan. Once when I was 9 years old, I suddenly wanted to make a drawing of a dragon but did not have the time, so I had to wait until I got home and then I drew exactly what was in my head, which gave me a real jolt. Later, when I was 12-13, I was able to make erotic drawings. It was an amazing feeling -- like I had a real ability to imagine something and conjure it up in the real world.

WPA: How did Gregory Volk discover your work and how did he come to approach you about participating in SELECT 2014?

SB: He and I met on the playground and I love his passion and energy. We think alike, in ways, see connections, and share a love for art and the creative process. SELECT was proposed in an email and I said yes.

WPA: Tell me about your work in SELECT, "Mountains Tree B."

SB: It is a work I made around the time I met Gregory, which seems appropriate: I took two photographs, one of the weeping willow in the garden of the house I grew up in partly, in Holland, and one of the tree that is in my wife Andrea's parents' garden, and I let them flow together. Very romantic work. Note the Northern European tree and Brazilian trees differences. Sad and dark and wet and droopy vs. giant, powerful, life-force monster.

WPA: I see you lived in many places all over the world. Do you find this has informed your work?

SB: I travelled from Amsterdam to Holland in 1992 and stayed mostly in NYC, save for some trips to Brazil and Scandinavia, mostly for my wife's work. I could transport my studio to bring with me while she performed (she is a performance artist/choreographer/filmmaker) and I could mind our son, who was born in 2001. This became harder to do later. I think it is helpful to have shifting perspectives if only to see better where you come from. I think I would have not engaged with my heritage as freely, artistic and otherwise, had I not left Holland, that is for sure. But then again I have only lived this life, so it's hard to see what would or could have been. I know where I am now and that was shaped by where and what I was, for good or bad. But I like what I do, and where I am, mostly.

WPA: Your work has evolved a lot over time, from photography, to illustration, at one point focusing on black and white photography, and film production. What direction is your work heading in now?

SB: It is always tricky to say, since it evolves more than changes, and you never know what influences are taking hold at the very moment you write or draw.  It might be called organic. But having said that, I am currently deepening my engagement with history and art history, and using other's art... in a Frankenstein-like way, creating a fresh new monster out of old discarded limbs. Or something of that sort. I am trying to have the spirit, the essence of the "ones that came before" reawakened in my work and to let them walk freely again on their own. This was prompted by getting tired of the predictability of events in the world and in my life.  I thought of looking back over my shoulder to what other artists underwent in their life and work at similar stages to see if there were some tips and hints I could benefit from. This collaging has been one part, and my gestures have grown to include making incisions in the surface of the photographs I use to work on in addition to painting on them, and the methods of gleaning and stealing have also expanded to using iPhone cameras to scanners as well as traditional cameras. It is impossible to really predict what will happen, but this is what I have been playing with recently. Another continuing question is my odd bird position of being a painter who uses pictures but still is called a photographer by some, and a painter by others, and the dialogue between the two media keeps intriguing me, and this is becoming more and more blatantly obvious in my practice of the moment. I feel drawn to curating more projects, and try to continue to engage in art in different ways. The show I put together with SO – IL at Kunsthal KAdE in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, was a lovely thing to do, and I continue to develop plans in that direction, as well. Then there is printmaking and who knows, sculpture?  

Holly Bass

NWBA #7 (Crown), 2012
Archival pigment print on photo paper, Edition 3/10 + 2 AP
39” x 27”

WPA: Who chose your work for SELECT 2014 and how did they come to see it? 

HB: Jeffry Cudlin selected my work. He curated a show at Arlington Arts Center called She Got Game about women and sports and these images were a part of that show.

WPA: So you two were already acquainted?

HB: Jeffry is a friend and a colleague. I first met Jeffry as a fellow artist-- I think through Philippa Hughes. He included me in She Got Game in 2011. And then we've collaborated on the Performance Aftermath lecture series that Laura Roulet curated. It's been nice to have these different working relationships. He's so smart! And so supportive of all of his artists. For me, it's a real pleasure to work with him in any capacity.

WPA: Tell me about the work he selected.

HB: Jeffry chose two photographic prints from a larger series called NWBA, created in 2012. As an artist who works primarily in performance, it's been really exciting to think about how to translate an ephemeral experience into something enduring. Now when I start conceptualizing a performance, I'm already thinking about the visual possibilities and potential objects-- from prints to video and installation, to audio and sculptural objects. I'm really proud of these prints because I feel I was able to capture the emotional narrative and social consciousness of the performance in a 2-D format. I also think the work is accessible and humorous-- and easy to transport--which is a good thing for an art auction!      


E. Jane with her work at the SELECT Opening Reception

WPA: How did Cynthia Connolly become familiar with your work and ask you to be in SELECT 2014? 

EJ: She saw my work at Pleasant Plains Gallery, during the opening of my solo show, From Ode to Elegy, last November. I knew of Cynthia through her work at Artisphere. I visited the space that summer, when Wilmer Wilson IV’s Henry Box Brown: Forever Aftermath was on display, and then again to document Wilmer’s lecture/performance with chukwumaa. I looked up to her, admittedly, and was very excited when she came to my solo show.

WPA: Tell me about the work she chose for SELECT 2014?

EJ: The work is a box set, derived from my show, From Ode to Elegy, entitled The Supreme 70. It consists of a sound piece, a photo book, and three photographic prints. The project took over a year to come to fruition.  It related largely, during its conception, with my interest in understanding and relating to the area of DC I was living in.

WPA: Is it sort of a tour of DC through your eyes (and ears)?

EJ: It was also largely autobiographical because of a period of melancholy I was dealing with during the time. This work, for me, acts as both documentation of a time and place in DC that I feel some affinity to, and a starting off point for the direction my work is currently going in. I’ve been moving towards video and sound since finishing this project, while still incorporating photographs. I’ve also been working in more direct autobiographical ways, creating mainly in the vein of the self-portrait. The sound piece is a link between that body of work and my current direction.  

Eames Armstrong

Magma, 2013
Mixed media on paper
18” x 16”

WPA: How did Brandon Fortune, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery, come to learn about your work?

EA: I have known Dr. Fortune for a very long time; I went to Kindergarten with her daughter. I moved back to the DC area three years ago, and slowly our paths started to cross in the art world. We had a conversation about some of my small drawing work, which led to these slightly larger drawings that I have not shown before. For me, this is an exciting confluence of my personal history to the area and my professional development as an artist. As a curator myself, I am looking forward to further conversations.

WPA: Tell me about these new drawings.

EA: Foam and Magma are part of an untitled ongoing body of work which layers line work and brush work, which developed from movement and atmosphere sketches for performance. Each of the pieces capture a particular mood, a time, a place, a sentiment. The works articulate frames within the space of the page which are broken, unstable, lines and marks spill outwards. Drawing is a visual language through which I can articulate problems, excitements, memories, outside of the heaviness of language and the ephemerality of performance.  

WPA: How do you balance being an artist, arts organizer, curator and writer? How do these different roles inform each other?

EA: To say that all the moving parts of my life are balanced is a stretch. I love feeling that I'm in motion even at the expense of being off-kilter, and staying up all night every now and then. Fortunately, each of my personal roles are deeply related and I can grow in many directions simultaneously. I started Aether Art Projects with the drive to present artwork and ideas in experimental frameworks, at large events, private gatherings, temporary exhibition spaces, etc. DCPerformanceArt.tumblr.com is another reflection of my impulse to share, promote, and educate, and Peri0d art journal grew from there. Obviously, I am interested in learning and sharing what other artists think, how other artists approach a topic or question. My personal performance practice involves a significant amount of collaboration. Recent solo performance has explored visibility, guiding or inhibiting perception, and personal rituals. Curating performance requires a tremendous amount of flexibility and sensitivity, as a practicing artist I am able to connect with the artists that I show on a significant level of shared experience. Perhaps the furthest outlier here might seem to be my drawing practice, which is personal, reflective- but about communication, attempting to depict other abstract worlds or constructed attitudes- which is not very different at all from writing, curating, or performing.  

The SELECT 2014 gala takes place Saturday March 22, from 7-10pm at Artisphere.

More Info + Gala Tickets: http://auction.wpadc.org/


SELECT 2014 in the WIP Gallery, Photo Courtesy of Artisphere SELECT 2014 in the WIP Gallery, Photo Courtesy of Artisphere

SELECT 2014 Curators:

Cynthia Connolly - Visual Arts Curator, Artisphere, Arlington, VA | Jeffry Cudlin - Professor of Curatorial Studies and Practice, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD | Brandon Fortune - Chief Curator, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC | Jennifer Scanlan - Independent Curator, New York, NY | Olivia Kohler-Maga - Assistant Director, Luther W. Brady Gallery at George Washington University, Washington, DC | Megan Rook-Koepsel - Independent Curator, Washington, DC | Mera Rubell - Co-founder, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL | Gregory Volk - Art Critic/Independent Curator/Associate Professor in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and New York, NY

Participating Artists: 

Eames Armstrong • Ken D. Ashton • Holly Bass • Allison Bianco • Amy Boone-McCreesh • Calder Brannock • Sebastiaan Bremer • David A. Brown • Amanda Leigh Burnham • Sijae Byun • Colby Caldwell • Meaghan Carpenter • Page Carr • Chameckilerner • Lely Constantinople & Kate MacDonnell • Larry W. Cook • Joseph Corcoran • Marley Dawson • Frank Hallam Day • Flore de Préneuf • Andrea Dezsö • Mark di Suvero • Michelle Dickson • Nekisha N. Durrett • Dave Eassa • Alex Ebstein • Cliff Evans • Rachel Fabiarz • Stephanie H. Firestone • Sean FitzPatrick • Victoria F. Gaitán • Avi Gupta • Rania Hassan • Clarity Haynes • Mia Hebib • Sean Hennessey • Jack Henry • Klara Hobza • Ryan Hoover • Timothy J. Horjus • Jason Horowitz • Michael Jaren Horsley • Jason Hughes • Jan Huling • Jeff Huntington • E. Jane • Sarah Anne Johnson • Tiffany Jones • Patrick Joust • Gary Kachadourian • Beth Katleman • Elizabeth Kendall • Bridget Sue Lambert • Magnolia Laurie • Karine Laval • Chrisopher LaVoie • Randall Lear • Ati Maier • Katherine Tzu-lan Mann • Anne Marchand • Ryan McCoy • Patrick McDonough • Kate McGraw • Ander Mikalson • Jackie Milad • Curtis Miller • Joseph Mills • Joseph Minek • Sam Noto • Cara Ober • Cory Obendorfer • Sonia Paulino • Bruce Pearson • Jefferson Pinder • Alejandro Pintado • Lina Puerta • Susana Raab • Ellington Robinson • Erica Rosenfeld • Rachel L. Rotenberg • Yuka Saito • Craig Schaffer • Rachel Schmidt • Sheldon Scott & Joshua Cogan • Ginevra Shay • Jo Smail • Joshua Wade Smith • Marcos Smyth • Milena Spasic • Shelley Spector • Susan Stacks • Tamar Stone • Tavares Strachan • Chris Suspect • Ryan Syrell • Tim Tate • Gregory Thielker • Alessandra Torres • René Treviño • Jonathan Wahl • Sarah Walker • Stewart Watson • Terri Weifenbach • Ian Whitmore • Trevor Young • Andrew Zarou • Holly Zausner • Lu Zhang

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March 19, 2014