Last Saturday afternoon I stopped by the Franklin Park Center for Performing and Visual Arts to check out the annual Barns and Farms art exhibit and opening. As always, it was a great show with a lot of works on display this year. This comes as no surprise, as the Loudoun County countryside provides an endless stream of inspiration to artists from all over the area.
Many of the works on display were beautiful, representational pieces taking a more literal approach to the theme.
Some of my favorite pieces were the ones taking on a more unique, even abstract approach. I really liked the sculptural piece above, especially.
I was so glad to see one of my favorite local artists, Robert Friedenberg have another one of his marvelous drawings at the show. I met Robert briefly last year at a Franklin park exhibit, and was glad to purchase a couple of his prints when my wife and I stopped by his home last summer for the Western Loudoun County Studio Tour.
I submitted a painting for the exhibit as well, and decided to not include a single barn in the painting. Can you find it? I'm as much a country boy as I am a city slicker, at home in either environment. This probably comes as a result of living in the suburbs, right smack in the middle of the two. While I saw lots of deer, cattle, ravens, crows, and the occasional turkey, turtle and fox growing up in Pennsylvania, I hardly ever saw a vulture, or as some call them, buzzards. You'll see them a lot in Northern Virginia however, either in the sky or sitting in a wake, in some trees along the local country roads. Some people dislike them, but I find them to be incredibly fascinating in so many ways. I think I'll be painting some more of these in the near future.
I absolutely love the fox photograph by Florence Biddle, who I had the pleasure of meeting. It shows the animal in such a majestic, peaceful and compassionate way, not being chased and brutally hunted down by men on horses. I would have bought this picture in a heartbeat if I had some extra cash, but unfortunately that's all going to car maintenance and a new computer this month.
There was a lot of exceptional photography at the exhibit, showing just how much the medium is a true art form in and of itself. The photo in the upper right (above) was one that grabbed my attention, with its rolling hills and fog, taken at Williams Gap by David Levinson. David explained to me his interest in bringing awareness to the beautiful countryside and farm land of Loudoun County, since so much of it is disappearing thanks to continued commercial and real estate development. Fortunately, Williams Gap, due to its historic status, is now a protected site, and David, who has photographed the place on a number of occasions, is free to shoot there any time he wants to now.
Jane Mann's "Waiting For Spring On Clover Hill" was perhaps my favorite photo of all, with its wide, horizontal format, rustic truck and cold, bare-branched tree atop a hill hinting at Winter's end with a slight patch of snow to the far left. The title, the presentation and subject matter all create a strong yet subtle sense of mood and emotion. And people say photography is dead.
As with all of the Franklin Park shows I've participated in, there was, once again a great variety of media and styles on display, all tied together by a single theme. Drop on by this wonderful place if you're in the Purcellville, Virginia area to see this exhibit which runs until December 30th, 2011.