Yesterday evening we attended the eleventh annual "Something Hot" regional juried art exhibit at ArtSquare in Leesburg, Virginia. Artists submitted their work last Saturday and the work was juried and hung later that afternoon, followed by the juror's critique, which was open to the public. Our juror this year was Baltimore artist Stewart Watson, who said this about what she was looking for from participants: "An unseasonably warm summer gets me to thinking of the things that keep it bearable - a bike ride down a long hill, a knee-high creek in a copse of trees, the hum and drip of the window AC unit, thunderstorms and fireworks, and a drop of sweat running down one's back. I think what I am looking for is evidence of the cause, effect and individual solutions to the summer heat culminating in a dynamic multi-media exhibition."
I was happy to have Stewart as a juror for this year's show, as her more nontraditional, conceptual and installation-based sculpture work was a welcome contrast to the more representational, traditional, realistic landscape and still life work the Leesburg, Virginia region is generally known for. This was a bold move for ArtSquare, finding Stewart, and what resulted was a dynamic exhibit covering many styles and approaches to the theme. I went to her well-attended critique last Saturday night and enjoyed what could be described as a somewhat informal discussion on the work selected, and she had very kind yet critically helpful words for both the works selected and not selected. She also had a genuine knowledge and respect for both traditional and contemporary art styles and trends. Stewart half-jokingly expressed some dismay at the lack of (or complete absence of) any three-dimensional/sculpture-based entries, and her best word of advice for everyone present was to not be afraid to push yourself, get work out there in the public eye, and experiment and accept mistakes as part of the process, or else work will become stagnant and as an artist, there will be no personal growth.
I saw some familiar faces at the show as well as last week's critique, including artist and fellow art teacher colleague Barbara Drumheller, who took a Graduate-level painting class with me last Fall, and whose work I've become an instant fan of. Her tiny piece titled "Chocked" (above) was one of my favorites from the show, with it's vivid contrasting colors, square format and cropped, geometric composition.
Stewart worked hard to place pieces in groups or clusters where the work feeds off of and informs each other, which makes sense with her installation art background. My piece, titled "Taste of Tobago" was one of the few photographic entries in the show, and though this is my second time in a "Something Hot" exhibit, it was my first photo exhibited publicly as a work of art. You can find it in the group of works in the photo above, as well as a closer view of it right below. It was taken at a small outdoor cafe on the island of Tobago late last summer, where I drank a glass of fresh guava juice. The afternoon heat quickly melted the ice in my glass and caused condensation droplets to form on the outside, making for what I thought would be a great macro image, before guzzling the rest of my once cold, delicious beverage.
In addition to the "Something Hot" show, visitors had the opportunity to check out the resident artist studios and see some amazing work at ArtSquare. Many of the resident artists were present as well, there to take questions and demonstrate their process. I managed to get just a few shots (next three below) of their spaces last night, and it was very inspiring to walk through their work studios.
"Something Hot" at ArtSquare runs up until August 27th, 2012. If you are in or around the Leesburg, Virginia area, please go and see it in person. Gallery and studio hours run from 10 am - 5pm, Monday through Saturday, and from 1-5 pm on Sundays.