Thursday, June 21, 2012

"messages from outsiderdom" at the joan hisaoka healing arts gallery, washington, dc

Above: Robert Benson's "Flashies" works

Yesterday I decided to visit a new art gallery/center in Washington DC, based on a post at artist J.J. Cromer's blog. He has some work at the gallery and the overall show and space looked to be a real treat. So, I used some of my free time to check it out, despite the terrible heat.  The show is called "Messages from Outsiderdom" and the space is called the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Located on U Street and a fairly short walk from the metro station. 

Above: front window featuring "Looking for Balance" sculpture by Lee T. Wheeler

The gallery itself seemed small yet very spacious and open, inviting even. The exhibit was beautifully set up, showcasing works from a dozen established artists who would fall under the visionary/outsider category of art, from the intricate, complex drawings of J.J. Cromer to the neon-painted bark and wood sculptures of T.S. Young.  There was a good variety of media and styles to be found and the show reminded me a lot of being at a miniature version of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.  

Above: all five of J.J. Cromer's works at the exhibit

 Above: "The Caribbean Walrus" by J.J. Cromer (detail)

 Above: main gallery space

The staff who were working there were all very kind and more than happy to talk and show me around the facility, which, in addition to the gallery space, has a beautiful space for art workshops, artist talks, yoga classes and more for cancer patients, veterans and local residents. I was blown away, honestly, and it made me wish there was a space like this here in Leesburg. 

 Above: three of Matt Sesow's paintings at the exhibit

Above and below: "Spirit Animal Jig Jags, 6-Packs & Sand Paintings by Brian Dowdall, "Valve Man" sculpture by Charlie Lucas

Above: works by Lawrence Amos, Jessie Montes and Jane Pettit

 Above and below: Darien Reece sculptures

Above and below: works by T.S. Young 

Needless to say, my visit to the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery/Smith Center for Healing and the Arts was well worth the trip and the heat. The current exhibit, "Messages From Outsiderdom" will continue on through August 18, 2012, and this Monday, June 25th there will be discussion on Visionary Art at the gallery from 6:30 - 7:30PM (free). 

Above: permanent collaborative installation at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts space

*On a side note, there's a similar show I couldn't make at the Off-Rhode Studio gallery (at Art Enables in DC) called "Trust the Eye" featuring more of J.J. Cromer's works, going on only until June 29, 2012.