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Bethesda: Tunnel Vision, and Much More
by Amanda Lineweber


Audrey Salkind
Audrey Salkind. Charged Up, 2012 acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36" @ Waverly Gallery

For those of us who try to avoid leaving the District, with life, work and play all nicely centralized, it can be easy to forget about those distant parts of the Metro system. You know, those tail ends whose names we know only as train directions but not as destinations. When there’s so much to do downtown (and uptown, and everywhere), spending an afternoon in places like Old Town or Bethesda is rarely the first thing to come to mind.

But let's not forget that Washington, D.C. is truly a sprawling metropolis. There are many Metro-accessible galleries located just outside of the district, all ready to provide a lovely Saturday jaunt. In Alexandria-Old Town, with its new, free trolley service from the Metro stop to the waterfront, Principle Gallery is currently featuring new works by GC Myers. Washington Printmakers Gallery is showing contemporary prints by Chinese artists in Silver Spring through June 24.

Right now, Bethesda has several exhibits open to entice visitors. You'll see the first whether you want to or not: Tunnel Vision is installed in the exit of the Metro station. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and the Bethesda Urban Partnership teamed up to make the formerly dreary tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue into a bright, exciting art space. Each artist installed a large piece, about 5 feet by 4 feet, mounted under laminated panels, along the length of the space.

artlinePlus artist Joey P. Manlapaz is included in the exhibition, which will be up for at least a year. Her high-realism paintings depict the hot dog stands, newspaper boxes, and storefronts of Washington. One of her series also explores everyday views of the monuments of Washington: we see the Jefferson Memorial obstructed by tress, the bottom third of the Washington obelisk, and the outer corner pediment of the Lincoln Memorial. A professor at the Corcoran College of Art, Manlapaz has been working, living, and exhibiting in the D.C. area for many years. Her piece in Tunnel Vision depicts two bicycles and a set of newsstands along a busy downtown street. The every-day scene is depicted with astonishing realism, a beautiful postcard moment of urban life.


Joey Manlapaz
Joey Manlapaz

Other works in Tunnel Vision include realism, graphic design, digital, and photographic work. The variety of style ensures that there is something for everyone, so be sure to take a right once you've gotten off the train in Bethesda and stroll through this truly public art gallery. Bethesda has more variety to offer, not least at the Waverly Street Gallery just around the corner from the Metro exit. Waverly is an artist-run gallery, so work by several artist-members are always on display. From ceramics and jewelry to wooden sculptures and paintings, the artists of Waverly Street work in many media and styles. In addition to the regular work on display, the gallery puts on monthly solo shows. Last month, Audrey Salkind exhibited her abstract works on canvas. (see top image)

Salkind's twenty-plus paintings all work within the abstract-expressionist style. Within that school, Salkind explores composition of color, shape, and form in her particular approach, characterized by blocky, sharp patches of color run through with jagged lines. They wonderfully messy and personal in their abstraction and seem to come from Salkind's most meditative space. Sometimes, as in Labryinth, the colors are too pure and strong, a surprising fact since other pieces prove the artist's eye for hue. The soft shades offset by lines of yellow and orange in Charged Up and the nude colors surrounding spots of red and orange in Supercharged demonstrate Salkind's careful intuition for tone.

Throughout the body of work, Salkind continues to experiment with a line of red traveling within several of the paintings. This line, thin in shape but strong in shade, is often very successful. Especially in several of her dark pieces that are heavy in black and grey, the bright red adds a depth to each work by extending the range of tone. Its inclusion in several of the paintings adds a unity to her lovely collection of paintings.


Ronnie Spiewak
Ronnie Spiewak
Scottie Allen
Scottie Allen

This month's guest solo exhibitor is Ronnie Spiewak, exhibiting her paintings and collage. Since regular gallery artists collectively share one half of the space there is always a variety of work to see, making it a dynamic place to visit any day of the week.

The other half of the gallery is filled with ceramic work, photography, paintings and mobiles. Scottie Alle's vases and mugs posses both weight and delicacy, that wonderful quality achieved by skilled potters. The gallery boasts several ceramicists, whose work ranges from polished to organic styles and natural to bright colors. The gallery's jewelers working in metals, stones, and glass beads offer cases of necklaces and rings. Jan Maddox's lightweight globes made from recycled bottle caps are especially cheery; her double rings are graceful and distinctive.


David Yano
David Yano

One of the most unique artists at the studio is David Yano, who makes large, ethereal mobiles out of mostly wood and sometimes metal. The pieces are pleasantly confusing in their complexity and buoyant nature, and Yano's use of wood makes his mobiles distinctive. Yano will be having a solo show at the gallery in September.

The artwork at Waverly Gallery is constantly changing, making it worth a visit every time you find yourself in downtown Bethesda.

by Amanda Lineweber