Behind the Scenes with Arlene Shechet

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_12-and-13

Arlene Shechet with her installation Once Removed (1998). These works are mde from abacá paper and Hydrocal. Photos: Rhiannon Newman

Check out these behind-the-scenes photos of Arlene Shechet installing her Intersections project, From Here on Now.  Shechet is a New York-based sculptor known for glazed ceramic sculptures that are off-kilter yet hang in a balance between stable and unstable, teetering between the restraint of intellect and the insistence of instinct.

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_5

Shechet in the staircaise of the original Phillips house with Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs Klaus Ottmann. Photo: Rhiannon Newman

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_1

Deciding on positioning for Shechet’s Best Behavior (2014). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_3

Shechet and Ottmann with the artist’s Best Behavior (2014). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_4

In an adjacent gallery to the one pictured above, portraits from the museum’s permanent collection are hung salon style. Photo: Rhiannon Newman

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_8

In addition to her works on view in the second floor of the original Phillips house, Shechet’s ceramics are on view in a first floor gallery of the more recent addition. Shechet and Ottmann are pictured here with For the Forest (2016). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

arlene-shechet-install_rhiannon-newman_6

Arlene Shechet installing Once Removed (1998). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

 

Two Sides of One Painter

jake-berthot_installation

Installation view of Jake Berthot: From the Permanent Collection and Promised Gifts

Bold shades of yellow screamed out from the canvas, with each layer striving to grab my attention. The densely built up surfaces of abstract forms projected into my space, to the extent that the paintings themselves became three-dimensional. The expressive texture and spontaneity in Jake Berthot’s Yellow/Yellow were enough to captivate me, along with his other equally dynamic paintings displayed throughout the gallery.

jake-berthot_untitledtrees

Jake Berthot, Untitled (Trees), 1996

I entered the next gallery just as I started to feel overwhelmed by the intense emotions I read in his rough impasto techniques. This room, where his later works are displayed, offered a completely different atmosphere; instead of the highly expressive brushstrokes and abstract forms seen in the previous gallery, the paintings here were strikingly calm, devoid of any saturated colors.

In his later years, Berthot mostly depicted landscapes, focusing on proportion and perspective. His sketches are filled with grids exploring the geometry behind the natural landscape; it’s almost as if the artist had never been interested in abstract expressions like the ones seen in his previous works.

Walking around this gallery made me feel like I was stealing into the artist’s working studio while he left for a break; many of the works seem unfinished. In Untitled (Trees), underlying pencil grids are visible, drawing a stark contrast with the way nature is depicted in Pond, an earlier work by Berthot displayed in the previous gallery.

Why do his works look so different? Did he develop a sudden interest in ratio and perspective in his later years?

Berthot mentioned stylistic changes in an interview in 2013: “Young painters now know me as a representational painter. Many of my peers wonder what happened to the abstract painter. No matter what, I am still the same painter.”

Do you see the connection? What makes him “the same painter” despite the apparent stylistic differences?

Summer Park, Marketing & Communications Intern

Jake Berthot: From the Collection and Promised Gifts is on view through April 2, 2017.

Porchia Moore Phillips Conversation

img_7294_porchia-moore_laurahoffman

Porchia Moore leads a discussion in the “People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series” galleries. All photos: Laura Hoffman

How do works in special exhibitions People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works relate to current issues of racial injustice and discrimination? Porchia Moore visited the Phillips in November to tackle this question with Phillips visitors. See below for photos and a live-tweet of the conversation.

This was the second in a series of three open conversations that use The Migration Series as a jumping off point for discussions about current issues; join us for the third installment this Thursday with the DC Jazz Festival’s Sunny Sumter, who will be facilitating a discussion focuses on themes of identity, community, and what it means to be an American. See the storify of last month’s talk below. Follow along or join the conversation with #PhillipsConversation.