16 Years of Sketches

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Screenshot of John F. Simon Jr.’s recent drawings, recorded in his online archive

I’ve always admired the dedication that comes with practicing “one-a-day.” I’ve tried my hand at it over the years: snap one photo a day, write one journal entry a day, I’m currently on a (cheesy) roll recording one grateful thought per day. Most of these attempts last a few months at best. So when I learned that Intersections artist John F. Simon Jr. creates one sketch per day, which he’s kept up for over 16 years (seven of which have been recorded on his online archive), I was mesmerized. I find that sort of artistic devotion so impressive, and it makes his work more meaningful for me. It gets to the “why” of art; the process behind Simon’s work serves a purpose beyond aesthetics. It’s a zen moment, it’s introspective, it’s meditative. As the artist describes it, “I make a drawing and then I write down what I think it’s about and the whole package tells me something about where my head is.”

Do you have a daily routine, art-related or otherwise, that serves as an opportunity to reflect or look inward?

Amy Wike, Marketing Manager

Conversations with Matisse

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(1) Carol Brown Goldberg, Maggie on My Mind, 2015 (2) Matisse, Henri, Interior with Egyptian Curtain, 1948, Oil on canvas Framed: 48 5/8 in x 38 1/4 in x 2 in; 123.52 cm x 97.15 cm x 2 in; 45 3/4 x 35 1/8 in.; 116.205 x 89.2175 cm.. Acquired 1950; © 2015 Succession H. Matisse/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

How does one converse with a piece of art? Can it talk back? What does it have to say? These are the questions at the heart of The Phillips Collection’s One-on-One series, which engages artists to select a work from the museum’s permanent collection and juxtapose it with works of their own. DC-based artist Carol Brown Goldberg uses Henri Matisse’s Interior with Egyptian Curtain as a source of inspiration for her current body of work. But how does one go about creating a conversation between your own work and that of a master like Matisse? She states of this exhibition, “Matisse’s Interior with Egyptian Curtain encompasses the world of the sublime, the ecstatic—an almost supernatural world of color, competition, and pattern. It is not just a world of pleasure, but one that allows tension and harmony to exist simultaneously. This ambiguity of forces, perhaps a reflection of our internal world, is an inspiration for endless gardens.” So how exactly does she respond to this idea in visual terms?

It is rare that a work by Matisse is described as restrained or limited, but this is how it appears in comparison to Goldberg’s works as she expands upon the idea of Matisse as creator of a world of pattern and color. Interior with Egyptian Curtain sets the stage with the establishment of a color palette and loose, expressionistic forms. Matisse’s window gives the viewer just a glimpse of the world outside, a world of lush greenery and exoticism. It beckons, almost drags the viewer in to see more of this wild and free space, and this is where Goldberg takes over. She takes Matisse’s cue, and explodes his tease into a world where intense color and expression reign supreme. The colors are bold and match the wild, swirling forms that spread beyond the edges of the canvas, enveloping the viewer and pulling us further and further into this “supernatural world of color, competition, and pattern.” Goldberg seems to create the world that Matisse alludes to and envisions, a world in which anything and everything goes.

Allyson Hitte, Marketing & Communications Intern

Strictly Painting Is Anything But

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Guests enjoy the opening of Strictly Painting. Photo by Catherine Day

This year I was invited to jury the Strictly Painting 10 biannual that McLean Project for the Arts initiated 10 years ago, showcasing selected works by artists from a broader Washington Metropolitan area. The exhibition, on view through August 1, is anyhting but “strictly painting,” diverse in media, subject matters, and aesthetic approaches.

There is a lot going on in the DC-area art scene and this especially lively opening only confirmed it.

Vesela Sretenovic, Phillips Senior Curator

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Phillips Contemporaries members Todd Galaida, Laura Deming, and Carl Bedell attend the opening with Phillips Curator and Strictly Painting 10 exhibition juror Vesela Sretenovic.

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Winning artists Shante Bullock (left) and Lilianne Milgrom (right) with exhibition juror Vesela Sretenovic. Photos by Catherine Day

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Guests enjoy the opening of Strictly Painting. Photo by Catherine Day