Into the Light: dcist

Reprinted from dcist

Into the Light @ Honfleur Gallery

2008_0401_window.jpgExploring the themes of light, innovation and optimism, Into the Light, a juried exhibit now at Honfleur Gallery, brings together a well rounded group of talent that showcases various mediums, including photography, sculpture and installations. Artists Mark Planisek, Marie Cobb, Lynn Silverman, Craig Kraft, Emily Erb, Phil Stein, Joan Belmar, Cathlyn Newell and Kendall Nordin are all showcased. The exhibit is very dynamic as it presents the artists and their different media thoughtfully and uses the space to it’s maximum. Installations and sculptures find display space in small special venues, including the nook above the stairs.

As you enter the gallery you are confronted by Incense, a collaborative installation from a church in Baltimore. Colorful origami boxes hang from the second floor ceiling and flutter and spill onto the first floor in a cascade of color. Each box is made from a prayer that a member of the congregation wrote on a piece of colorful paper and folded into one of the boxes. The piece is whimsical yet reverent.

A highlight of the show are the shadow boxes by Mark Planisek (pictured). Small collaged boxes of various shapes and depths contain photographs of different settings of windows, hallways and doorways. Each photograph is from the building where Planisek’s old studio was located. Determined to document the building, Planisek has captured light at its most dramatic times of the day, showing off the harsh angles and shadows that he found. Some of the scenes extend beyond the center of their box and cover the outside plains, too, blurring where the piece starts and ends. The overhang of the boxes create their own shadows that interact with the shadows from the photographs and as you move, the view shifts and the shadows play across the work, constantly changing how you experience it. It is a simple concept executed beautifully.

2008_0401_park.jpgMany of the pieces on display in the show are by photographers. Cathlyn Newell‘s series of photographs are blurred landscapes with the title of each piece scrawled on the wall on top of the print. Storm Approach is the last in the series, and is slightly less blurred than the other prints, supporting the feel of the slow moving storm. The blue and gray composition is filled with anticipation. It is moody and heavy with the humidity of the coming storm.

Another highlight of the exhibit is the work by Emily Erb. Erb presents a series of religious themes in graphic illustrations done on silk using an ancient Chinese method. She draws the images onto silk with dye and then uses thrifted fabric to back her images. When the work is back lit the pattern on the fabric is visible and interacts with the composition of the piece. To finish her work she carefully pairs the image with a thrifted frame. It is the final touch that really completes her work and makes it whole.

Erb’s fabric and frame choices seem to be both carefully thought out as well as happy coincidences. In The Park (pictured) Erb uses bright neon colors and captures a simple scene of a man reading. What makes the piece spectacular, is not just the vivid colors, but the unexpected fabric choice. When the piece is back lit, The Park comes alive with glitter sequins that catch the light and sparkle. Erb found the fabric as a discarded mini skirt on the street. Thinking it would be a funny addition to pair the trashy fabric with the more serious somber piece, Erb found the result was anything but funny and saw that it transformed the piece and took it to the next level.

Images of Window Near my Studio and The Park are courtesy of Honfleur Gallery.

Into the Light is on display through May 3, 2008. Honfleur Gallery is located at 1241 Good Hope Road SE and is open Tuesday through Friday, 12 to 5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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