“The American experience influenced my understanding of individuality, basic human rights, freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.” — Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei is one of the most well-known artists in the world. A Chinese contemporary artist and political activist, he spent twelve years living in the United States, and now resides in Germany.
His perspectives and feelings about liberty are very different than those of us born into a country founded on the principle that all men — not just American citizens — possess the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Fighting for his fellow countrymen’s liberties found him harassed and imprisoned; no doubt his experience of freedom is far more profound.
Thank goodness we don’t have to feel it so acutely every day. Many of us get to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends, and mark the beginning of a season that in itself feels like freedom. As you experience the joy of the day, revel in the feeling; be conscious of the freedom we have to live as we please, laugh when we want, and express ourselves through talking, writing and art. It is a joy to be cherished. Especially when accompanied by a juicy grilled burger and glorious fireworks.
Happy birthday, America! And many more.
Jo Fleming Contemporary Art offers a two-week pop-up “Go Figure” — an exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Cindy Winnick running Sunday through July 15. Winnick’s mixed-media figurative sculptures are lively and fun while inviting reflection on current issues. Her paintings draw from her experiences living and traveling in Asia, Europe and Africa. Stop in to this beautiful contemporary gallery, and say hello to her.
McBride Gallery’s “Summer Salon Traditions” show opens Sunday and runs through July 29. Nineteenth-century France and England saw the beginning of salon shows that presented premier quality artworks, featuring artists trained by the Royal Academies who painted classical subjects from history and mythology. Salons changed with the times, and with the rise of the Impressionists, independent salons began to welcome plein air paintings of everyday life by artists such as Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. By the 20th century, salon shows included modernists like Henri Matisse and Andre Derain. In the tradition of quality paintings ranging from studio classics to plein air scenes, McBride Gallery’s salon show features new paintings from Lois Engberg, Lon Brauer, Lynn Mehta, John Francis Murray, Vova Piven, William Rogers and more — many of whom are on summer painting trips so no artist reception this month. Just head to the gallery and enjoy the new work!
Pip Moyer Recreation Center presents “The Way Life Used to Be” by photographic artist Karen Schultz Davies through Aug. 31. The exhibit is a study of the shifting scenes and wildlife on and around Black Walnut Creek in Annapolis. Schultz Davies is at home in nature — she crisscrossed the country in her 20s via the Americas National Park System as an eco tourism guide, photographing wildlife. She considers her work a form of meditation.
MFA’s Circle Gallery has two exhibits this month:
“Fiber Options” through July 21. This one-of-a-kind exhibition displays works constructed of natural or synthetic fiber including soft sculpture, painting on silk, felting, applique, tapestries, wearable art and more. Juried by Jeanne Medina, the 2017-18 Fountainhead Fellow in the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, the opening reception is 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“50 Forever,” opening July 15, is MFA’s celebration of 50 years at the location on State Circle and, in honor of its long history in Annapolis, MFA invited member artists to display one piece of art as a part of a special all-hang show. Fifty years at Circle Gallery equals 50 years of a diverse and expansive community, stretching continents and mediums at which each artist excels. You be the judge! A People’s Choice award will be given out at the reception on Aug. 16 during Art Walk, so join them as they celebrate.
While at Circle Gallery, inquire about “Writing on the Wall,” MFA’s Curve Gallery online exhibition. Juried by Roberta Pardo, founder of Urban Walls Brazil, this exhibit invited all two- and three-dimensional artists to offer examples of public art, including street art and its effects and is on display through July 31.
49 West presents “Art meets Science below the freezing point” by Dr. Peter Wasilewski. Combining art and science, Wasilewski creates frozen visions by photographing ice, using polarized light, as it freezes or melts. Running through Aug. 1, the opening reception is 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
BayWoods of Annapolis presents “A Taste of East and West,” a solo exhibition by Ziya Gurel, a well-known artist in Turkey and the Middle East with an art career of 45 years. Running through Sept. 8, the exhibit opens with a reception at 2:30 p.m. July 8.
The French flag flies above the Annapolis Collection Gallery throughout July as they welcome art collectors to enjoy select prints by the French photographer Eugene Atget (1857-1927) who documented scenes of old Paris before its demise. Included in the exhibit is a rare and beautiful silver gelatin by American photographer Marion Warren (1920-2006) of the Eiffel Tower, taken one misty Thanksgiving morning in 1945. A special gallery event occurs on Bastille Day, July 14, with evening celebrations that include Aaren Buchheister performing the La Marseillais on his classical guitar. Art collectors are invited to attend the celebration from 7 to 10 p.m. July 14.
The galleries at Quiet Waters Park present two exhibits opening July 10 and running through Aug. 25. The receptions for these exhibits will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. July 15.
Garden Gallery: “Hunting Quiet” exhibits recent work by Linda McNamara, an artist, landscape painter and designer living and working the Annapolis area. Her oil paintings express solitude, isolation and our struggle too find quiet in an increasing and noisy and crowded world. This exhibit reflect the solitary pursuit that artists embark on each time they compose a work of art.
Willow Gallery: “A Visual Journey, The Eye of the Photographer” includes the work of six photographers. For three years, a photo contest has been held through the Friends of Quiet Waters Park. The six participants in the venue are the winners of the contest whose work has been selected for the Quiet Waters Park desktop calendar.
Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts will open two exhibitions that will be on display from July 14 to Aug. 25. An opening reception will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 19.
Chaney Gallery: “A Breath of Fresh AIR: Maryland Hall Artists-in-Residence Past and Current” is an exhibit of new works by current and past Maryland Hall artists-in-residence. Maryland Hall's AIR program has artists that work in a diverse variety of media and styles. Selected by a juried process for three-year residences, AIRs create and sell work, exhibit in galleries and participate in community programs. Working in their studios throughout the week they can be visited by patrons interested in learning about their art or purchasing their work. The exhibit is an impressive testament to the AIR program.
Martino Gallery: “A Collective Journey in Clay by Maryland Hall's Ceramic Students” is body of work by adult students from ceramics classes at Maryland Hall. Clay presents infinite possibilities; it bends, it cracks, it shrinks, it changes color. This exhibit displays each student’s personal journey in exploring this ever-changing media. Bringing forth the synergy between the hand-built and wheel-thrown arenas, Maryland Hall celebrates the achievements and growth of their clay community.
Main St. Gallery’s 2018 show schedule continues featuring new work by Janice Antinucci, Christine Drewyer, Meg Walsh and William Wright through July 8. Be sure to stop in to view the exhibit as well as work by the gallery’s impressive list of local award-winning artists.
Annapolis City Hall continues “Retraction,” an exhibit of acrylic and oil renditions of richly colored representations of natural items seen in embellished light by Stephanie Claire Baker. A graduate of Savannah College of Art, Baker experiments in a variety of media and is involved in projects with the American Visionary Art Museum’s mosaic exterior and Jahru’s mural group in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C. The exhibit runs through July 31.
Paul’s Homewood Cafe continues “Color, Form and Fun” featuring photographer Kathy Bennett Dove through Aug. 6. Rich color, defined form and light-hearted spirit pervade Dove’s photography, offering both realistic and abstract interpretations of a variety of subjects including sailing, travel and nature.
“The Annual Influence Show” celebrating Richard Niewerth continues through July 28 at Benfield Gallery. Niewerth was instrumental in creating and developing the fine arts program at Anne Arundel Community College into one of the best in the state. His teaching inspired students across multiple genres, many of whom have continued on to careers in the arts. Juried by Matt Klos, 21 former students of Niewerth have over 40 current works of art in oil, acrylic, pastel, etching and sculpture on display. See this diverse show and vote your choice for the People's Choice Award.
Paint Annapolis 2018 is over and the artists have left town, but their work lives on! See how these exceptional artists view our town at night, in the sunshine or in the pouring rain. Nothing stops plein air artists. View these works at West Annapolis Artworks and Fine Framing through July 10.
Patrice Drago is a painter, writer and artist in residence at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. This column is written in cooperation with the Annapolis Gallery Association. Contact her at email@example.com or visit www.patricedrago.com.