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Rachel M. Schlesinger Center to Display Artifact Exhibit

Kirkland Subspace

Friday, Sept. 11 – Sunday, Oct. 25

Opening Reception 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12

The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center, Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College features the two-person exhibit, Artifact, Selected Works by J.T. Kirkland and John James Anderson, Friday, Sept. 11 to Sunday, Oct. 25 with an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

J.T. Kirkland has had solo exhibitions in New York City, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and Richmond, Va., in addition to many curated group exhibitions across the country. In 2013, Kirkland’s work was published in New American Paintings – South Region. In 2012, he was awarded a Professional Artist Fellowship by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in the amount of $8,000. In January 2010, Kirkland was an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center. He was awarded the Robert Riddick Memorial Award from the Rawls Museum, selected three times as a semi-finalist for the Sondheim Prize for artists in the Mid-Atlantic region and won a Cummings MFA Grant.

In his work in Artifact, Kirkland integrates the painted gesture with the naturally occurring textures or “gestures” in the wood.

“I've began each painting by creating an intentionally "bad" painting (i.e. odd color choices, sloppy composition, etc.) Through the process of destruction (sanding through the layers of the painting) I hope that something beautiful might emerge,” Kirkland said.

The idea behind the shaped panels is that perhaps a past exists for each piece. The viewer might think, “Why are the corners missing? Were the panels once whole? Is this what's left? These are all common questions when examining an artifact.

“Artifacts are protected... hence the addition of the frame. The frame contains a hint. Because it's cut off straight at each angle, it's clear the frame was added after the cutting.  At the same time, it doesn't surround the entire piece. The frame is traditionally a rectangle. It references the ’fine art-ness of the piece,” Kirkland explained. “By leaving some parts of the panel exposed, the viewer can see that it's a simple piece of industrial plywood. The notion of ’fine art’ is juxtaposed with the notion of ’craft’ or ’industry.’

Ultimately these are abstract paintings where I've tried to add hints of something more conceptual. I'm interested in abstract painting that's reductive yet open-ended. Where the viewer can see possibilities exist for a history or alternative life for each piece.”

John James Anderson is an artist who has exhibited widely in the Washington DC Metro Area. He has recently relocated outside Ann Arbor, Mich. Prior to his move, he was an associate professor of art and program coordinator of Visual Communication in the Department of Art, at Prince George’s Community College, in Largo, Md. His work has received several grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He has also written art criticism for Washington City Paper, The Washington Times, Art in America and Sculpture.

“The nature of painting as object has been around for decades,” Anderson said. “Artist and critic William Powhida folded it into a recent work called ’A Subjective Classification of Things,’ part of which mocks exhibits of ’walls of oddly shaped canvases’ that ask ’are they paintings or sculptures?’ 

This work seeks to push the relationship of non-objective elements to create a tangible space. Do we cares if the object on the wall is a sculpture or a painting?  It’s more interesting to acknowledge that that flat thing adhered to the wall is causing your mind to bend the space—even if only a little bit.”

The Fisher Art Gallery is located on the upper level of the Schlesinger Center, and is named for local artist Margaret “Peggy” Fisher and her late husband, Joseph Fisher.  Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and during performances.

For more information about the exhibit and/or the Rachel M. Schlesinger Art Center, call 703.845.6156.

Media Contact: Raytevia Evans | 703.425.5839 | revans@nvcc.edu 

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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.

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