A Loving Father and His Children / courtesy of Sandbrush, Inc.
Formerly an Official State Propaganda Artist of North Korea, Song Byeok was disillusioned after famine struck his home country in the 1990s. He lost his parents and sister and was brutally tortured after attempting to find food in China. He ultimately defected and now works as a satirist, using paintings to depict oppressive regimes and the people trapped within them—including many images of the dictatorship in North Korea.
After showing in DC last spring, both the artist and his paintings have returned, this time to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. During the run of You For Me for You, Song’s work will appear in full force throughout the Woolly lobby. Song will also contribute to events around the city as part of the theater’s House Lights Up program.
Joanna: When did you first decide to start creating satirical work? Was it difficult to make that transition?
Rapture Draft (Hell No, We Won't Go), acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24"
When I regained power five blazing days after the derecho, I found myself first stocking my fridge and then attending the exhibition Stocking the Fridge.
The show – located of course at The Fridge venue in Eastern Market – includes nearly 100 paintings by DC power couple Dana Ellyn and Matt Sesow. Politically charged, invigorating, and provocative, it was exactly what I needed to kick my newly re-powered life back into gear.
Ellyn and Sesow are extremely prolific (perhaps you’ve heard about their “31 Days in July” project, in which they produce a painting inspired by the news every day for one month); and this exhibition shows off just how much they can do.
With both incredible artists in one place and paintings lining the walls from top to bottom, it would be impossible to cover everything in one article, or even one visit.
Here are a few standouts to give you some idea of why you should run to see this show before it closes later in the month.