Laurel Hausler. Photo credit: Tory Pugliese
The ghosts of the past are always with us, brushing past in layers of time, like veils in a dance being pulled away. They haunt us with both pain and humor, and to reveal their presence takes honesty and sensitivity as an artist. Not to mention, a bit of detective work.
Every so often an artist’s work hits me with a visceral force, and I knew when I saw a few pieces by Laurel Hausler at the Small Works on Paper exhibit at Morton Fine Art that I needed to see more. Luckily, you can too. Hausler has a full exhibit at MFA showing now through October 14, and I highly recommend a visit to view these wickedly beautiful oil paintings. Heavily layered both by paint and meaning, alternately revealing and concealing, the exhibit is titled Debutantes & Feral Children.
Aren’t we all a bit of both?
Hausler, a native of the DC area now based here as well, paints with a subtractive process – in other words, she begins by covering canvas or paper with many layers of paint which she then removes to reveal the subject. Actually, she first begins with research. Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading
Vonn Sumner, 'Totem', 13.5"x11", watercolor on paper
The art galleries I love most are inviting and unintimidating, highlighting a thoughtful curator’s focus and giving you a intimate view into the artist’s world. Stepping into Morton Fine Art’s new space on Florida Avenue off U Street felt instantly relaxing as curator Amy Morton welcomed me with a warm smile. I was eager to take a look.
MFA is housed in an airy white room on the street level of the MINT building, billed as an “innovative arts lab.” Really several concepts rolled into one – studio, arts consulting, gallery, artist advocacy – it’s conceived as a way to serve the changing contemporary arts scene by collaborating with multiple artists as opposed to maintaining a “static stable.” In addition to shows at the studio space itself, MFA hosts the bi-annual exhibit known as *a pop-up project which “pops-up” at various temporary locations around the city.
The opening exhibit is Small Works on Paper, on display now through August 26. It’s completely manageable for an afternoon pop-in with a carefully chosen selection from three artists – Vonn Sumner, Rosemary Feit Covey, and Laurel Hausler – working in mediums ranging from watercolor, wood engravings and mixed media. Strongly dedicated to the belief that anyone can be an art collector, Morton took the time to walk me through the current exhibit and shared her enthusiasm for the artists. It works. After a few minutes I felt the itch to take home one of Rosemary Feit Covey’s subversive wood engravings. It might happen to you as well. Or you can simply linger, wondering over some quietly powerful images. Continue reading