h.r. by ULTRA / aerosol and acrylic, 30 x 22 inches. 2012
It’s portraiture at its most local: to celebrate the opening of their new retail and gallery space, the folks over at The Fridge have put together two important DC-centric shows, filling their space front and back with provocative new works.
Quiet Walks in Dangerous Places
In the main gallery, the exhibit quiet walks in dangerous places showcases work by street artist Asad “ULTRA” Walker. ULTRA began his career as part of a DC-native go-go graffiti movement; and today his work in spray paint has changed the artistic sensibility of the district.
quiet walks in dangerous places is ULTRA’s first solo show. It focuses on portraiture of everyday people he has met in DC – people different from the ones you and I meet, unless you happen to be a graffiti artist out at 4am.
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.
KING ME, Studies in the Uncivilized World, Installation View. Photo courtesy The Fridge.
Tucked back in an alley off of 8th Street in Eastern Market, The Fridge is an unimposing gallery space; and perhaps it’s that quiet intimacy that makes it such an interesting location for KING ME: Studies in the Uncivilized World – a show about authority and domination.
Showcasing works by DC artists, KING ME is at once political and quirky. It deals with power struggles over everything from gay marriage to consumerism and uses a variety of media, including thread, film, acrylic, and Tyvek.
Highlights include Seleshi Feseha’s obsessively-crafted thread collages, Stanley Squirewell’s striking use of mixed media, and numerous pieces by Laura Elkins, whose first lady self-portraits particularly stand out.
I sat down with Elkins to talk about some of her work on display at KING ME, and the inspiration behind it.