Members and friends meet at Middle Street Gallery

Thirteen members of The Middle Street Gallery are reaching out this month and next to a like number of friends for a combined art exhibition at the gallery in Washington, Va. The 26 artists have put on an eclectic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, prints and photographs.

Photo by Gary Anthes
Linda Tarry's whimsical sculpture is accompanied by her son's paintings.

Some artists have teamed with family members. Gallery member Linda Tarry is showing one of her trademark sculptures, built from ceramic and plastic fragments and beads, with a pair of oil paintings by her son Jacob Stilley, a Rappahannock County native now living in Baltimore.  

And landscape photographer and gallery member Jo Levine is paired with “a friend of many years” — her husband Martin, a painter of landscapes and a non-professional artist who once studied at the Corcoran School of Art. “He has devoted more time to painting recently, after we moved to our part-time residence in Rappahannock County,” Jo Levine says. “His subjects are drawn heavily from his international travels with me – which are fodder for my photography as well.”

Patricia Brennan, the gallery’s sole maker of stained glass works, has matched talents with her friend Heidi Morf, and their works hang in gallery windows, warming and amplifying the weak winter light.

The gallery, most often dominated by two-dimensional works, for this show makes a strong statement in 3-D. Christina Muse, who is showing with her friend, gallery member and painter Pam Pittinger, presents a pair of boxes containing multi-media components and various found objects. They are reminiscent of the boxed assemblies of the late artist Joseph Cornell. Says Pittinger of Muse, “She loves to go to flea markets nearly every weekend and find little treasures which she then incorporates into her assemblages.  She imbues objects from the past in three dimensional collages to give them new meaning with an air of nostalgia.”

Photo by Gary Anthes
In “Fish Plate” by Diohn, a hard ceramic fish is adorned with brightly colored “roadkill pheasant feathers.”

New York psychologist Dionh, who is exhibiting under her first name only, presents two whimsical and enigmatic sculptures. One, called Fish Plate, features a hard ceramic fish adorned, the label says, with brightly colored “roadkill pheasant feathers.”  Adjacent to the fish lies a napkin and a fork with bent tines. Her surrealistic ceramic sculptures complement the oil paintings of sponsoring member and gallery president Steven Kenny. “Both involve themes such as spirituality and nature,” Kenny says.  “We were high school sweethearts and have romantically and artistically reunited after 30 years apart.”

Photo by Gary Anthes
“Doghead” by Sidney Lawrence, gallery member Wayne Paige’s exhibit partner, looks menacing at first but actually appears to be smiling.

Perhaps the most arresting sculpture in the show comes from artist Sidney Lawrence, former public relations director at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and invited to the show by gallery member Wayne Paige. His mixed-media “Doghead” juts out menacingly from the wall, a worthy successor to the Hound of the Baskervilles. Yet on closer inspection the animal seems oddly friendly, its bared white teeth framed by a tiny smile.

The gallery is located next to The Inn at Little Washington. The show runs through Feb. 28, and there will be an opening reception for artists and the public on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Gary Anthes, a Middle Street Gallery member, has two photographs in the show. He is joined by photographer-printmaker Donna Clark of Aldie.