They vibrate and pulsate with energy—forms recognizable and not—cluster…often gather together visually, rotating and spinning—preparing to burst free from their prisons: the square and rectangle formats that frames demand. The compositions point and push out at infinity…beyond the human and creative obstacles and confining limits that we create for ourselves. Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter reaches beyond the barriers for the future. “To imagine it in a higher plane.”
“Playing to Win” is the theme of this series that Aziza has chosen for exhibition at the current Hill Center show. Familiar objects emerge in the compositions, mostly board games, but they go on to encompass all the games people play. Whatever it is, we want to come out on top. Especially in America.
But, for Aziza, the language of winning often lacks nuance. Winning can also mean a chance to explore—to benefit even if you don’t get the gold medal. “Win” should be more expressive than one word. “We need more words, maybe.” Visual words.
To build her compositions, she has done extensive research on the history of games. Her constructions are about more than being the champion. “It is about finding solutions: evolution!” You can find that search for evolution in her works.
The philosophic insights come from her compositions with iconic game symbols. They often appear on the verge of flying but are stabilized by serious, almost stern, darks that balance the tempting playfulness of the bright colors of challenges and competition. The black snake-like slashes are pure energy: the combined forces of the positive and negative intentions and that are inherent in “winning.”
Aziza has a BFA in Art Education and an MFA in printmaking and taught printmaking at Howard University. In 2002, she became a fulltime artist. In 2005 she began to combine prints and paints to challenge the limits we set for ourselves.
Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter (see Artist Profile) has done extensive research on games, from do-or-die Roman coliseum spectacles to modern sports, and from board games to cutting-edge technology of electronic “gaming.” In some contests, winning is the only thing, especially if your life or career is on the line.
Some matches were intended to bring people together…like badminton. After a delightful and spirited exercise, all would gather on the veranda for light refreshments. However, let the Olympics get hold of a harmless game and it’s back to gladiators verses the lions.
Art especially has a long history of serious competition. In the early days, if you were not adopted by a patron, or accepted by the national academy—your career was over. Dead, for all practical purposes.
In recent decades, competitive gallery shows have evolved. They go beyond the neighborhood showplace for community artists, to national and international “calls for entries:” Genre galleries. Museums. City departments. Groups that champion handcraft specialties. Foundations. Universities. The list goes on. The call for entry usually stipulates a non-refundable entry fee up to $50 per.
It often starts with a selected “Juror,” usually a known consultant or a player in the local arts scene. The juror is given the sole power to scrutinize every entry and select those worthy of the show…and award cash awards for the first to third place winners.
So, this very serious, and costly, competition begins with being selected, but the more critical triumph is being chosen for an award. It is not so much for the cash as it is for the acclaim.
In the art game, the quality of the art is measured by the quantity of the awards. Most serious artists have a web site that lists all of the attained juried shows and honors. Everything is included. More is not merrier, it’s vital.
At the Galleries
921 Pennsylvania. Ave. SE
— Jan. 7
Reception: Wed., Oct. 3, 6:30-8:30
Alec Dubro was born in Brooklyn and raised in the 50s. He “grabbed on to” the 60s before that decade had a label. “Hearts in Atlantis” is mostly a black & white photographic record of the hip generation. He is now a writer and has lived on the Hill for 25 years.
Sally Canzoneri” in “Then – And Now,” uses 3-D lenticulars to draw people into discussions of urban change “in a way my flat photos had not.” She is pairing “images of recent protests and marches with photographs of past demonstrations to get viewers considering the relationship between these events…”
Cedric Baker balances his work between abstraction and realism in “Soul Searching…Transitions in Soul.” I see myself as a Soul Painter who bares all from within to my art.” “
JoEllen Murphy loves pastels for the way they capture light. In “The Vibrant Landscape,” she applies pastels to capture landscapes in a “painterly manner” rather than strive for traditional realism. The colors are more vibrant than oils and light becomes the subject.
Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, “Playing to Win,” (see Artist Profile) proposes the essential questions of “…how one wins and why.” She uses iconic motifs and symbols, as well as dynamic compositions, to define the phrase, “playing to WIN.”
Cecelia Armellin, with “Wink on Asia,” is the first presentation of her project: “Planet.” She traveled in Asia for months with her camera to “grasp what my eye will feel.” She searches for the “close link between Man and Nature.”
Corner Store Arts
900 So Carolina Ave SE
– Nov. 10
WOMEN BY WOMEN, features some of the area’s prominent female artists to showcase their varied expressions of women: Kris Swanson, Ellen Cornett, Karen Cohen, Deborah Conn, Linda Buttons, Sally Brucker, Julie Dzikiewicz, Kara Hammond and Kay Fuller.