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This year’s Capitol Hill Art League Juried Exhibition was juried by Alan Braley, Capitol Hill Artist, and Nicky Cymrot, Director of Hill Center Galleries. Members of the Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL) were invited to submit original hanging work, in any medium, to be considered. 36 local artists were selected to display their work at Hill Center, showcasing 100 pieces total.
The top three prize winners are “Salt Marshes II” by Rosa Vera (First Prize), “Rise Above” by Mary Elizabeth Gosselink (Second Prize), and “Untitled #5: Here” by Kimberley Bursic (Third Prize). Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL), a visual arts program of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), produces and promotes juried and non-juried exhibits throughout the year. Member artists are 18 – 80+ years old from the DC-metro area, including Virginia and Maryland. CHAW shows and sells their art work at galleries and various venues in the DC region.
FIRST PRIZE: “Salt Marshes II” by Rosa Vera
Artist Statement: For me art is an expression of being bicultural and bilingual, and adjusting to different environments as a child. But it is also an expression of the present as I now live between Peru and the States. I convey this experience through paintings.
My painting style is expressive and my subjects are mostly figures and landscapes. In the figure paintings, I often represent myself and other Latinas, such as “Luz Adentro / Light Within,” a figure based on an old photo from my family. Or “La Niñera / The Nanny,” in homage to the Black nannies in Peru. Most of my works are in acrylic paint or paint combined with collage of fabric or paper.
My most recent work has focused on landscapes depicting abstractly the beauty of nature. Virtually everything we cherish — natural and manmade — is in danger due to climate change. As Rachel Carson has been reminding us since 1962 in her groundbreaking book Silent Spring, the threat is great and time is perilously short. This is the object of my work, that we see and recognize that splendor.
SECOND PRIZE: “Rise Above” by Mary Elizabeth Gosselink
Artist Statement: I am an abstract painter working primarily in acrylics. My art practice is an exploration of materials and mark making. I often begin work by creating separate elements that I later collage together. These elements include acrylic skins, image transfers, and painted papers. During this early phase, I am able to freely experiment, working from instinct and intuition. Later, I more consciously combine and layer these elements into abstract compositions. I enjoy the push and pull of unconscious and conscious creation, moving between chaos and order, spontaneity and deliberate decision-making. The resulting pictures frequently evoke imaginary landscapes and aerial views. My goal in working abstractly is to create an image that inspires viewers to interpret the work through the lens of their own thoughts, feelings and experiences.
THIRD PRIZE: “Untitled #5: Here” by Kimberley Bursic
Artist Statement: I am a DC painter, printmaker, collage and book artist. I construct my art through personal stories and experiences. Each painting depicts a landscape, real or imaged, in an abstract format.
The landscape is caught in a moment of great change: sinking, floating away, exploding or burning. The symbol of the house often appears in the painting, it is either caught in or the cause of the transformation. I overlay a catalog of symbols, numbers, and timelines that track and measure the changes to the landscape. The state of each landscape is a symbol of anguish, loss, frustration, longing, hope, desire.
The paintings are made using a range of materials. I paint on paper or wood with watercolor, acrylic, graphite and most often collage material, such as old photographs and postcards.
My paintings capture what is happening in my life at the moment it’s created; life altering moments, worries about the future and memories of the past.