Tuesday, January 24, 2017

WAS Gallery opening at Westwood Center II in Bethesda

While the Westwood Center II is facing demolition at some point in the next three years, owner Regency Centers has brought in a nice addition to the neighborhood. WAS Gallery is a new art gallery that will be hosting exhibits in its space at 5110 Ridgefield Road in Bethesda. The 475 SF exhibit space will adjoin three artist studios, and the gallery is expected to remain open until the demolition of the shopping center.

Their first show will be appropriately called "WAS opens," and will feature works by the gallery's three current artists-in-residence, Jenna North, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin and Joumana Moukarim.  An opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 4, from 6:30-9:00 PM at the gallery, and the exhibit will run through March 10. Regular hours at the gallery will be Wednesday – Saturday, 12:30 – 5:30 PM, or by appointment.

The diverse artists' works have themes that resonate with current issues both national and local. North sometimes works as her alter ego, Wendy Well, a "fracking-obsessed Post-Apocalyptic Interior Decorator." Maryland is in the midst of debate over whether to allow fracking in our state, and North says the election of Donald Trump has made the apocalypse seem closer. In response, "Wendy wants to prepare us by offering a tasteful glimpse into domestic bliss in space," in one work featuring an outer-space-themed room.

Alvarez addresses the environmental and human impact of the technology we leave behind, incorporating VHS tapes and typewriter ribbons into panels, cages and nets. As an artist who splits her time between Bethesda and Mexico City, she is also keenly attuned to the symbolism of borders and boundaries.

And at a time when Bethesda residents are expressing anger against our elected officials for failing to provide sufficient public space and parkland in the developments they approve, Moukarim is a new resident and new mom who is finding solace in the spaces that do exist around town. The native of Lebanon photographs these spaces, prints them out, and then creates layered paintings juxtaposing the private and public spaces in her life.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ugh Westwood II. Get rid of that ugly concrete canyon like building and replace it with an empty patch of grass.

Anonymous said...

Art! Thank you for the info!
Why the dig at Jenna North? She's also been a professor of Art at PrattMWP in Utica, NY. And had a residency at the National Art Gallery. Her work is stunning. Everyone should check it out.

Robert Dyer said...

2:20: Where was there a "dig at Jenna North?" Not in the comments, and certainly not in my article. No clue what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

Yes you do. Your readers aren't dummies.
I'm sorry for that @2:20PM. You deserved an honest reply to an honest question.
Dyer thinks only his nemesis posts in the comments and attacks.

My guess is he's offended by the anti-fracking talk.

Robert Dyer said...

4:53: Where is the "dig at Jenna North," then?