Sunday, October 29, 2006

Uber: Wearable Art 9

Sneak peek...

At the jurying on October 25, 1708 Gallery board members debated into the night to choose this year’s participants.

The selected Wearable Art9 artists are:

Angie Bacskocky, Matthew Ballard, Jessica Bauserman, Colby Beck, Samantha Belcher,
Britta L. Bielak (of 1708 Forum fame...), Kevin
Blow, Marina Brock + Jane Janeczek, Ruthie Carl, Diana Cavanaugh, Courtney Blair Chappell, Oscar F Contreras, Josie Davis, Jackie Davison, Lauren Elliott, Stevie French + Michael Smith, Stuart Harnsberger, Ashley Hawkins + Jenna Robison, Sarah Holden, Matt Holt, Colleen Judge, Shannon V Kesler, Kaitlin Koch, Adam Krehbiel, Betsy Kurz (work featured above!), Caitlin C. Latham, Jackie Lee, Austin McAdams, Kristin Mekenna, Zac Monday (work featured below!), Megan Mueller, Sarah Perry, Rachel Podolsky, Douglas W Rieger. Meg Roberts, Beryl C. Robinson, Jennifer Rossi, April Sage, Jackie
Small, Josefina Stephens, Nedim Sudic (work featured above!), Maggie Sullivan (also in the 1708 Forum), Kinh Tran, Amy Williams, Wickett W
illiams and Emily Wright.

Look for works made out of just about everything imaginable - spoons, pipe cleaners, coffee cups, trash bags, playing cards, rice paper, panty hose, receipts, even pink flamingos...

The 9th Annual Wearable Art Fashion Show will dazzle downtown Richmond, on November 11, 2006 at La Différence in Shockoe Bottom. A creative fusion of fashion, sculpture, media, and performance, Wearable Art is a signature Richmond event supporting 1708 Gallery, contemporary art and emerging talent.


Tickets: (call 804.643.1708)
$45 General Admission | $25 Students
$1000 Fashionista (Full Table: 8 seats) | $500 Icon (Half Table: 4 seats) | $250 Trend Setter (Quarter Table: 2 seats)
: La Différence, 125 South 14th Street
8PM (doors open at 7pm)

ÜBER Sponsors include:
Sally Brown, The Bruce Ford Brown Charitable Trust, La Difference International
Furnishings, Rockfish Graphix, John Malinoski, Nesbit, and A Sharper Palate.

Wearable Art is chaired by fashion forward 1708 Board Members: Jennifer Golisch, John Haddad, and Amanda Macdonald, and we thank them very much for all their innumerable hours of organizing and fine-tuning.
High resolution images available upon request.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Go see a dance performance!

While you are out and about this weekend, make plans to see At the Edge of Grace, the concert of new and recent works choreographed and performed by the wonderful faculty at VCU Dance. I can't even begin to tell you how fortunate we are to have these amazing dancers and choreographers in town. Don't miss!
Contact Lea Marshall (yes! of Ground Zero Dance fame!)( for more information.

VCU Dance presents At The Edge of Grace

2006 Faculty Concert

Richmond, VA – Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Dance and Choreography presents At The Edge of Grace, a concert of new and recent work choreographed by VCU Dance faculty members Martha Curtis, Scott Putman, Melanie Richards, Judith Steel, and Jill Brammer Ware. Friday & Saturday, October 27 & 28, 2006, 8:00 PM at the Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA. Tickets are $15 on sale at the door. Rambucks accepted. For more information, contact the Grace Street Theater at 804-828-2020 or

At the Edge of Grace features an eclectic collection of work by open, curious minds, and promises an evening of humor, thoughtfulness, and compelling performance.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Forum: Vita Litvak

Vita Litvak

Intuition guides my practice; ideas are rooted in a feeling, a gut reaction and take form through observation and interaction with the world. In the act of photographing, I engage in a kind of dance, a struggle to distill the image from the scene. Organization, editing and installation processes are creative functions in which subliminal ideas come into consciousness. I utilize the photographic medium to explore a concurrent existence of two worlds – the exterior and interior.

While several prevalent themes reappear in the work it is my intention to avoid a singular thesis. I’m drawn to the diverse and enigmatic nature of the real, as well as its psychological implications. In investigating modes of perception and psychological being the work evokes universal themes of loss, isolation, impermanence, innocence and desire. These underlying concepts unite the work but also create a tension between the impenetrable surface of the image and its symbolic depth.

In sequencing and installations I use scale, formal and thematic variations to explore narrative and spatial possibilities. The photograph is an object that has power to express ideas autonomously and in the context of a large body of work. The numerous layers of meaning revealed when images are placed in proximity of each other create a complex and multidimensional narrative structure. The format and scale considerations explore ways in which a photographic object might effect and activate the three-dimensional space of the viewer.

Vita Litvak is an MFA candidate at VCU Photography. She and 7 other graduate art students from VCU, UVA and JMU participated in 1708 Gallery's Graduate Artist Invitational Forum on October 14th. Her work in part of the 1708 Forum show at Capital One in Richmond.

The Forum: Maggie Sullivan


Maggie Sullivan

I am working from a premise that I am like everyone else, and thus we seem to all suffer the pains of self-loathing, of uncertainty in our identity, of the obstacles of communication. Language and its words are shoddy tools, and we are all frustrated. We are taught that we are not alone—my body can touch your body—but we learn that we are, in fact, isolated. We are a species whose identity hinges on the mind, and minds seldom meet each other.

My viewers know this, each from living her own life. I cannot use the vocabulary of philanthropy or pedagogy, as I am not enlightening anyone. I am in the position merely of commiserating with my audience. I complain to them. I throw out anecdotes for them to respond with bitter nods of recognition.

Back in 2004, I made a book called Love Story wherein two versions of me happen to sit down together and nervously strike up a conversation, and in the end, they are getting along pretty well. I think of this as a mild success-story: tenuous self-cohesion. The commiserative anecdote is bittersweet. We laugh together at shared failure.

I am interested in the open-ended explorations of looking in the mirror; staring yourself down in the mirror. I am interested in the mirages that we see everywhere. Often, we do not love each other but fall in love with notions of each other that our minds build. We are heart-broken when we discover that our lover does not and never did exist. We grieve for them and feel deja-vu when regarding the body that we confused for this other person. We may build the notion of our selves--the identity--in a similar way and be traumatized by the shock of finding that we--the we we thought we were—does not exist either.

My audience is everyone. This is a human experience we all have; some in more iterations than others, but what is the sense of counting? We all have anecdotes: tales of the Catch-22, the mire, the state of limbo. We all know the grief of being fundamentally mistaken in our understanding of reality.

I am complaining to my audience or confiding in them. Co-misery is a goal, because co-misery precludes unique or lone misery. Grieving the loss of identity, of friends, of any scrap of certainty creates the illusion of unique suffering and isolation within the self. We feel cut off and abnormal. Sympathy and empathy are the roots of communication and understanding, and we must cultivate these faculties with which we are endowed. Commiseration is the airing of grievances. As we confide in each other, as we reveal our vulnerable and secret selves, our ugly selves, we create the possibility of accepting one another.

The displayed struggle is my model. I make self-portraits of shame, anti-heroism, self-horror, bereavement. I dress up as the struggling protagonist of Paul McCarthy and the entrapped protagonist of Cindy Sherman. I am opening my struggle for comparison and judgment in hopes that it is universally conquerable.

Maggie Sullivan was one of 7 students who participated in 1708 Gallery's Graduate Student Invitational Forum. She is studying art at UVA on a post-bacc fellowship. Her work is part of the 1708 Forum show at Capital One headquarters.

Wearable Art Jurying October 25, 5:30pm

We have heard your cries and your descriptions have intrigued us. Come with your wearable art works to the jurying this Wednesday, Oct 25, at 5:30pm even if you have not already submitted your entry form. We will catch up on the paperwork there.
Jurying: October 25, 5:30, VCU Fishbowl, Room 301, 1000 W. Broad Street

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Forum: Valerie Molnar

Valerie Molnar

Guerilla Knitting: The New Yoga

I knit to make loud, unapologetic paintings. I use the process of knitting to draw attention to the conventions and context of painting, while addressing the nature of handicraft, its associations, and what those associations mean in terms of today’s society. The conversation between the process of knitting and the context of painting plays an important role in what my pieces look like and what they communicate.

Knitting is a meticulous, repetitive, and unassuming process that is often used to create practical objects. The handcrafted object, because of its labor-intensiveness, communicates thoughts and emotions that a machine-made item can never produce. It comes from a personal hand that prevails, despite our ability to create efficiently and flawlessly with machines.

I never use machines; each stitch is made with love as an act of faith. I am retaining faith by working hard while using the connotations of painting to ennoble and create an analytical environment. I understand that it is not solely the lack of functionality that lets these objects exist as paintings. I make colorful images in light of, and make reference to, important art historical movements such as Post Painterly Abstraction so that these objects, which are made by a humble and mundane process, are seen as images that can be respected and contemplated.

From one angle they can be approached as formalistic images as I employ training in terms of color choice, pattern and composition in an attempt to bait the viewer with a visceral, visual experience. I want them to be beautiful and seductive as paintings. From a different perspective, when approached as objects, the materiality can be contemplated. These geometric, at times cold formalist images become easily approachable and non-threatening because of the familiarity of the material. Viewers will have to explore their associations to make the connection between the materiality and the image.

Valerie Molnar is an MFA candidate with VCU's Painting and Printmaking Department. She was nominated to present her work at 1708 Gallery's Graduate Artist Forum on October 14th. She and her 7 colleagues are in group exhibition at Capital One Headquarters. Which looks great, by the way! Thank you to Francis Thompson, Nicole DeArmendi and Randy Hess for installation and support at Capital One on last Thursday, and also to Valerie and Britta Bielak for coming to install and for their support of their colleagues.

Stay tuned for more Forum artists...

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Forum: Dave Bascom

David Bascom: icon

The individuals I have chosen to represent are who I perceive to be some of the most important political and celebrity figures in contemporary American society. These paintings are an attempt to examine how constant exposure to these images affects us and our perception of who these figures are. Additionally, the very nature of their manipulation informs our understanding of their cultural relevance and influence.

These paintings are not portraiture in the sense that they do not attempt to capture each individual's authentic self. Rather, they are portraits of their public persona; their character as defined by the massive amount of widely disbursed media imagery. While these personae are only loosely based on the true identities of the icons, they are incredibly influential aspects of our society as the public tends to define themselves in relation to these images.

My decision to paint these icons instead of representing them in other mediums is to draw attention to the ways in which these images are easily manipulated and massively distributed. I use different styles of paint-handling to parallel the media’s hand, affecting how each image is interpreted in relation to the subject matter. The intricacies of their painted surfaces can not however be truly reproduced, affording them the more careful contemplation of a unique object.

Additionally, the image saturation of our visual culture becomes pertinent as each character is molded further through its relation the others. For this reason, the juxtaposition between the hanging images works to recreate the media atmosphere.

Dave Bascom was nominated to 1708 Gallery's Graduate Art Student Forum and presented his new paintings on October 14th along with other nominees from UVA, VCU and JMU. He is an MFA candidate at JMU and is participating in the 1708 Forum group show at Capital One.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Forum: Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson, JMU: Artist Statement

My current work is an investigation into the psychological relationship between space and place, a space being a potential place, and place being space with purpose. My focus is primarily on inhabitable spaces and mainly formerly inhabited spaces. The driving question in the work is a desire to know what change takes place in regards to the function of an empty space, an abandoned place. The photographs made are not documents of that evolution, but instead are a testament to the end of an evolutionary process.

Growing up in a rural community, my interests lie in rural places. Buildings, cars, sheds, any structure that brings to mind images of rural life. I am drawn to the structures that I make photographs of simply by observing my surroundings. Once I began to look for abandoned structures like these, I discovered that they occur more commonly than I had once thought. They are often overlooked and right around the corner.

The photographs I create are large-scale black and white silver prints. The pictures are circular, made through a door peephole affixed to the camera lens in the lens cap. The circles float in a black space on the paper that implies the separation of the viewer and the subject. Through the artifice of the picture making process, the viewer is shown again that separation. The cold, eerie feeling from the graininess of the pictures and the dreamlike quality of the line distortion give the viewer a sense of the mystery within the image. For me, the pictures are part ritual and partially about breathing new life back into what was once forgotten. The pictures are not a social comment on our culture, rather an acknowledgment of human nature.

Daniel Robinson participated in 1708 Gallery's Graduate Artist Invitational Forum. He and 7 colleagues from JMU, UVA and VCU presented their new art and will be in a group show at Capital One Headquarters in Richmond.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

THE FORUM: Britta Bielak

Britta Bielak, UVA: Artist Statement

I’ve been in competition with memory since the first pauses of my late adolescence; muted by my mind’s absences, waiting helplessly for the recollections to surface. My elusive memories estranged me from my own life. A body of exasperation, research, and experimentation, my work confronts my nostalgia for this loss of control.

I had to find new ways to thrive in my ongoing rivalry with memory, and called on my senses for reinforcement. As active participants in years of collecting and storing memory, my sensory stockrooms gave me more wholesome ways of remembering. My recent work sprouted with buttery and cracked textures, stenches, and melodies as my memory fragments grew into monumental sculptural spaces. People engaged my singing headpieces and watched me curling my body across the floor, pulling my sculptures through the air. Senses stimulated, there was greater yet still insufficient resolution; everyone was mourning all we surrender to memory.

Refusing to embrace memory’s inevitable fracturing and continual decay, my current work transcends the truncation of both mental and sensory memories. Including hair, earlobes, and the skin of our elbows, these body sites are passive in the moments of living. Termed “dead sites,” by their lack of cellular growth, independent movement, or sensory reception, these witnesses have records of living that can be trusted to fill mind-memories with accuracy and richness.

Exposing these “dead sites,” drawing their warehouses of observation to the body’s surface for release; this is my art practice. Onion membranes, rinds, and nutshells are harvested and morphed into incubators. Isolating each “dead site,” these petite incubators revive and hatch the memory collections inside. Here poetry and innovation merge, making my sculptures simultaneously specimens of science and child-like imagination. This innocence and candidness of my incubators offers a new approach and solution to our natural human voids and imperfections: rather than rely on the inadequacy of medicating symptoms in my synthetic habitat, my practice provides a potentially nature-healing-nature triumph over memory.

The work of Tim Hawkinson, Lee Bontecou, and Samuel Beckett’s play Happy Days, challenge and inform the imagery and conceptual processing of memory in my work. Their perceptions and appropriations of nature and humanness into their art help charge the penetration of memory in my drawings, incubators, and interactive sculptures. Throughout my practice, my work evades vulnerable submission to these innate mental voids; my work has built a beautiful home in this purgatory as a memory activist.

Britta Bielak participated in October 14th's Graduate Artist Invitational Forum at 1708 Gallery.
You can see reviews and more work here.
Participate in the comments section to continue the critical dialogue started at the Forum.

Monday, October 16, 2006

FORUM: Amy Chan

Amy Chan, VCU: Artist Statement

My paintings portray the "new ecosystems" that are created in America as a result of the close crowding of human development and nature. By pairing big box stores with species of displaced North American mammals or traces of their habitats, my paintings question the American attitude towards nature and suburban sprawl.

The fragmented landmasses that occur frequently in my work are related to my notions of suburban landscape, particularly those of the East Coast. They are crowded areas where homes, wetlands, strip malls and 18th century graveyards all occupy the same space.

My process involves the gathering and implementation of appropriated imagery from a variety of sources. Because my work is essentially about the American landscape, travel and road trips are a large part of my research, along with my continuing interest in logos, architecture, scientific illustration and pattern.

Amy Chan is a graduate student at VCU Painting and Printmaking and participated in October 14th's Forum at 1708 Gallery.
We hope that our blog viewers will give feedback on the Forum artists work in the comments section and continue the critical dialogue.

You can see more of her art here and here and here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

THE FORUM: Amanda Sauer

This week we are featuring the works of some of Virginia's finest visual arts graduate students. who participated in 1708 Gallery's Forum on October 14th. Professor Carole Garmon, from the University of Mary Washington, and N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions at University of Richmond Museums were our guest critics and moderators for the event.
Amanda Sauer, a VCU Photo MFA candidate, was nominated by her department chair to this year's Forum. Along with 7 other graduate visual artists, she presented her work at 1708 and will participate in a group show at Capital One.
We hope that our blog visitors will continue the discourse started at the Forum and will give the artists feedback on their work in the comments.

Amanda Sauer's artist statement: I explore areas around my home in Richmond to discover places where something a little magical might occur, even if only in the reaction of light and film inside the camera. In many of my photographs, I set up the camera in an interesting location and simply wait for something to happen. I collect and use my images to construct a series where, both individually and together, the photographs begin to suggest a narrative. My stories are always deeply rooted in the relationship between humans and the natural world. Nature plays many roles in my work; she is a stage for people’s dramas, an imagined realm, a source of wonder, a cage, a controlled and artificial environment, or even a myth. Together my photographs tell of a journey in search of a perfect place that, of course, can never be reached.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


1708 Gallery is pleased to present the graduate student FORUM on October 14th, beginning at 5pm at 1708 Gallery. This year, for the first time, the event will be open to the public.

The Virginia Invitational Forum for Art Students (THE FORUM) is a newly expanded semi-annual invitational for graduate and undergraduate art students from Virginia¹s colleges and universities. Students are nominated by their departments and invited to present their most recent work for critique by their peers, professional artists, curators and community members.

THE FORUM on October 14, will feature nominated students from James Madison University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Participating students include:
From UVA: Maggie Sullivan and Britta Bielak
From JMU: Dave Bascom and Daniel Robinson
From VCU: Painting and Printmaking: Amy Chan and Valerie Molnar
From VCU: Photography: Amanda Sauer and Vita Litvak.

THE FORUM seeks to honor emerging artists with the opportunity to engage in critical art dialogue with members of the art community. This promises to be an extraordinary slide show and discussion where each student will show work and speak about processes and influences. This year¹s event will be moderated by Professor Carole Garmon from the University of Mary Washington and by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond Museums. Ms. Garmon is a practicing artist who helped start the Slide Slam tradition that grew into THE FORUM. Ms. Schlatter will co-curate the exhibition Plane Text at 1708 Gallery in June-July 2007.

1708 Gallery is especially pleased to offer this year¹s FORUM students a group show at
Capital One Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. This is the first time the gallery has been able to specifically offer FORUM participants the opportunity to be in a show. 1708 is grateful to Capital One for offering this exciting partnership.

1708 Gallery' Education & Outreach is chaired by Fiona Donaghey Ross.


Friday, October 06, 2006

A slide show and new link documenting 1708 teamwork

Click here to see a slide show of 1708 teamwork during the installation of
Craig Wedderspoon's sculpture.

There is also a new sidebar link under the 1708 Archive (to your left) which can be updated regularly with photos that document 1708's teamwork, volunteers and members.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wearable Art #9 Update!

über wearable art 9

3 things you need to know!

The deadline for entry submission has been extended to Friday, October 20th.
Please use the attached entry form to send us your Uber ideas.
The Jury Session is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25th, at 5:30 p.m. at VCU’s
Fishbowl -Room 301, 1000 West Broad Street (3rd floor.)
Due to the gracious generosity of several donors, the entry fee has been
underwritten for student entries to this year’s event. Students who have
already submitted entries will be credited. Please contact the gallery at
804/643-1708 for further information.

October 20th: Entries due to 1708 Gallery
October 25th: Jury Session at VCU Fish Bowl
October 27th: Students notified about participation
November 1: Dress Rehearsal at The Valentine Museum
November 11: Wearable 9

We look forward to hearing from you over the next several weeks and meeting
you at the Jury Session on October 25th. Best of luck on your creative

Richmond Outdoor Sculpture Update

Vaughn Garland Says: YOUR VOTES COUNT!

The 2006 Richmond Outdoor Sculpture exhibition has added

a new twist to this year's event!

Our panel has met.

We started with seventeen sculptures and narrowed it down to three sculptures.
This outdoor exhibition is done for the community, so this year we decided it should be the community who decides this year's winner of the

2006 Richmond Outdoor Sculpture exhibition.

All you have to do is go to

to cast your vote.

Select one sculpture from the three listed
and tell us who should be this year's winner.
You have until October 15, 2006 to cast your vote.
The selected artist of the 2006 Richmond Outdoor Sculpture exhibition receives a solo show at artspace in the main gallery in 2007.
Let us know which sculpture you think is the strongest and why.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Amazing Grace

1708 Gallery opens the windows to large sculptures!

Two of sculptor Craig Wedderspoon's pieces needed to come through the gallery's front window because they were too big for any of our doors. Richmond Glass removed the glass, ten people helped bring in one 1000 pound sculpture (!!) and another aluminum piece.
At the same time, our neighbors at Quirk had a lift out in front of their gallery putting a "tree sweater" on their tree. Things are happening on our block. Weird, graceful and dangerous things. And that is why we are here.
Craig will exhibit three pieces of sculpture on the gallery's floor, Eleanor Rufty will have the walls, and together the work has a vibrant elegance that you will just have to experience in person...
The opening is on Friday. See you there.

Monday, October 02, 2006

First Friday - Eleanor Rufty and Craig Wedderspoon

Drawings: Eleanor Rufty - Large Drawings
Bent: Craig Wedderspoon- Large Sculpture

OPENING: Friday, October 6, from 7-10pm

Eleanor Rufty’s large-scale drawings are based on fictional figurative imagery set in an elusive interior space, a motif consistent in Rufty’s work since 1980. Drawing from memory, Rufty explores the nature of visual memory; it is gradual, amorphous and fallible. Rufty’s charcoal drawings emphasize the linear element. Lines are made directly and repeatedly, establishing a mood derived through erasure.

The sculpture of Craig Wedderspoon is a cycle of asking and discovering solutions to a problem. Wedderspoon’s sculpture is activated with the dialogue of visual problem solving. His work represents a visual philosophy, constantly issuing aesthetic challenges toward interpretation, perspective, and approach.

Craig Wedderspoon, Shimmy (above)

Eleanor Rufty, Untitled No. 93 (right)