Gallery co-founders and curators Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith successfully transformed their gallery space, once an auto mobile warehouse, into a parallel universe, with an eclectic selection of works in varying media from large stain paintings through to mystifying light emitting diodes. Works included pieces from some of Washington’s leading abstract artists, such as: Morris Louis, Alma Thomas, Howard Mehring, Leo Villareal and Jeremy Blake. Like moths flocking to the crimson illumination of Villareals’ digital light sculpture, Sky (2009), the opening reception welcomed some of he areas’s most influential art patrons, including collectors Mera and Jennifer Rubell, Mark Ein, Lorie Peters and Robert Shapiro, as well as Yvonne Force Villareal of the Art Production Fund and Anne Schwartz Delibert, the mother of the late Jeremy Blake.
With the show paying tribute to early color painters, gallery director Leigh Conner talked about how the innovative spirit of Washington color painting was a catalyst for the exciting cultural life that flourished in Washington while John F. Kennedy was in office. She invited the audience to consider “the parallels between the presidencies of J.F.K and Barack Obama, which recently have been posited in the media, and ask ourselves: If a new Camelot is coalescing in Washington, will this impetus find expression in the visual arts?”
When the sun finally set the gallery moved into another dimension with the extremity of the colors and scale of the works becoming exaggerated. Said Leigh Conner, “Light was an essential factor, not only in the presentation of the art in the exhibit, but also in the artists’ conceptions for the work”. Connor Contemporary Art didn’t disappoint and with the exhibition only open until the 31st October 2009 make sure you pay a visit before this light flickers out.
Conner Contemporary is located at 1358-60 Florida Avenue, NE-Washington, DC 20002 in the Atlas/H Street Historic District. Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11-5pm. www.connercontemporary.com