Art and the City

Artist Profile: Carol Newmyer

Finding the Balance sculpture

It’s easy to connect with the sculptures of Carol Newmyer. Maybe it’s their dramatic movement—the rhythms that began in the origins of life. 

Her “Eurythmy” dance figures are based on the movements of the Pilobolis dance troupe, with their almost impossible configurations and contortions. In other works, such as “Roots and Wings” and “Angle Rising,” Carol captures the fluid moments when spirits are released from the roots of mortality, escaping the grasp of drab reality and the tensions that are incubated in the starched regiments of ordinary ambition. 

With all of the twists and turns and feathery flights, it’s easy to forget the bronze permanence of the art form. That permanence is deceivably flexible. The “lost wax” process allows Carol to “work the wax,” creating a wonderfully physical connection.  It begins her love affair with each piece as her hands pull ideas and visions together to become visual music.

Carol graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in the District, and received a BFA in sculpture from the University of Georgia. She has been drawn to three-dimensional art for as long as she can remember. She became an apprentice and assistant to Margery Goldberg, wood sculptor and Zenith Gallery owner, while still in high school.  

Carol also creates jewelry, “wearable art,” which, like her sculptures of dance, allow the owners to rearrange the figures to create new groupings. Each is designed so that there is not a wrong way to reposition the figures. You can play with the forms as the situation requires, staying within her preconceived designs. 

The visual freedom, the visible music of a Carol Newmyer sculpture, is only possible through exacting processes—the command of bronze casting, and the push and pull of artistic tensions.

Carol’s sculpture and “wearable art” can be found at the A-RTS Festival at the Rockville Town Square, May 4-5 in Booth #209. Her work is always on display at the Zenith Gallery Salon (see At the Galleries). www.carolnewmyer.com. 

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art  

The optimal place to show your art is in a big room with white walls and good lighting, with a full-time person to talk up the art and take the money.  It is best located where you get a continuous parade of artsy-types walking by all day…dropping in with their dogs, kids and ice cream cones. I was involved in one such gallery on Capitol Hill.  It was on 7th St. SE, right smack between the Historic Eastern Market and the Metro. We sold scads of art, but ultimately not enough to pay the rent.

Art galleries come and go like any other class of business. In DC, they are going more than they are coming.  The main culprit, of course, is the quick-change neighborhood phenomena—low rent tonight, and high rent tomorrow.  Very high.

Also, DC is not an art destination. People come here to either work in government or manipulate it. Visiting lobbyists don’t buy paintings. Tourists visit the grand museums where they pick up a couple of roll-up posters that fit into the carry-on.  

So what’s an artist to do? More and more you can find good, if non-controversial rotating shows in the lobbies of hotels and commercial spaces. A cynical person might suggest that they are just decorating their lobbies for free, but they do provide a space for an opening reception, which can result in sales.

On the Hill, there is the Hill Center, 921 Penn Ave SE, the newest go-to place for art and culture. And, of course, CHAL, the Capitol Hill Arts League at 545 7th St. Zenith Galleries is now showing in various locations around town. (See Zenith 35). I have a painting at one of those places, 1495 F St., but my only permanent gallery is a big room with poor lighting and paneling: my basement.

 

At the Galleries

Albrecht Dürer
National Gallery of Art 
7th and Constitution NW
--June 9
“Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina” is not an exhibit to miss if you have any appreciation for art. It’s fair to say that Dürer (1471-1528) is a, if not the, master of drawing. The genius begins in the eye. He misses nothing. Drawings, warercolors, engravings, woodcuts…118 works in all. www.nga.gov.

 

Celebrating 35 Years   
Zenith Gallery
1429 Iris St. NW
Ongoing
The Zenith Gallery—the love, life and labor of Margery Goldberg—turns 35 this year. There used to be one principle venue for Zenith. The first opened in 1978 on Rhode Island Ave., and moved to 400 block of 7th St. NW in 1986, when the “Penn Quarter” was a seedy cluster of porn shops.  Zenith became a draw and then a hub for other art galleries, and the block became a local art destination. Guess what? The neighborhood got respect and a makeover, and the art galleries got the financial boot. 

Zenith, however, is too tough to die and too good for the District to just go away. Margery, of course, understands that survival in DC is a changing game. She has art displays and shows in commercial buildings around town. Her main gallery is now at her home at 1429 Iris St., NW. Go there. Drive up the street and you can’t miss it. The place rocks with art inside and out. It stands out from the rows of somber neighboring habitats like Carman Miranda in a convent. It’s a fun place. 

You see, Margery is a terrific and dedicated artist in her own right, but also has a total passion for the art of others. She surrounds herself with their visions as they come alive on paper, canvas, wood, bronze, and in any form solid or whimsical. There are sculptures in the front, and in her sunken sculpture garden in the back. The inside walls support every form of painting and hanging. The limitless colors don’t clash so much as dance. 

It’s always carnival time at Margery’s—it couldn’t be anything else. She represents over 40 artists and they are all right there—all the time.  If you’re looking to buy art, or just looking, this is the top gallery in town. www.zenithgallery.com. 

 

“Cherry Blossoms in Springtime”
Zenith Gallery
Washington DC Economic Partnership
1495 “F” St. NW
--May 31
These are works that share a link to the annual blossoming of the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin and the Jefferson Memorial. Some are direct representations, others celebrate the month of April, or just America. Bradley Stevens, Ken Girardini, Phil Hazard, Michela Mansuino and Jim Magner. They can be seen Mon-Fri, 9-5.  

www.zenithgallery.com.

A Capitol Hill artist and writer, Jim can be reached at Artandthecity05@aol.com. Jim’s award-winning book, “A Haunting Beauty” can be acquired through www.ahauntingbeauty.com.


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