Note: This article was written in December 2013 for a Reporting class, as part of a regional beat assignment. I drew Rockville, Maryland out of a hat.
The art community in Rockville feels much farther away from the art community in DC than the 20 minute commute might lead one to believe, and that’s a good thing. The difference is best characterized by the very apparent support that individuals in the local art community offer each other, and competition appears to be a significantly smaller factor.
The Rockville Art League, founded in 1957, organizes two art shows a year. The Dec. juried member art show will have its open reception on Dec. 8 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m, in the Glenview Mansion art gallery, and will be open to the public at no cost until the end of the month. The combination of beautiful estate and public gallery makes this a great choice for a holiday day trip out of the city.
173 pieces from 91 different members of the art league were submitted, and 97 were chosen for display in the gallery by judge John Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.
Rasmussen said the Rockville Art League is “serious, very well organized, and absolutely dedicated,” but also a sort of 180 degree turn from the art communities in DC. “At this point, it’s kind of like an arcane craft that you actually know how to paint with oil representationally. It’s knowledge that isn’t being transferred from one generation to the next now,” he said, “Nobody’s doing that outside of Rockville, but I appreciate how well [Marian Mackerer, 1st VP and show coordinator,] has done it. You gotta go for that.”
There’s definitely a lot to see. Two of the most unique pieces in the gallery, both submitted by Liliane Blom, are digital paintings. The digital paintings start as photographs, are manipulated on a computer, and then are printed onto canvas. Finally, Blom paints on the printed image, and the results are beautiful. The piece “Blackbirds on the Burning Bush” won first place in the mixed media category, and it is the first thing to greet visitors entering the gallery.
Two sculptures submitted by Floyd Roberts also stand out. They are made of found materials, a lot of it bronze, and worked into very creative pieces. One of them, a life-size copper pig, won third in the sculpture category, and the creativity put into how the pieces fit together make it one of the most appealing representations of livestock you’ll see this year.
The piece named best in show, Sally Drew’s “Asparagi,” is a beautiful watercolor of the titular subject, and the technical proficiency behind it is representative of the pieces displayed in the gallery.
Such as Mackerer, who submitted two pieces to the show in addition to coordinating it. Although she always considered herself crafty, she has only been working in art since 2007 and it doesn’t show at all. She has a lot more work on display this winter, too. Currently, her work is featured in the Montgomery Art Association gallery located in Westfield Wheaton Mall, and next month more of her work will be on display in Glenview Mansion as part of The Pâté Painters.
The Dec. show will run until the 31st, and all items are up for sale with 20 percent of every sale going to the City of Rockville. The Rockville Art League will host another event in the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery, opening on March 2. It is the Annual Student Art Show, and all submissions will be from children K-12 living or attending school in Rockville. There is a lot of art to see in Rockville over the next few months, make sure to take a day to go see some of it. There is a large, supportive and active community of artists that are constantly putting more out there for the public.