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  • Writer's pictureAnn Marie Coolick

Winter Respite at the Katzen

The new winter exhibits at the Katzen Arts Center headlined by Washington, DC artist Julie Wolfe evoke a quiet sense of purpose with timely themes of peace, inclusion, environment, remembrance, and relationships.

Julie Wolfe's "Third Paradise" exhibit, inspired by Pistoletto's concept of a third paradise, presents a hopeful worldview for an earthen paradise where humans interact peacefully and productively both individually and collectively for the prosperity of our natural world and universe. The exhibit is an optimistic vision as well as a presentation of realities that include abstract maps reminiscent of Joan Miro's surrealist doodles, diagrams painted onto salvaged pages of antique art books, colorful scientific experiments, and miniature worldly artifacts representing what is at stake. Diversity and inclusion are also a clear theme in Wolfe's work; her color wheels are a metaphor for equality for all beings, with the white negative space representing areas of inequality.

Above left and below: Green Room 2 by Julie Wolfe.

Above: Julie Wolfe (left) speaking to a class of American University students in front of her piece Cultural Values.

The winter exhibits at the Katzen also include a large showing of paintings by the late DC Color Field artist Howard Mehring. His work is reminiscent of Morris Louis and Ken Noland, with many pieces having a color palette similar to Helen Frankenthaler. Below: Detail of Amarillo by Howard Mehring, 1958.

The second level galleries include the thought-provoking group exhibit New Ruins curated by Danielle Mysliwiec and Natalie Campbell. One of the artists highlighted, Brie Rauis, creates large-scale fossil-like clay sculptures incorporating copper as a means to document the movement of her hands and body while highlighting the importance of touch and human presence in our digital era. Below: Spreading out from Copper, glazed ceramic, copper leaf, hardware, by Brie Rauis.

Finally, don't miss a special exhibit in the gallery lobby including portraits of the legendary designer Coco Chanel by her friend, female artist Marion Pike. Many of Pike's paintings are of Chanel in her workshop amongst a plentitude of luxurious fabrics. Below: Chanel in her Atelier, 1967, Marion Pike.**

The winter exhibits at the Katzen are open through March 12th (**the Pike/Chanel show closes February 12th). Read more about upcoming programming here.

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