This year, GRACE updated the concept of the biannual Mary B. Howard Artist Member Exhibition–named in honor of our former Board Member and Reston artist Mary Howard in recognition of her unprecedented $100,000 bequest to GRACE to support local artists–with STRETCH. Five local artists were selected by Guest Curator Don Russell and GRACE Associate Curator and Festival Director Erica Harrison to create new work based on their proposals responding to the prompt, “If you could do anything, what would that be?” The participating artists are:
James Huckenpahler is an artist, educator, and curator based in DC and working mainly in digital media. For STRETCH, he will make large digital prints of a three-dimensional landscape of his x-rayed laptop. He has taught extensively at The Corcoran School of Art and at George Washington University. He is a member of FURTHERMORE, a research and development lab for visual culture and sustainable art communities, is a fellow of Provisions Research Library, and currently serves on the advisory board of Transformer, DC.
Monroe Isenberg is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, and is a sculptor and installation artist working mainly in wood and steel. He will create an immersive installation that investigates the relationships that become apparent in the space between the spirit world and ourselves. He has exhibited across the nation and his work can currently be seen publicly at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota and exhibited locally at the Hillyer Art Space and the Washington Project for the Arts, among others.
Katie Kehoe works in performance, interdisciplinary sculpture, and drawing. She often incorporates installation, site-specificity, photography, and video in to her work. She is currently investigating ecological concerns through performances of walking around in places that are anticipated to be underwater due to climate change. She documents herself carrying or wearing hand-made life-jacket, life ring, bodyboards, and buoys, that she has meticulously made from salvaged materials. She received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, was awarded runner-up for the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, and has held residencies at VisArts and Vermont Studio Center.
Melanie Kehoss received an MFA in Studio Art-Graphics from University of Wisconsin-Madison and works mainly with light boxes. For STRETCH, she will explore the origins of food related phenomena related to the history of sugar. She currently teaches at Arlington Arts Center and has held residencies at Georgetown University, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, and Vermont Studio Center. She has exhibited nationally and has had solo exhibitions at Hillyer Art Space and Arlington Arts Center.
Harry Mayer is an emerging artist based in Virginia, currently pursuing a BFA in Sculpture at George Mason University. Often using construction materials, he draws upon mundane every day experiences and humor to create his sculptures. He proposes to give the viewer a visceral experience that encourages a sense of playfulness. He has exhibited locally at the Northern Virginia Community College.
About Guest Curator Don Russell
Don Russell has been an active contemporary art curator and arts administrator since 1979. His research focuses on the exploration and development of new social contexts for art. He is currently George Mason University’s University Curator, responsible for programming exhibitions and public art on the Fairfax, Manassas, and Arlington campuses. Additionally, he directs Provisions Research Center for Art & Social Change, providing creative resources for community-engaged public art projects. He is co-founder with Edgar Endress of Floating Lab Collective.
Russell has extensive experience managing and directing contemporary arts, philanthropic, and publishing ventures. He is President of Art Resources International and previously served as Executive Director of Washington Project for the Arts and had various leadership roles at Visual Studies Workshop.