Five months after it opened its doors to the public, City Gallery is already trying something new. The art gallery at 804 H St. NE recently opened a juried exhibition, the first of its kind.
Sixty-nine local artists within a 75-mile radius of D.C. submitted 199 pieces in hopes of winning first or second place or one of three honorable mentions. Submissions ranged from sculptures, ceramics and glass to photos and paintings.
Visitors can see the top winners, most of them paintings or photographs, at City Gallery’s first regional competition.
Diana Derby took first place with her oil on canvas “Witness No 7.” The painting depicts a flustered-looking little boy standing next to a woman who appears to be his mother. The boy’s intense gaze makes viewers wonder what he’s thinking.
Second place went to Sabine Carlson’s “Pale Dog Running.” The picture shows the outlines of three dogs, one turquoise, one yellow and one gray, among a barren landscape with helicopters following above.
Upon a closer look, viewers will notice that the yellow dog has a red belly and red hind leg while the green dog is running in the opposite direction.
According to the artist, the dog with the red foot is injured and “has fire in his belly,” and the one on his own path is taking a risk that the others were unwilling or unable to take.
“This imagery lets me visualize ways in which power and vulnerability intertwine,” said Carlson, who lives in College Park.
One honorable mention, “Outside the Gasworks Wall,” will have visitors staring at its canvas for several minutes.
The piece, created by Cavan Fleming, has random pictures of animals, an elderly woman in a flowery dress, children standing under skyscrapers and an oil derrick.
Visitors will wonder how the images piece together or what story Fleming is trying to tell.
Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, judged the competition.
“He has a heck of a reputation and is known for his fabulous eye,” said Ellen Cornett, principal and co-founder.
Cornett, a pastel painter, founded the gallery with photographer Geoff Ault and street art creator Phil Hutinet.
The trio opened City Gallery to give under-represented local artists from the eastern community of D.C. a “permanent home.”
“We wanted to reach out to the Washington neighborhoods’ art communities and give them a chance to be seen,” Cornett said.
According to Carlson, the gallery has done exactly that: “Galleries such as City Gallery help further interaction between and amongst artists, and here they have created a place where we can reach out to new viewers.”
The art pieces are on sale for $200 to $2,300.
The exhibition is free and open on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. through Aug. 28.