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AU Museum Opens 2012 with Paintings as a Path to Enlightenment

Raoul Middleman, Fairfield, 2008, Oil on paper, 28 x 39.5 in.<br />

Raoul Middleman's Fairfield, 2008, an oil on paper will be on display at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center this winter.

The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center will open its 2012 season on Saturday, January 28, with four new exhibitions, including Anil Revri: Faith and Liberation through Abstraction, an exhibition of introspective works by artist Anil Revri, a native of New Delhi, India.
 
Revri, an alumnus of Washington’s Corcoran College of Art and Design, constructs his paintings on a grid, and the repetition of finely detailed geometric elements offers viewers numerous optical rewards. But these are also contemporary spiritual paintings analogous in their functions to Tantric Art, and its distant relation the Byzantine icon.


Byzantine icons were thought to be windows into heaven. Through the icon, the viewer could know God and experience the miraculous. It was expected the Byzantine iconographer would lead a life of prayer, meditation, and fasting. For Revri, too, as a Tantric Artist, painting is a spiritual act, an act requiring discipline and devotion.

“They are beautiful, their craft is breathtaking, but their success depends on whether they further us, and the artist, along in the process of enlightenment,” said Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.  

The exhibition is sponsored by the Indian Embassy.

In addition to Anil Revri: Faith and Liberation through Abstraction, three other exhibitions will open January 28 at the American University Museum—Gabarrón’s Roots, Raoul Middleman: City Limits, and Regaining our Faculties: Zoë Charlton, Tim Doud, Deborah Kahn, and Luis Manuel Cravo Silva.

Anil Revri: Faith and Liberation through Abstraction and Gabarrón’s Roots close Sunday, April 15.  

Raoul Middleman: City Limits and Regaining our Faculties: Zoë Charlton, Tim Doud, Deborah Kahn, and Luis Manuel Cravo Silva close Sunday, March 18.

First Time in D.C. for World Renowned Spanish Artist
When he was only 16 years old, Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón decided he was going to be an artist. By the age of 19, he was exhibiting regularly. Gabarrón, now in his 60s, has shown his paintings and sculptures in hundreds of exhibitions around the world, but never in Washington, D.C.   

In Gabarrón’s Roots, his exhibition at the American University Museum, vibrantly colored sculptures are larger than life, but human in scale and effect. His painted tondos (circular works of art) evoke archaeological and zoological mysteries. The exhibition is one of the museum’s continuing collaborations with the Embassy of Spain.

Baltimore’s Rust, Decay as Art
Works in the exhibition Raoul Middleman: City Limits explore the people and cityscapes making up the fringes of Baltimore. Middleman, a Baltimore native, who has been painting Baltimore-centered works for 50 years, explores the underbelly of post-industrial rot. His nudes are not pretty, but sagging, dimpled, and real.

Middleman’s works have been described as “intelligent, messy, and utterly masterful.”  Middleman taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art and his work is included among the collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Sabbatical Successes
In Regaining Our Faculties: Zoë Charlton, Tim Doud, Deborah Kahn, and Luis Manuel Cravo Silva, American University Department of Art faculty members who recently returned from sabbatical show through their new paintings, digital prints, and videos how taking some time away from work can result in personal artistic breakthroughs.