Raya Bodnarchuk This Is a True Picture of How It Was

Presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art
On view through August 8, 2021

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Read the exhibition catalog online

Raya Bodnarchuk installation image

Photo credit: Greg Staley

Abstract closeup of flowers

A Euphorbia, August 8, 2018. #1714. Watercolor on Rives BFK, 4 x 7 in.

Rocks by the edge of a stream

Wild Water, February 18, 2018. #1543. Watercolor on Rives BFK, 4 x 7 in.

“Little Bear,” September 18, 2018.

Little Bear, September 18, 2018. #1755. Watercolor on Rives BFK, 4 x 7 in.

Abstracted cherry blossoms

More Blossoms Nearby, April 9, 2018. #1593. Watercolor on Rives BFK, 4 x 7 in.

Abstracted house under sky

It Was Pink Fog, February 26, 2018. #1551. Watercolor on Rives BFK, 4 x 7 in.

Abstracted snow on landscape

Some Snow on the Shrubs, January 19, 2019. Watercolor on Rives BFK, 4 x 7 in. All images courtesy of the artist.

Raya Bodnarchuk has been an essential part of the arts ecosystem in Washington, DC, since Glen Echo Park was reborn by the National Park Service as a Center for the Arts in 1974. She became one of its first Artists in Residence and gave fourteen years working and teaching to that community. Then, for thirty-two years, she was a faculty member during the golden age of the Corcoran College of Art & Design.

Through it all, Raya never wavered from her commitment to her art and to the craft of art, and to passing along to the next generation her knowledge of making and her modeling of what it means to be a true artist. She is best known for her sculpture, collages, and silkscreens. This exhibition of gouaches began as good advice for her students (“Do something you love every day”), and evolved into a brilliant chronicle of six years of her life beginning in 2013.

One thousand nine hundred twenty-six paintings later, the advice for her students, which she took herself, seems like good advice for all of us. It was the museum’s challenge to show every painting, in order, as a fitting celebration of Raya’s life as an artist.

Order the fully illustrated exhibition catalog. $15, plus taxes and shipping. Email museum@american.edu.