REVIEW: Local artists display their unique styles at the Zenith Gallery’s ‘New Art… New Wave’ exhibit
Artists reveal their artistic mediums through carefully crafted pieces, from authentic wood sculptures to deeply emotional art narratives
You might say that there is nothing more hypnotizing than walking into a gallery and diving into each painting, imagining its historical backgrounds and its motives, observing its textures, its compositions and the emotions it evokes.
The “New Art… New Wave” exhibition at the Zenith Gallery evokes that same kind of mesmerizing reaction. According to the assistant gallery manager, Isabella Ionni, the exhibition inherited its name from the notion that the presented art is freshly created and because it showcases intriguing sensations that are becoming so relevant in today’s art movements. The exhibition features three Black artists who relate major themes of personal identity and emotional perceptions to the ongoing social issues of the United States.
Ionni further explained that the gallery is giving these three local artists the space to convey their artistic viewpoints and showcase their work for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia community.
Bulsby “Buzz” Duncan: “The Grind” and “Jumping Rope”
As an artist, Bulsby “Buzz” Duncan handles social issues such as police brutality, mass incarceration and gun violence through his artwork. According to Ionni, he is known for deep emotional aspirations and energetic presence in his pieces. In this exhibition, Buzz also showcases daily experiences of Black children in America, whether it be playing basketball in “The Grind,” or playing jump rope games with your friends in “Jumping Rope.” Buzz’s exhibits have a lot of color and motion that bring the viewer into the vividness and movement of the paintings. When looking long enough at the main character dribbling the balls in “The Grind,” it feels as if he's coming out of the painting.
Ram Brisueño: “Embrace Your Magic”
Ram Brisueño, a Baltimore-based artist, emphasizes themes of personal identity and social perceptions through his mystical art pieces. He uses acrylics, collages and watercolors in order to highlight texture, color and form of the surreal aesthetic. The particular motif in Brisueño’s artwork is his experience of his childhood home burning down. The only image of him as a child that was saved from the fire was a picture of Brisueño in his red overalls. In his carefully crafted piece, “Embrace Your Magic,” observers can envision that little boy in the overalls as Brisueño himself with a touch of surrealism and mythical illustration.
Bernie Houston: “Down Court”
Bernie Houston, an artist who has traveled around the Chesapeake Bay, carefully picked out driftwood to create unique sculptures for the “New Art… New Wave” exhibition. His one-of-a-kind pieces are inspired by the natural design structure of the wood itself. According to Ionni, Houston envisions the sculptures when he meticulously picks them out in nature. In his “Down Court” sculpture, Houston makes sure to sustain the wood’s original form while also bringing to life his well-thought-out visualization of a basketball player dribbling the ball. His appreciation for the beauty of nature inspires the audience to see something magical in twigs and branches.
As the winter season approaches us and the trees are starting to lose their glowing greenery, finding beauty and inspiration in the wood itself is just as magical and breathtaking.