pick #5

Cynthia Connolly
Lillipwaup Washington, 10-23-98, 2005
gelatin silver print, edition 3/7
11 x 14 inches
$600 via Transformer’s Flat File

This post is all about DC. Washington, DC is home to a thriving art scene that (almost) no one knows about. Tucked away in the shadows of the Smithsonian Museums and other historical attractions, DC has lots of arts spaces and an extensive network of artists living and working in the city. We have a range of contemporary art galleries that follow the typical gallery model, and an almost equal amount of non-profit art spaces that follow a different model – one that allows them the freedom to showcase more experimental works and works by artists at all stages of their career.

One such place is, Transformer. Co-founded by two of the cities loudest advocates for the arts, Jayme McLellan and Victoria Reis, this place has felt like home-base to artists and collectors in DC. It’s located in a teeny sliver of a commercial row house that’s now situated next to DC’s busiest Whole Foods. Throughout its 15-year life span, the organization has presented thought provoking exhibitions, and programming that extends beyond it’s tiny walls.

They have a program called ‘flat file’ that showcases smaller, unframed, and often more affordable artworks by DC-based artists. Finding works from the file used to entail a visit to the gallery to sift through the available works in the drawers, but lo and behold, it is now online and we can click click our way through it all.

My pick from the files is by an iconic DC artist, Cynthia Connolly. Her black and white photography is rich with texture from her skillful manipulatio of (old school) darkroom photography techniques. In her work, she pays clever attention to how landscape and graphics interact. She has a series of photos of Ice Boxes that she captured while traveling across the country. As an aside, Connolly was also heavily involved in DC’s punk scene and traveled extensively with the label, Dischord  Records, documenting shows and the U.S. along the way.

These stoic iceboxes have become somewhat of a trademark of hers, and it’s my favorite series. There’s a lot of nostalgia there, and I love how they’re like dinosaurs in the desert. Read more about Cynthia and her art here>>.
And I encourage you to peruse the whole flat file and get a taste of DC artists here>>