Washington City Paper

Cairn Sounds Answers the Question: Why Do We So Badly Want to Be Remembered? by Eames Armstrong

Since prehistory, humans have had a tendency to mark and remake the landscape. One such ancient way is a cairn, an intentional pile of stones often assembled, among other reasons, for wayfinding or to commemorate a loss.

At Hamiltonian Gallery, Rachel Schmidt’s Cairn Sounds is comprised of five interrelated sound and video installations, made in collaboration with musician om.era.kev. The exhibition pieces together a landscape that’s locationally distinct but uncanny: clouded sky; rocks rearing through grass and heather moor; sheep idling around, and the occasional patch of obfuscating glitch.

 Cairn Sounds Answers the Question: Why Do We So Badly Want to Be Remembered? by Eames Armstrong

"Best of DC 2017: D.C.'s Best Emerging-Artist Gallery" by Kriston Capps

When Hamiltonian Gallery opened at 14th and U Streets in 2007, it was something of an oddity. Paul So, a theoretical physicist and professor at George Mason University, launched his unlikely gallery as a way to give artists something akin to the post-doc model for professional opportunities available in the sciences. Every two years, Hamiltonian endows a new class of fellows: young and emerging artists who get a chance to show their work but also take in mentorship, seminars, grant-writing workshops, placement advice, and other benefits that artists can almost never expect, much less receive.

"Best of DC 2017: D.C.'s Best Emerging-Artist Gallery" by Kriston Capps

"At Hamiltonian Gallery, A Strong Showing From a Fresh Pair of Artists" by Kriston Capps

The dual exhibition of Nakeya Brown and Christie Neptune is a perfect example of how Hamiltonian Gallery has quietly emerged as one of the most important art spaces in the District.

"At Hamiltonian Gallery, A Strong Showing From a Fresh Pair of Artists" by Kriston Capps

"Hamiltonian Gallery's Latest Group Show Finds Camaraderie in Loneliness" by Kriston Capps

For practical purposes, all that really means is that the show’s eight artists, all Hamiltonian fellows, descended on Boston and made works about their experiences. Or at least, that’s where the show begins. For [recombinant] fellows: RA, two artists set out to make works about the show itself, illustrating the lengths to which artists will sometimes go to pursue some insular end—and how this isn’t always a bad thing.

"Hamiltonian Gallery's Latest Group Show Finds Camaraderie in Loneliness" by Kriston Capps

"With 'Permacounterculture,' Naoko Wowsugi Turns Hamiltonian Gallery Into a Green House and a Punk Venue" by Kriston Capps

The best time to see Naoko Wowsugi’s latest solo show may be when it’s blessedly quiet. That’s not at all what the artist has in store for viewers. “Permacounterculture,” her show at Hamiltonian Gallery, is an invitational series of noise and hardcore shows in a garage of sorts that’s built inside the gallery. This is an art show that comes with ear-plugs.

"With 'Permacounterculture,' Naoko Wowsugi Turns Hamiltonian Gallery Into a Green House and a Punk Venue" by Kriston Capps

"Allison Spence and Jim Leach Featured in Washington City Paper" by Margaret Carrigan

Even though spring, the glorious season of new life, is finally here, death is never far away—in fact, it’s on display at Hamiltonian Gallery. Two concurrent shows, “Spread” by Allison Spence and “Hot Water” by Jim Leach, take up death as a powerful creative tool.

"Allison Spence and Jim Leach Featured in Washington City Paper" by Margaret Carrigan

"Nara Park: Between Millions of Years" and "Dane Winkler: Homesteading" at Hamiltonian Gallery, Reviewed” by Kriston Capps

The rhythm of Dane Winkler’s “Homesteading” is dense and immediate. His show at Hamiltonian Gallery, a trio of post-industrial sculptures, throbs with references to Richard Serra, Ernesto Neto, Félix González-Torres, Mark di Suvero, Bruce Nauman, and other heavyweight sculptors. In fact, his tri-force sequence is so packed with quotations, there’s little room for Dane Winkler.

"Nara Park: Between Millions of Years" and "Dane  Winkler: Homesteading" at Hamiltonian Gallery, Reviewed” by Kriston Capps

“Renovatio Imperii” and “Alone in the Woods” at Hamiltonian, Reviewed” by Kriston Capps Aug 21 2015

The surface of “Sky Stack” is so delicious, you could dip into it with a spoon, as if it were a bowl of ice cream. It’s a painting by Dan Perkins, a recent American University grad who demonstrates control and precision with tone and gradient. “Sky Stack”is pleasant: a landscape oil painting, in which a rhombus of bright blue day intersects the sky of a piney hill scene at sunset. “Sky Stack” is so good that it might just be bad for you.

“Renovatio Imperii” and “Alone in the Woods” at Hamiltonian, Reviewed” by Kriston Capps Aug 21 2015

“Larry Cook's "Stockholm Syndrome" at Hamiltonian Gallery, Reviewed” by Kriston Capps

Larry Cook may be the artist D.C.’s been waiting for. While D.C. looks less like Chocolate City and more like Chocolate-Chip City with every passing day, here’s an artist who dwells on issues of image and representation in the city’s black population—and he’s finding sure footing. Since he graduated with an MFA from George Washington University in 2013, he’s been named as a finalist for both the Trawick Prize in Bethesda and the Sondheim Artscape Prize in Baltimore, two of the highest honors in the region. 

“Larry Cook's "Stockholm Syndrome" at Hamiltonian  Gallery, Reviewed” by Kriston Capps

"Naoko Wowsugi + Whoop Dee Doo at Hamiltonian Gallery" by Kriston Capps

Some people can be so difficult about their birthdays. Expensive dinners, cabin weekends, a birthday penumbra that expands until you find yourself celebrating someone’s birthday week or birthday month—birthday-zillas are always wrecking the calendar. But nobody goes as big on her birthday as Naoko Wowsugi. 

"Naoko Wowsugi + Whoop Dee Doo at Hamiltonian Gallery" by Kriston Capps

"Great Lakes Brewing Co. / DC "new. (now). 2013" at Hamiltonian Gallery" by Kriston Capps

Through its Hamiltonian Fellows program, Hamiltonian Gallery has a decent track record of predicting new talent. Jonathan Monaghan, a 2009 fellow (and a former student of mine) has gone on to show with Curator’s Office; 2010 fellows Jessica Van Brakle and Elena Volkova have both enjoyed well-received shows at Hamiltonian and elsewhere. Annette Isham and Billy Friebele, two of last year’s fellows, are some of my favorite new artists in years. In the show “new. (now). 2013,” the current crop promises to carry the baton: Most of the five new fellows are doing good work—and some of them won’t settle for just that.

"Great Lakes Brewing Co. / DC "new. (now). 2013" at Hamiltonian Gallery" by Kriston Capps

"The Salon of Little Deaths" at Hamiltonian Gallery by Louis Jacobson

For an exhibit titled “The Salon of Little Deaths”—a name derived from the French term for orgasm—the Hamiltonian Gallery’s current production doesn’t show much sex. But in the works of Milana Braslavsky, there’s a not-too-subtle sexuality at play. Her still-life photographs feature pears, peaches, tangerines, yellow plums, and nectarines in all their bulbous, sensual glory, set on fabrics that range from fancy tablecloths to blue coverings that suggest aseptic hospital linens.

 "The Salon of Little Deaths" at Hamiltonian Gallery by Louis Jacobson

"New Now at Hamiltonian Gallery July 30, 2010" by John Anderson

Hamiltonian’s “New Now” exhibition introduces its five newest fellows, who collectively could be described as muted and cerebral with a hint of design. Joyce Lee appropriates light and structure from Old Master paintings in her pastel drawings, which she uses as backdrops for her videos—by forcing viewers to stare longer at the works than they otherwise would, she transforms self-reflection into aimlessness.