Personal series are the lifeblood of my work, both the hits and the misses. I told myself a long time ago not to push for ideas but let them just show up and when they do — and if they stick around — go deep and embrace the beast.
So when I was asked to participate in the 20th anniversary exhibition at HEMPHILL, the gallery that represents my work in Washington, I used the opportunity to retrieve an idea that had been lurking somewhere in my subconscious. I’ve been in DC for over forty years and maybe because I grew up in small towns in the South, when I came here in 1969 this was a big city to me. Fast forward to 2013 and the remarkable growth and maturation of Washington has been impressive. And for a substantial part of those 40+ years I have been quietly aware that DC was home to myriad people who engage in world-class creative efforts that have their showcase right here at home; people who live, breathe and create in the city making the cultural fabric of the region varied and rich. Poets, actors, curators, critics, architects, dancers, directors and more share their creative efforts unconnected to the federal government and, possibly, better for it.
I fabricated a name — ILLUMINARIES — to differentiate my subjects (those who shine a light on art, craft or on others) from luminaries (those who have a light shone on them) and reached out to 40-50 people from a list that could have easily grown to 100 or more. In a temporarily empty ground floor space near Dupont Circle my crew (Chris Birck and Mike Jones) and I built a pop-up studio for the month of April. Within a week I had 30+ positive replies and the project began.
I’m excited to share a few of these images — Bill Paley, arts supporter and cigar-maker extraordinaire; Anwan Glover, lead singer for The Backyard Band and actor on The Wire; MaryAnn Redmond, versatile and gifted singer; Septime Weber, artistic director for The Washington Ballet; Murry Sidlin, Dean of Music at Catholic University and creator of Defiant Requiem.
The prints are done, the ink is dry and mounting has begun. The show opens June 5.