Since Jan. 22, the Kaplan Gallery at VisArts in Rockville, Md., has been transformed into a giant black box for “Suspension,” an exhibition of experimental video art. That’s pretty amazing, considering that the space was never designed to be lightproof.
Okay, so maybe it’s more like a giant “gray box,” according to director and curator Susan Main, who pulled the three-artist show together from submissions by 42 video artists around the world. Main was assisted by three jurors representing the region’s leading lights in the field: Brandon Morse, Fred Worden and Stephanie Barber. If you haven’t heard of them, that’s probably because of the underground nature of “time-based media,” as video art is sometimes known, despite prominent exhibitions of video art at area museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s current “Days of Endless Time.”
Video-art celebrity, in other words, may not look all that different from video-art obscurity. “Suspension” is one small step toward changing that.
The show is actually three sequential mini-exhibitions, each dedicated to a single artist (none of whom is yet a household name). Boston-based Andrew Neumann’s work runs through Feb. 1, featuring both a sculptural installation and a video that overlays scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 “Psycho” with Gus Van Sant’s infamous 1998 remake. New York-based Holden Brown takes over the space Feb. 4-15 with video projected onto a series of furnished environments. Berlin-based Betty Boehm closes out the show Feb. 18 to March 1 with works that incorporate elements of the moving image with painting and performance.
According to Main, each of the three artists was selected because his or her work resonated with one of the jurors. Morse, for instance, credits his interest in Neumann’s art to a shared fascination with what he calls “the emergence of the unexpected.”
But the show aims to take advantage of more than its jurors’ keen eyes for spotting talent. Main has conferred upon Morse, Worden and Barber the status of guest artist, which means that on three dates in February (see below), VisArts will put the jurors in the spotlight in a series of artist talks/screenings that she hopes will help raise the profile of the homegrown film-and-video-art scene.
“Suspension,” then, is two opportunities in one — to learn more about what artists are doing with video around the world and to meet a few of them from your own back yard.
Suspension Through March 1 at VisArts, 155 Gibbs St., Rockville. 301-315-8200. www.visartsatrockville.org. Guest artist talks/screenings are Feb. 8 (Fred Worden); Feb. 22 (Brandon Morse); and March 1 (Stephanie Barber).
Bead. As she did with last year’s fiber-art survey “Stitch,” curator Holly Koons McCullough has gathered a sampling of artists working in a single medium: beads. Though there is a jewelry piece or two, the work is smartly contemporary.
Through Feb. 28 at Greater Reston Arts Center, 12001 Market St., Suite 103, Reston. 703-471-9242. www.restonarts.org .
Linda Hesh’s All-Gay Review. Using altered advertising slogans, an interactive kissing booth and other provocative conceptual techniques on the theme of gay rights, Hesh, an Alexandria artist, blurs the line between art and advocacy.
Feb. 6-28 at Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Ct. NW. 202-338-0325. www.hillyerartspace.org .
Gun Love. Artist Dawn Whitmore uses firearm imagery culled from social media to slyly critique women’s relationships to guns.
Through April 4 at Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-248-6800. www.arlingtonartscenter.org .
Molly Springfield: The Marginalia Archive. A fascination with old-fashioned printed text and its contemporary social-media offshoots fuels this interactive installation. Centering on examples of marginalia — handwritten comments or notes in the margins of printed pages, Springfield’s show will include a photocopier or scanner for visitors to contribute their own texts (with commentary, or course).
May 1-30 at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. 202-315-1305. www.culturaldc.org.
Dreamworlds: Work by Amy Lin. Amy Lin’s obsessive abstract drawings evoke the biological, the chemical, the mechanical and, at times, the purely imaginary.
May 8-June 27 at Addison/Ripley Fine Arts Gallery, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-338-5180. www.addisonripleyfineart.com .