The art community in Rockville feels farther away from the art community in DC than the 20-minute commute might lead one to believe, and that’s a good thing. The difference is best characterized by the apparent support that individuals in the local art community offer each other, and competition appears to be a significantly smaller factor.
The Rockville Art League, founded in 1957, organizes two art shows a year. The December juried member art show will have its opening reception on Dec. 8 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Glenview Mansion art gallery and will be open to the public at no cost until the end of the month. The combination of beautiful estate and public gallery makes this a great choice for a holiday day trip out of the city.
The art league had 173 pieces from 91 different members submitted, and 97 were chosen for display in the gallery by judge Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.
Rasmussen said the Rockville Art League is “serious, very well organized and absolutely dedicated,” but also a 180-degree turn from the art communities in Washington. “At this point, it’s kind of like an arcane craft that you actually know how to paint with oil representationally. It’s knowledge that isn’t being transferred from one generation to the next now,” he said. “Nobody’s doing that outside of Rockville, but I appreciate how well she has done it. You gotta go for that.”
There’s definitely a lot to see. Two unique pieces, both by Liliane Blom, are digital paintings. These start as photographs, are then manipulated on a computer before being printed onto canvas. Finally, Blom paints on the printed image to add a deceptive amount of depth and layers. The piece “Blackbirds on the Burning Bush” won first place in the mixed-media category, and it is the first piece to greet visitors entering the gallery.
Two sculptures submitted by Floyd Roberts also stand out. They are made of found materials, a lot of it bronze, and worked into creative pieces. One of them, a life-size copper pig, won third in the sculpture category, and the intricacy put into how the pieces fit together make it one of the most appealing representations of livestock you’ll see this year.
The piece named best in show, Sally Drew’s “Asparagi,” is a warm watercolor of the titular subject, and the technical proficiency behind it is representative of most pieces in the show.
Marian Mackerer, first VP of the art league and show coordinator, submitted two pieces in addition to coordinating it. She has only been creating fine art since 2007 — but you wouldn’t guess when looking at her paintings. She has a lot more work on display this winter, too. Her art is featured in the Montgomery Art Association gallery in Westfield Wheaton Mall, and next month more of her paintings will be on display in Glenview Mansion as part of The Pâté Painters.
The December show runs until the 31st, and all items are for sale, with 20 percent going to the city of Rockville. The art league will host another event in the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery opening on March 2. It is the Annual Student Art Show and all submissions will be from children K-12 living or attending school in Rockville.